Thurid Clark approached the Heritage Trust about the idea of planting some fruit trees on the Curry Preserve. The Trust Board came back with a quick and generally positive response to the idea but had some questions which we could use some help in answering. They are as follows:
1) How will the group of orchard stewards be recruited and trained to provide consistent care for the orchard area (mowing) and the trees (pruning, watering, fertilizing, harvesting)?
2) Will the orchard stewards be willing to help prepare the site for planting after blackberry removal?
3) Growing trees is a long-term proposition. How will the orchard stewards address this long-term commitment; how will the group replace, add and train new stewards over the years to provide consistency?
4) Will there be any relationship between the new orchard steward group and the existing community gardeners?
5) What are some of the basic costs orchard stewards will need to cover to start phase one (planting five trees); how will funds be raised and/or donations solicited to cover costs?
6) How will the group communicate with Heritage Trust staff and board?
If anyone reading this would like to pitch in with some ideas, Thurid and I would appreciate it. At the same time I will try and contact some other tree growing initiatives and find out how they handle the stewardship issue.
In their letter to Thurid the Trust makes the following point:
“A first step toward preparation for any expansion of the current orchard will be the removal of invasive blackberries, old fencing and debris from the current orchard area and the old home site. After clearing, the area will need to be planted with grass and consistently mowed to manage the blackberries. The Trust is committed to completing the blackberry clearing prior to the planting of new fruit trees.”
This would mean planting trees at the Curry is some time in the future. As my literary hero Jack Aubrey is fond of saying, “There is not a moment to be lost.” So, we should be thinking of locations other than Trust property where we can be planting trees this spring. We would solicit ideas on other locations as well.