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Moving to Puglia: The Adventure – Episode 1

Moving to Puglia, to run a B&B, has certainly been an adventure. One of our main challenges, has been getting to grips with the hectare of agricultural land, included in our property. As with the B&B itself, it is our ambition to maintain this land, in a manner that is as ecologically sound, environmentally friendly and as sustainable as possible. At the same time, we would like to keep the land productive and work towards becoming more self sufficient.

That’s just about covers all of the buzz words. Now, how about a touch of reality? Before now, we have only ever had a town house with a tiny garden to manage. This is on a completely different scale, mostly with plants that we have zero experience with, in an environment that is alien especially to Gavin (being a Welshman)! We have had a lot to learn and have made plenty of mistakes along the way. With this blog, we hope to give you some insights into how we have had to learn, adapt, change, improve and accept, in the face of some of the issues that have confronted us.

AlberiLet’s start with trees. We have around 70 olive trees, 75 cherry trees, five figs, three apricots, two lemons, four apples, two walnuts, one bitter almond, five hazelnuts, a pear and a persimmon. No doubt we’ve missed a few and we are only listing the fruiting trees. All of these need to be worked, if they are to remain healthy and productive. One of the main aspects is, that all need to be pruned. Why? Many people think that you can plant a tree and let nature do the rest. To a certain extent, you could do that. However, the trees will be less productive, more prone to disease and pest. Also, the trees will quickly become too full and too tall for the fruit to be collected. Pruning also keeps the tree youthful, allowing it to stay alive and productive for many, many more years, than if neglected.

Let us not overlook another crop that we can harvest from the trees: Firewood, to keep us warm. This is what we mean by the term “agricultural wood” (see the ‘Sustainability’ main page). The trees need to be pruned. Burning wood to keep the house warm is carbon neutral, does not kill trees and is sustainable. What’s more, the ash from burning firewood, can be returned to the soil, as a furtiliser, providing a good source of potassium (and other minerals) for the plants.

There is a lot more to follow on from here…Episode 2 soon out!

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