I'm very keen that all parts of my garden should be productive, so I've started planting an Edible Hedge beside a wall in the side garden. I ordered 10 bare-root hazel bushes which will give the basic structure for the hedge. As a rule of thumb 10 hazels will keep a family supplied with hazel nuts. The bushes can also be cut at intervals to provide bean poles and other useful supports in the garden.
On the left you can see the hazels enjoying a drink in a bucket. As bare root plants are sent through the post with a minimum of compost to protect the roots it's important to give them a soak for a couple of hours to stop them drying out, but don't drown them by leaving them overnight.
I've planted the hazels approximately a metre apart to allow space for the elder, crab apple, sloe, bullace and sea buckthorn I'm planning to add to the hedge. As you can see, the soil looks pretty barren ( I took out a coupe of bucket-fulls of builders' rubble digging the holes), so I'll be adding a mulch of my lovely home-made compost to add some organic matter.
Edible hedges planted native species are also wonderful havens for wildlife, so I'll be looking at how many species we can attract to this part of the garden.