Steyning Community Orchard: Springtime Update

Despite everything else going on in the world, the seasons continue on their cycle, and for those of you who have been able to get out and see it, this Spring has been spectacular. Apple and Pear blossom has been the best for many years, promising a bumper crop later in the year.

Unfortunately, we have been unable to meet up to do our routine maintenance in the Orchards. So apart from watering the newly planted trees and quickly checking them over, we have left them alone.

This means that *weeds and grasses are now growing around the trees. It will be interesting to monitor this and see if that is a good thing or not. The books tell us to keep an area around fruit trees clear of competing growth, and cover the ground with a mulch of compost or wood chips.

So, in every other year, we have carefully cleared around the trees and topped up the wood chip mulch. This year we have not been able to do this and time will tell if this harms the tree growth or not. It may be that the *weeds and grass actually help preserve the moisture in the soil.

*Weeds: We use the term weeds here for anything that we would normally remove from around the trees. These include Cow Parsley, Nettles, Docks, Cleavers, Burdock, Red Campion. All are wild flowers that have their place in the rough grass areas around the Orchards, but not normally allowed to grow around the trees themselves.

We were very sad to have to cancel our first 'Community BioBlitz' day that we were organising with the Steyning Downland Scheme. We will hope to run this next year.

At the moment, APPLE DAY is still scheduled for 20th September.

But this must also be in doubt as we need to start planning for this very soon. We will make a decision by mid-June and let everyone know.

If we do need to cancel, and we can manage it safely, we will try and organise a couple of apple juicing sessions in late summer/early Autumn.
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