Redruth Orchard Project Update Summer 2023

Members of Redruth Orchard Project & St Ives Community Orchard take part in a scything workshop led by Kevin Austin and Tom Waters of Skyegrove Farm, Cornwall

Scything the land
We organised scything training for members of Redruth Orchard Project in June run by Kevin Austin and Tom Waters from Skyegrove Farm, alongside members of St Ives Community Orchard at their site. Everyone learnt about the benefits of scything in place of strimming or machine mowing within an orchard setting. Not only is it far more pleasurable than using a noisy, smelly & polluting strimmer, but it is also a great workout. It is hoped that with what is normally considered a chore and therefore hard to get people to do it, it becomes an enjoyable, communal task that everyone looks forward to and feels exercised at the end.

Here are some of the reasons we scythe:

  • Earth-friendly – Energy from people, rather than burning fossil fuels.
  • More control – Can get close up to tree trunks or other obstacles without causing damage; allows the scyther a higher degree of selectivity about what is cut and how, and therefore more awareness of what is growing.
  • Health & well-being – It’s a pleasurable activity, quiet and peaceful, and can be done at your own speed, taking breaks to sharpen the blade at regular intervals. Scything is a good physical work out!
  • Rake up and remove the grass, which is often trickier with strimmed grass, as it is shredded into small pieces. Removing the grass on meadows helps to ensure useful plant populations are not smothered out, and reduces soil fertility, supporting wildlife flower populations rather than just all grass.
  • Mulch – Can use the cut grass as a mulch elsewhere on food growing beds.
  • Least disturbing mowing method – Ensuring any wildlife has a greater chance to jump aside as the steady blade of the scythe edges closer.

The Redruth Orchard Project now has 2 Austrian scythes to help manage orchards which have been put to good use recently at Trenoweth Community Orchard, Redruth. Thanks to all the volunteers for their hard work!

Here is a flyer that gives a little more of an update on the Redruth Orchard Project.

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