Bracken, once cut for cattle bedding by Welsh farmers, is now a pest. More than 200 hectares is sprayed each year in the New Forest alone. Cutting is twice as expensive as spraying with herbicide, but English Nature, working with the Forestry Commission, hope to be able to turn composted bracken into a peat substitute. If they can recoup costs by selling it, they will be able to cut rather than spray. Composted bracken, with its low pH value, would be ideal for rhododendron and many heathers.
When writing about beans (27 July), I recommended the seed catalogue of Grains Baumaux, Nancy. I received a new one this season without fuss, but Joy Richardson of Thame, Oxfordshire, was not so lucky. She got a note saying "Nous n'expedions pas de catalogue hors de France." Vive the EC.Reuse content