Restoring Old Orchards, Growing Fruit Trees, Recipe BookISSUE 37
I can’t believe that spring is here already, although for some, I know the snow is still thick on the ground. Here, at least, spring has finally arrived. The new green leaves are pushing through on the trees, my tulips are blooming and the 800 daffodil bulbs that I planted last year on the bank opposite the house are a show of cheerful yellow.
The lambs arrived several weeks back now with several sets of twins. Unfortunately, I lost two which were premature twins which was rather sad, along with a gorgeous little black mohair kid goat from a mother and father that are both white in color. Despite all my best efforts we lost this one as well.
However, two more were born and both are healthy and rather cheeky and we have 9 fat little lambs that are all doing well.
Well, the cherry blossom is out now, along with the rest of the fruit trees and I am hoping that the bees will do their work and we will have
lots of fruit.
I do hope that you will decide to plant some fruit trees this spring. Not only will you have wonderful fruit, but you will also have created a symbiotic ecosystem for birds and animals that will help you keep the insect population down rather than eat your fruit.
We also have a great little recipe book for you on offer at the moment that is usually $17.99 but is only currently $1.99! And if you are interested, the chance to know about more of these promotions through a sign-up page at the bottom.
Restoring an Orchard
When we moved onto the property we had an old orchard that had been abandoned for more than 20 years. It had a mixture of olive, cherry and apple trees and was in a sad state of affairs. It has taken us 3 years of hard manual labor to eventually clean it out to a point where now we can bring in a dozer and restore the terracing as the trees were planted on a hill. I can get up and down the hill now, but I may not in 20 years' time!
Here is an article by Jeremy Coles who discusses abandoned orchards, why we should restore them and the importance of good maintenance for the insect population and bird life.
There's something beguiling about the enticing autumnal tones of the apple section in your local greengrocer or supermarket. These days, sadly, many of the apples on offer are imported from other countries. But did you know that you could eat a different variety of English apple every day for over six years and still not eat the same one twice?
from certain health benefits many apples provide, traditional orchards offer excellent conditions for wildlife to thrive. They are homes for at least 1,800 species: over 400 insects are dependent on the dead and decaying wood for food and nesting, many of which are nationally scarce, and 35 birds that are regarded as important farmland and woodland indicator species.
Traditional orchards, however, have declined by 90% since the 1950’s. With a recent survey by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) suggesting almost half of England’s and a third of Wales’s orchards were in poor condition.
Less than 10% were rated as being in excellent condition.
The main reasons for the decline in this habitat are neglect, modern farming practices, cheaper fruit imports and simple development of the land.
But the fortune of orchards and their wildlife may be about to get better. The PTES is aiming to reverse their decline and improve the quality of what we have left. Providing practical advice and help on orchard management and small grants, they suggest leaving dead and decaying trees and at the same time planting new apple trees, especially native varieties.
“By helping people to improve the condition of their orchards, we are also helping the wildlife that depends upon these special sites, such as bees and butterflies which are in decline. Furthermore, we are also helping to preserve rare fruit varieties, traditions, customs and knowledge," said Megan Gimber, orchards officer for the PTES.
Later on in the year, in October it will be Apple Day in the UK, the annual celebration of apples and orchards, so happy eating!
Planting and Pruning Fruit Trees
I have a couple of useful tips to pass on with regards to growing fruit trees. For those of you who grow any fruit trees and have problems with ants get yourself a large tub of Vaseline and put a large ring of Vaseline around the trunk of the tree. This will trap any crawling insects preventing them from bringing disease.
If you have apple trees plant nasturtiums at the base of the tree to prevent codling moth. Keeping chickens and ducks in your orchards is another organic method of insect control.
If you have lemon trees, using urine on your trees is an excellent tonic. Yes, sorry, but it does work!
And if the leaves of your lemon trees are turning yellow, mix a couple of tablespoonfuls of Epsom Salts in 5 liters of water and spray your tree with it, and water the tree with the balance. It will also help with keeping the flowers on the tree.
Finally, leaf curl can be simply cured by the use of bleach. Using bleach in a 10% ratio to water,
spray these onto your trees, and repeat a couple of days later, or after it rains until new leaves appear, and the virus has gone.
Are you ready to plant some fruit trees? Planting also means you need to know how to prune fruit trees for the first 4 years to get maximum fruit. Know how to plant your trees and the ideal growing conditions.
More Info on Planting and Pruning Fruit Trees
Recipe Book Promotional Sale
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