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Wildflowers pave the way for new orchards

Planting trees is a long-term commitment and one that at Thatchers we’re passionate about. After all, by growing the very best apples we’re able to craft the very best cider.

We’ve just acquired a new 50 acre plot of arable land a mile or so from Myrtle Farm, which will eventually become home to a beautiful new orchard, a valuable addition to the 500 acres already under the watchful eye of our orchard team. In fact, the new land is next door to an orchard we  planted some 25 years ago, so we know this is a great area for growing apples.

But first there’s work to do to get the ground fit and healthy for the new trees, restoring nutrients and creating the perfect environment for apples.  So our farm team – including our fifth generation Peter Thatcher (pictured) – have been out in the field near Shipham Lane starting the preparation. First job has been planting a mixed herbal lay of deep rooting wildflowers and long grasses, which will not only provide an amazing natural foraging habitat for bees, insects and other wildlife next year, but will give the ground a chance to rest and restore its nutrients before trees are planted in a couple of years’ time.

“Planting wildflowers and grasses builds organic matter and gives the topsoil a chance to revitalise and regenerate,” explains Chris Muntz-Torres, Thatchers Farm Manager. “Not only that, the planting will create a valuable wildlife habitat which in turn will create a healthy environment for new trees. These trees will not only provide us with apples for our ciders, but go on to provide an invaluable environmental service by capturing and storing C02 within the ground. It’s a win-win all round.

“You only get one opportunity to plant a tree. So it’s important we get it right and ensuring the soil is in the best possible condition is the first step, as these trees will be in the ground for decades to come.”

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Thatchers Cider Company Ltd, Myrtle Farm, Sandford, Somerset, BS25 5RA