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Messages from Katharine
25th February 2016
If you haven't made it to one of the pruning sessions or if you are still unsure about which branch to clip off, or how to cut carry out a clean cut, then theres still time. Peter May will be there Sunday 10- 12.30, to complete the pruning. If you are not a member but are interested, you are welcome to come, £15,pp for the session.
The pruning helps to keep the trees healthy and encourage a good crop with fewer blemishes. We cut out the branches that rub, and allow more light and air flow reducing risk of airborne diseases lingering.
Unfortunately Ive had flu this week but hope to get there Sunday.
The next task after the pruning is putting weights on the trees. As you go round the Orchard you will see the very upright branches. These upright branches produce mainly leaf bud and take a lion share of the water and sap. Putting weights on encourages the branches to develop more fruit buds, and so help us have a good crop.
The weights are in the Apple Store and just clip on between buds and just so that the branch is towards horizontal. Less is more so to speak so just check the branches aren't bending in the middle or pointing down. If you want more information about this, just email me back. I should be at the Orchard next Friday morning.
Hot Scything News
I have contacted a local expert scyther, Beth Tilson, and am trying to sort out a scything course to be run at the Orchard. Cant promise anything yet, but if you are interested let me know. I think this could solve our grass cutting problems.
3rd February 2016
Damp Grass and Blocked Ditches
Bert and I are at the Orchard this morning to do some more work on clearing out the ditch with a view to helping the field to drain better. Its hard but satisfying work but needs two people with all the slippery mud and tools. Last week we cleared a lot and the ditch is running better now but there was quite a lot more that needed doing. It needs very tough clothing and heavy duty waterproofs as there are so many big brambles.
Wassail this year
Last week it was still very wet with standing water in the orchard. I am hoping that the ditch work will help but for this year I think we should leave Wassail and just meet for all the work that needs doing: This month: bramble and ditch clearing, pruning and plan for Wassail next year.
Wassail next year
I have been approached by local folk musicians who want to do the Wassail at the Orchard. This is fantastic as they will sort it all out. So next year, we will go ahead with Wassail when it should be, which is apparently before or about old Twelfth night, 17th January. If the ground is very wet then we will use the central pathway and I won't postpone it.
Those of you that either play musical instruments or sing would of course still be most welcome to join in. Maybe some of you would like to make cider to go with this?
I will look into the best sort of electric rope to attach to the new fence posts that Anthony Tasker has put in. This will smarten up the Orchard a bit.
The prunings from last year are there to be taken for kindling so help yourself.
We will have more manure arriving soon from a local Organic farm. Some will be marked as not yet fully rotted but what is well rotted can be used liberally with the trees and put in with any composting grass and torn up cardboard.
There are still plenty of these coming in from the right. You just have to rustle about in the grass and you'll find them .
Jobs coming along soon
making more weights for the trees
putting weights on trees: early March
I'll sort out my diary and send round dates when I'll be there with a mix of weekday and weekends.