Growers Hub

2,000 tree saplings ready to grow at a Local No Dig Tree Nursery Set Up at Roots Allotments for future rewilding projects in partnership with More Tree’s Banes.

Written by
Ed Morrison
April 11, 2024

Saving and growing our native local tree species by collecting seeds from ancient forests is a lush activity that helps boost biodiversity as well as bring communities together. By doing this activity we can help preserve the genetic heritage of UK native trees. 

The team helping to get the second bed of the nursery made!

Sadly ancient woodland only covers 2.5% of the UK meaning we have lost a huge amount of diversity and the benefits that come with it. These long established woodlands that are thousands of years old are unique and can be classified as our equivalent to rainforests. They are home to literally thousands of species of complex plants, fungi, insects and other microorganisms.

That’s why we love what More Trees Banes have done by setting up such a special project to help preserve local tree seed from in and around the BANES area. They go into ancient forests, collect the seeds, stratify (germinate) them at their hub and then help plant them at a range of community run tree nurseries that they have set up with a number of supportive groups in the area. 

Our lovely Tuckers Meadow community turned up to establish two tree nursery beds that will act as a growing space for locally saved seed. We carried out the setting up of the beds over two days across two weekends where we had a mixture of weather to contend with! 

The community pulled together to establish two 3m x 10m no-dig tree nursery beds that will have shade netting added once we reach the warmer months. These beds will be able to grow around 2,000 tree saplings that will stay at our Tuckers Meadow site for 2 years being nurtured by our lovely community members. They will then be lifted and distributed to rewilding projects in the BANES area and we will prep the beds with a compost top up then get ready to welcome another group of saplings to be grown on - and the cycle continues! Beautiful.

In terms of species, we will be growing native trees from seeds that have been collected from ancient and semi-natural local woodlands, veteran trees and hedges. There will be over 30 native species including nut trees like beech, oak, hazel, sweet chestnut or those with berries e.g. blackthorn, dogwood, elder, hawthorn, holly, wild privet….and winged so field maple, hornbeam etc. Check out the species they have planted over the last few years here.

Our Tuckers Meadow community will collaborate again in April/May to get the saplings in the ground and then start caring for them until they need to be relocated and grow big and strong! ‘’We’re thrilled to be partnering with Roots Allotments on this new nurser”’ - Sandra from More Trees Banes “We’re great fans of their work and a tree nursery on their first allotment site in Bath was an easy decision! We look forward to working with growers and local volunteers to grow lots of native saplings.”

We have the ambition to set up local tree seed saving nurseries and groups to care for them at each one of our growing communities up and down the country. This will give people the opportunity to contribute towards positive biodiversity projects in their local area and connect with other like minded individuals who want to learn the skills on how to preserve and spread our gorgeous native ancient woodland.

1) No digging needed! Your Back Will Thank You

Yes, it’s true. You’ll be picking bountiful harvests without needing to dig, turn or fork the earth! Your back will thank you because digging takes about 2 x times longer than No dig. Beds are made by covering your growing ground in cardboard and placing nutrient rich compost on top - giving you a surface that’s ready to plant straight away!

2) Less weeding 

Weeds get suppressed by the layer of cardboard and compost, they then die off because of no sunlight! If soil stays undisturbed then weeds and their seeds are more likely to stay locked into the ground instead of sprouting when disturbed on a traditionally dug allotment.

3) Feeding the soil creates healthier plants

By building yearly layers of organic matter and not disturbing the soil’s ecosystem, you will increase the amount of good microbial activity. Good microbes help plants access nutrients and water, so the healthier your soil - the healthier your plants! 

4) You’ll do less watering!

No dig beds retain moisture better because you’re introducing organic matter, not taking it away. By keeping the soil’s ecosystem in-tact and encouraging bacteria, fungi and worms to do their thing will create better layers of soil that save water for when your plants need it - instead of bare dug ground that leaks moisture! Water is a precious resource and no dig helps us make the most of every drop!

5) Higher Yields Are Scientifically proven!

No dig has been proven to produce significantly higher yields by Charles Dowding over the last 9 years at his Homeacres Farm. He has been weighing the results of identically planted dug vs no dig beds and over that time the results are 100’s of kg’s greater.

6) Reduce Single-Use Plastic! <3 The Planet!

Every harvest throughout the seasons means you’ll be totally cutting out vast amounts of single use plastic that is used in supermarket produce! The supply chains we rely on use way too much making no dig a great way to start reducing personal consumption of single use plastic.

7) Experience Less pests & diseases

The result of great soil health by the no-dig method helps good bacteria, insects and animals thrive! Using natural methods of pest control we can learn to work with nature instead of against it - a single teaspoon of healthy rich soil can contain up to 1 billion bacteria!.

8) You’ll help fungal networks and they’ll help your plants grow

Fungi are a super important part of running a productive healthy patch. When soil is full of life and undisturbed there will be miles and miles of fungal networks beneath your feet trading nutrients with each other and your plants.

9) Save time and be 40% more productive by no dig!

When you don’t need to spend hours and hours digging, turning and prepping the soil for planting, you’ll be able to spend it doing the fun creative side of gardening - planning, planting, pruning your patch to create your own edible zen garden.

As a bonus you will also feel the mental and physical boost of growing your own

Gardening and feeding yourself with incredibly fresh nutrient dense food has amazing positive side effects for both people and the planet. As time goes by you’ll feel closer and more at one with nature.