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Free trees start planting spree

Back in March, after we planted a mixed bunch of trees in front of the house, I’d read that different government organisations supported farmers by giving free seeds to help prevent land and soil erosion. This led us to getting some vetiver, which we planted before rainy season began to help hold water in the soil, especially where the soil was bare.

At the same time we also found out that help extended towards trees. For a long time there has been an illegal logging issue in Thailand, and most of southeast Asia, and that’s seen huge areas of teak, rosewood and other hard woods decimated.

It’s reported that between 2008–2013 a forested million rai were lost each year (2.5 rai equals about an acre).

The land department are making efforts to reforest areas and bring back natural habitats for animals and the ecosystem.

In March we visited their office to see what we could do, and they asked us to come back in July and they’d provide saplings for free. So this week Hana went back to visit them and collected 200 saplings, a mix of rosewood, Burmese paduak and dipterocarpus alatus roxb - which has a much easier Thai name (Yangna- ยางนา).

We’re planting a small forest.

Firstly, I think it’s a terrific initiative by the Thai government, although I’m not sure how much benefit it brings to farmers who often struggle to make ends meet. We can plant as a 15-20 years project with the possibility of either selling timber at some point in the future, or maintaining a diverse landscape.

Today land was cleared and people went to work planting trees. In my mind I’d like to create vegetable patches between each tree as in the future i think they might benefit from extra shade and better water retention in the soil. But let’s see. I may be wrong with that notion.

For the first stage we’ll plant about 100 trees, and plant 8-10 in the surroundings of the house. A bit of shade will be nice in the future although it’s true we’ll have to wait a while.

I’m hoping to be able to head up from Bangkok at the weekend after having a second jag - not jab or shot - of a covid vaccine. Jag is the Scots term and I think it’s a much better description of what is to come.

Once there we‘ll be able to do a lot more although the good news is that we can both continue our jobs in Bangkok from

our new house. Hana will work part-time and I’ll be working as usual. But we hope to find enough time to be able to work on the land.

Can‘t wait!

Every day is a team effort

70 year old (we think) Mum has to be dragged off the land in the middle of the day because she’s working too hard in the heat

Good heavy footwear is essential for field work (look closely)

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