Progress and grafting in the coppice

A few years ago we bought a small piece of forest that partially had been clearcut. There already were quite a few chestnut stools (coppiced or cut stumps) that are now growing back and we planted many more little chestnut trees. We took out some good eucalyptus poles to build the first part of the roundwood frame of our house. In the last years we have been working more on this site, clearing more pines and planting more varieties of trees that will coppice (ash, hazel, alder, linden, black locust). This is a very interesting test and learning site for us, where we are aiming to create a diverse, very productive and easy to manage agroforestry system: a diverse mixed coppice which we will cut on a relatively short rotation (it’s easy to handle small poles) with trees for nut and fruit production along the track and paths. 
This spring a good friend of ours, Frank, helped us to graft some of the chestnut trees. The big advantage with grafting material (a small piece of branch called a scion) from well fruiting trees onto already existing tree (called the rootstock), is that once the scion fuses with the rootstock it has all the power of the already established tree with a strong root system to feed it. This makes very quick growth possible and (unless the rootstock has been freshly planted itself) there is little risk for them to dry out during the hot and dry summers. Grafted trees also bear fruit much earlier than non grafted trees, because the material that is fused with the rootstock comes from already mature trees. It is a very quick way to get productive chestnut (or other fruits) trees with good size fruit. And, except for the work it does not cost anything because one does not have to buy trees.
It is very exciting to see how much potential there is for these ancient, low-tech management methods. On the north and east facing slopes in the area there are many little chestnut trees struggling between the young pines. By taking out the pine trees from these sites and grafting onto the existing chestnut trees it would be possible to produce a great deal of food in the most sustainable way in a relatively short time - talk about local resilience and sustainable abundance !   
I cant help but continue to dream how amazing it would be to this more large scale. Let us see what can be done …


Benfeita, May 1st 2017
Para Português clique aqui
Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita October 21st 10 - 5pm

I am very happy to announce another opportunity to begin to learn the art and science of foraging in our beautiful valley in the Serra do Açor.

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita 12 - 15 Ocober 2017

In our times crafts such as green woodwork are something truly revolutionary. We find making a useful product with ones own hands straight from the forest is totally inspiring.  Not only is such work simply sustainable it is also deeply...

Quinta da Floresta, Benfeita - Date TBC 2018

People have retreated to wild places for millennia to find inner peace and a greater perspective on life. Nature, in it’s simplicity and beauty, supports a profound relaxation in body, mind and soul.


I am passionate about building with round wood because it simply makes so much sense.
It’s autumn again and the abundance is obvious. The forest and land is heaving with food and we know of no greater joy than getting out into the hills and foraging this freely given resource.

So we have some systems and facilities coming online this month - very exciting!!

Davi and Hazel have been working hard on the bathroom tiling, building glass brick walls and crafting mosaics. It looks beautiful!

Marko has been figuring out the solar system, this is the frame to hold the panels. Washing machine here we come!!!