TORRIDON CROFT FOREST GARDEN
The croft area being managed by Croft7 is approximately 1 Ha of wet rushy grassland, bordered by a small spate burn to the West which as a number of willow along its banks with a band of Gorse.
The gorse is providing a partial windbreak from prevailing SW winds and will also provide flowers for dyes,wine making and use in food such as scones.
The croft as had to be fenced off from predation by red deer and rabbits within the perimeter fence livestock pens for Geese, ducks, and free ranging hens have been constructed.
The hens range under a mix of fruiting small orchard trees and shrubs, Hazels, Cherry Plum, Amelancier, Sea Buckthorn, Aronia, Blackthorn , Crab Apples, Apple cultivars, Pears, Plums, Damsons, red currants, black currants, gooseberries, worcesterberry, josta berry. Fence lines are to be planted up with hedges of dog rose, rosa rugosa, japonica quince, japanese wineberry, tayberry, logan berry, blackberry cultivars.
The geese graze two open grass paddocks with alternated monthly grazing of each paddock. The ducks
dabble under a stand of willows which will be harvested over a three year period in a sequence of indivudual trees to maintain a mixed height canopy, between coppice and pollarded trees.
Areas of wet grassland plants with a wildlife pond are to be managed free of livestock. Herbs and other wildflowers are encouraged beneath the fruiting trees. Another area of pollarded willows for firewood, charcoal sticks is also planted up to be harvested on a three year row rotation. Other craft willow for onsite and local workshops are grown in strips and to provide colourful windbreak hedges protecting our vegetable growing areas.
The top side of the croft nearest the Fasaig village road contains 14, 1.2 metre by 3.6 metre raised beds, and two 10 metre by 0.5metre long raised beds for raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and Rhubarb. Asparagus Some dye plant a herb beds, Tool stores, compost and wormery bins. Comfrey, Nettle Beds and nursery benches for Cottage Garden perrenial plant sales and production. Rows of Blackcurrants ,Redcurrants, Gooseberries, and willow strips under planted with Alpine Strawberries including a white berried variety.
Produce Fruit, Vegtables, Herbs, Dye Plants and Cut Flowers
A mix of crops
An article illustrating what we do In Torridon.
A raised bed of mixed produce Croft7 companion planting, Purple Kale, Nero de Tosca kale, runner beans, broad beans, dahlia flower (flower heads\ pollen for dye colour).
In 2010 Les carried out some contract work as one of a number of Tutors
for Grow North,
a practical local food project managed by
Sheila Wickens for Transition Black Isle
In 2013 Les co ordinated a workshop/seminar weekend for the
Community Woodland Association in Torridon.
A CROFTING EXPERIENCE/TORRIDON
In the Summer 2013, 30 students and their tutors from the University of Western Montana visited the Croft7 site in Fasaig.
We hope to maintain Biodiversity and if possible extend its range on the croft.
Croft7 is a member of
Scottish Crofting Federation
Highland Environmental Network
Community Woodlands Association
Orchard Collective Scotland
Wester Ross Fisheries Trust
Scottish Wild Harvest Association.
Trees For Life
Bumblebee Conservation Trust
British Dragonfly Society
Butterfly Conservation Scotland
some of the species found on the croft. Photographs Les Bates
Bumb Bumble Bee approaching Pulmonaria flower
Male Orange Tip Butterfly on Siberian Wallflower
Bumblebee approach Clary Sage flowers in herb bed.
Golden Ringed Dragonfly
Meadow Flowers at the Fasaig Croft
Bumblebee:- Bombus lapadarius on Bergamot Flower
Forest Garden Fruits
Sambuscus `Thunder Cloud`