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 (Extra): Sunday 20 October, 2.00pm

  • Apple and pear picking - apples from A3 (and A6 if ready).
  • Pick medlars if ready.
  • Clearing - areas in need are behind A2 & the large greengage; around and to the left of the almond; and the small eleagnous above the top path. Brambles to be taken back from against the top fence again.

Orchard Workday: Sunday 3 November, 2.30pm

  • Pick apples from A6
  • Pick medlars
  • Top up dead hedge with pile of cut wood further down left path.
  • Look at pond to left of main path down from toolshed - it does not look in a good condition.
  • Firepit starting about 5pm.

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.

Watering:

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

Figs

  • The figs are in need a new support structure.
  • Existing support has collapsed and figs are leaning into a bush.
  • Bush may have to be removed as part of the process of building a new support.

Compost turning and maintenance:

  • Review state of top and bottom compost bins
  • Chop up, mix in wood chippings & turn compost
  • Transfer compost from top right bay to top left (Spring 2019)

Pond maintenance:

  • Provide structures (e.g. wood) for frogs to get in and out of ponds easily
  • Skim ponds regularly to remove floating weeds

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).

Hugelkultur

  • https://richsoil.com/hugelkultur/
  • Consolidate and maintain raised bed from cut brambles, cut shrub near Apple 1, other waste materials plus soil.
  • More planting on the hugel?

Wildflower meadow maintenance:

Herb bed overhaul:

  • [- Karen S to lead]
  • 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?)

Fruit cage overhaul:

  • improve ease of access; repair/replace 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 - in netting under shelter and in incinceration bin.

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 - to be coordinated with Stephen

Ongoing Tasks

Bamboo:

  • Check for new shoots and dig out. Pull out if position makes digging impractical.
  • New growth is likely to be seen around the edges and under the dead hedge
  • Dispose of waste bamboo (may be compostable if dried out) - incineration bin is currently full of bamboo and some horsetail. Several trugs of old bamboo beside top compost bays - need to be taken for offsite disposal or incinceration.

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

Pond maintenance: skim weeds from surface with sieve

Wood chipping: of woodpile beside top of steps at entrance and brambles. Plus pile above the top path.

  • Borrow petrol chipper from Redland Green when there is a large amount of wood and brambles. Richard has key to access the chipper. It needs 2 people to carry it across to the orchard.

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

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

  • Consider removal of 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.
  • Jerry is carrying out some water butt stabilising work (March 2019).

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)

Hedgecutting

  • Malcom Dowling has completed hedgelaying on both sides of the orchard.
  • We will need to prune each hedge once a year in Winter to regulate growth.
  • For related pruning, see "Tree Works" notes on Infrastructure & Composting page

Top and Soft Fruit Pruning:

  • [- please consult Karen S/Lewis/Janet first]
  • For 2019 we plan to prune in early Summer as well as the usual session in February.
  • Detailed support information here: Fruit & Veg Maintenance

Mulching

  • 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.
  • Use compost from top left bay.
  • And cardboard - there is currently a stock under the shelter. If you have any to bring more is always welcome.
  • Mulch the smaller trees - berries, currants, gages, quinces, small pears, cherries, almonds…
  • Leaf mould can be taken from the pile below the path near Redland Green gates (currently out of stock, March 2019). 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.

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]