Bramley apple orchard Fourayes

Ian's Orchard Reports

Jan 30, 2013

Winter 2011-2012

A stormy start, but a bumper crop and two new Bramley orchards planned.

At the time of writing we are between two storm systems giving gale force winds and heavy rain, 20mm fell from the first but no tree damage occurred. Fingers crossed for the second! It is getting colder after an unusually warm autumn.

Our harvest was well up on last year, coming in at 1,321 tonnes of processing Bramley. We were fortunate indeed after having a very dry spring, but the rain came just in time to fill out our Bramleys.

We had a mostly dry harvest period and the crop came in at about 750 bins above our crop estimates. We will be planting two new Bramley orchards this winter, some 1,500 trees. These will be more conventional orchards planting 6ft by 12ft with stakes, not wire work as before. The reason for this is the rows will run east – west in direction, instead of the north – south that is preferred for wire work.

We have just completed our soil samples from the orchards and with our fruitlet, leaf and apple samples we will be able to determine how much fertilizer will be needed for the coming season.

Pruning is well under way again. We started a little earlier in case the weather turns bad.

Fourayes wildlife

I have been watching a covey of English partridges around the farm since August, they still number around twenty and they are English. In decline in some areas but not here! The Field Fares have arrived; they will mop up any fruit on the ground. The Woodcock are here again and hares can be seen around the orchards. After dark our badgers can be seen in the orchards and numbers have risen steadily since the 1980s.

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