Lots of things to be getting on with or thinking about in the orchard…
(Please expand tasks lists with: brief descriptions; if anyone should be consulted before starting a task; add progress comments. To avoid clutter, where there is more substantial detail, this can be put on a separate dedicated page and linked to)

Upcoming Project Sessions

Please add your name to the Online Poll if you are happy to let others know if you can/can't make these workdays. You can easily change your markings at any time and it helps with planning tasks if we know how many people are likely to turn up and if any key people for certain tasks are there.

Orchard workday (scheduled): Sunday 2 December, 12.30pm+

  • Preparation for left-side hedgelaying: removal of any undergrowth that will be in the way, bamboo check and uprooting etc.
  • Composting and compost turning: we may have some usable compost in the top bins, let's put down what's ready to go.

Urgent Tasks

Clearing:

  • Look for wherever needs doing, especially along paths, below fruiting trees, the small path going round behind the herb bed, Mediterranean zone etc.
  • Bindweed and Goosegrass quickly entwine themselves in fruit tree branches in summer.
  • Smaller trees appreciate clearance around them - e.g. A13, A14, Ga2, P5, P6, and the 2 cherries and 2 almonds (i.e. a tree and a small shrub to the left of it) towards the Mediterranean Zone.
  • Keep smaller paths clear too - these sometimes disappear completely in summer.

Compost turning and maintenance:

  • Review state of top and bottom compost bins
  • Chop up, mix in wood chippings & turn compost

Step Building and Repair:

  • Please read & add details on: Step Building & Maintenance task page.
  • Several collapsed steps need repair - need to wait until ground is softer (wetter)!
  • Fix chicken wire to remaining steps: Ideally we want wire on all the main flight of steps from top to bottom of the orchard.
  • Also new build where required (but not down residential boundary as need wheelbarrow access).

Hedge laying of boundary with allotment plots

  • One side completed Malcolm Dowling (Nov 2017) - hope to do orchard/residential boundary winter 2018/19
  • For related pruning, see "Tree Works" notes on Infrastructure & Composting page

Wildflower meadow maintenance:

  • Please read & add details on: Wildflower Micro-meadow project page.
  • Remove unwanted weeds / brambles - see Weed Identification page)
  • Centre path may need to be levelled and/or chippings added.
  • Think about planting new seeds this autumn (2018)

Herb bed overhaul:

  • [- Karen S to lead at next Project Session]
  • needs weeding, re-edging and stepping stones to be put in place (probably reusing the tiles we already have).
  • The support for the hop also needs re-doing (big stake from wood cuttings?)

Digging up bamboo:

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: A ground bees' nest has been uncovered in the area with bamboo near Apple 1. Please do NOT clear bamboo for now as we wish to leave this nest undisturbed.
  • Area near Apple 1: More work is needed on those that are close to/within the large hedgerow-like bush by Apple 1.
  • Dispose of waste bamboo (may be compostable if dried out) - incineration bin is currently full of bamboo and some horsetail.

Fruit cage overhaul:

  • improve ease of access; repair damaged netting; weed; improve soil.

Waste disposal:

  • We still have some waste that needs to be destroyed rather than used for compost etc.
  • Probably safe to compost dried out horsetail now (by lower compost bins)
  • Unidentified bag (still?) in the shed which might be knotweed? The contents of this has to be destroyed.
  • Bamboo - large pile on top of logs above the compost loo. They are probably safe now.

Remove large elms and willow

  • See "Tree Works" notes on Infrastructure & Composting page
  • Some done by Stephen Pill (and Willow Malcolm Dowling)
  • Remaining elms to be done: behind compost toilet and near Apple 1

Ongoing Tasks

Clear bindweed/goose grass and any brambles that are not on the map (or overgrown)

  • Put bindweed/goose grass in so-labelled brown plastic food bins (where it will quickly rot and can then be added to compost heap)
  • Please don't put in compost bin any bramble cuttings with stems fatter than a 1 pound coin as they are very waxy, take forever to break down and are a hazard to turning the compost.
  • Bramble cuttings can be thrown over the metal barrier onto the big pile just below the top path opposite the fruit cage. They seem to dry out here then feed easily into the wood chipper (when we get round to it)

Chutney patch:

  • Now adopted by Rory, Ellena & Beate
  • (Status @ 14 May) A plan has been made, compost added, beds shored up and some seedlings planted out.
  • Water regularly in summer!

