Sunday, 29 May 2011

heavy fruit set

Hi everyone, sorry again few posts here-I have been catastrophically busy. I have just completed 2 weeks annual leave from the daytime job, if I tell you that I didn't get fishing even once -in MAY!!! , even given that I paid up front for a season ticket on a local trout lake, plus coarse fishing club, you will know I have been busy. Boring stuff like tidying the shed, clearing out the apple store and cider house, washing bottles, making a huge new bottle rack, spraying, spraying, spraying, blending and bottling the 2010 cider (only so-so quality I'm afraid due to weather related ripeness problems) taking junk to the car boot sale and then unsold stuff to the dump. I even did some medical teaching, including a time critical course planning meeting with colleagues which with other people's inflexibilities could only be held in my holiday, a local teaching assignment (if you turn it down, you might not get asked again) and a trip to Birmingham after an anxious phone call from a national learning organisation I work with who were let down by a speaker pulling out a week before. Oh well, they paid me well and I earned some good little boy points, but all the same.........

Above all, it has been orchard work and as I type I have pins and needles in my fingers from all the FRUIT THINNING. I have YouTubed about this, plus the heavy stump removal work I also did. Due to the hot sunny weather on the blossom , there has been a ridiculously heavy fruit set on the plums, we have had to reduce by 80% to get decent fruit size and avoid broken branches. The apples are less extreme but still a lot of work. Today is Bank Holiday Mondaty, and after breakfast I will be off to the orchard to thin about 45 Lord Lambourne which have a heavy set. Due to good control of pest and disease problems (the Calypso did for the blasted ground chafer bugs that wiped out a third of our crop this time last year, although they still damaged a lot of fruit. The flock of starlings helped a lot too) the fruit are growing fast and well.

We are beginning to see and feel the benefit of removing so many fruit trees over the last 2 winters. The Lambournes I mentioned on MM106 9 feet apart are now 18 feet apart due to the removal of alternate trees. Drastic, and arm aching work with spade and axe (some helpful wags on YouTube suggested explosives or a tractor, we have access to neither and didn't want the collateral damage!), but now the trees are filling out into the space. We can get around them more easily to mow, thin, prune and spray and even in the first year after a 50% tree reduction we think the saleable crop will only be down 30% due to easier, therefore better, management and more light and air penetration. And indeed, better water foraging for the roots. The drought continues..................

will try to take some still pics to post, usually I forget as I make videos for the YouTube channel, see stephenhayesuk. Bye for now

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Welcome to the Fruitwise Heritage Apples blog. Feel free to leave a comment, I will try to respond where appropriate but FAQs may have been already addressed in my YouTube videos or the site. Remember, I am not a professional fruit grower, only an enthusiastic experienced amateur. Any and all advice is offered freely and with sincere good faith, but remember I might be mistaken, and my preferences,
soil and climate may be different from yours which would diminish the relevance of my advice, so check other sources before acting. In any event, I am not responsible for any outcomes!

Kind regards to all.