Clear paths or long grass and overhanging branches

Wood chipping: of woodpile beside top of steps at entrance and brambles

  • Linda's electric chipper can be used for smaller branches (not brambles)
  • Borrow petrol chipper from Redland Green when there is a large amount of wood and brambles
  • (Richard, 23 Apr 17): Mark, Jerry and I chipped lots of brambles and wood today with petrol chipper

Apply chippings to paths

Dig out bamboo or cut where cannot be dug

  • [Might be worth burying a physical barrier down the side of the path to stop the roots returning, maybe if somebody has some old roof tiles or something like that? Gavin]

Task Ideas

(To be fleshed out, for some perhaps details and methods need to be agreed before they can be done)

Dig out small elm and ash trees

Hugelkultur

  • https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/
  • Identify site for the Hugul.
  • Build raised bed from cut brambles, other waste materials plus soil.
  • Enclose/stabilise and use for planting.

Matting

  • investigate sources and costs of matting - for use in place of cardboard when mulching (for 2018)

Cuttings beds:

  • Reinstate the top one and re-purpose the lower one.

Replace unwanted pear trees with new ones

  • In particular remove Thorn variety by fruit cage.

Water butt improvements:

  • Improve ease of access; clean it out when it gets manky.
  • Water butt by the shed needs straightening and stabilising.

Collect and store comfrey leaves for comfrey concentrate:

  • (Richard - 1 May 17): note that large bins no longer used for Comfrey tea (now contain wood chippings!) Mark hopes to bring some suitable smaller replacements in which to make comfrey concentrate (to which water can be added at point of applying it to plants)

Completed Tasks

(But which will require doing again at a later date)

[Move tasks like pruning here later so info isn't lost]

Water soft fruit and new plantings

Horsetail removal:

  • Neighbouring residents have asked us to remove the growth/s closest to their garden.
  • Removal by hand easy - best if pulled up rather than cut as this gets most of the root.
  • Cleared July 2018 - need to keep an eye out for regrowth by stream.
  • How to dispose? (For now left in a pile by lower compost bins to dry out)

Top and Soft Fruit Pruning:

Mulching with leaf mould

  • When mulching leave a gap around the base of the tree. The mulch should form a band around the tree. Don’t be afraid to mulch quite widely – 90% of a tree’s roots spread away from the tree close to the surface.
  • Further details on Leaf mould on Infrastructure and Hard Landscaping page.

Fruit thinning:

  • RHS Guidance Page (but this is perhaps a bit too drastic!)
  • Summer job mainly applying to apples and plums
  • Leave 2-3 fruit per bunch and remove the remainder
  • Take off any diseased fruit
  • Ensures quality of harvest not quantity (and we'll get a large quantity anyway!)
  • 2017 work: (Richard, 17 July): thinning complete on: Apple 1 (Scarlet Pimpernel), Apple 8 (Tom Putt), Apple 9, Pear 4 (Thorn), Apple 5 (Lord Derby), "Court of Wick" (apple 3).

Sharpen tools:

  • [- please consult Mark first]
  • Trial sharpening of secateurs (Mark has purchased sharpener), (other tools?)
  • (Lewis,Mark - 29 Jan): sorted which tools to professionally sharpen.
  • (Margaret): selected shears sharpened professionally.

Watering:

  • Regular watering will be needed throughout the summer/early autumn seasons.
  • Prioritise small trees, herbs, chutney patch, fruit tunnel

Quince maintenance:

  • Please read & add details of observations/work done on: Quince Tree Maintenance task page.
  • Both quince trees have suffered from blight for the last three seasons, so lots of work to remove dead leaves and undergrowth.

MRCO Default Seasonal Activities (2011): [PDF] [source DOC]