Orchard Report Fourayes Farm: Summer 2019

At the time of writing we are just edging out of quite a dry May after a cold April in which our bees struggled to find any warm days to work their magic with the pollination.

March was a mixture of storm force winds and some unseasonably warm days of 18 to 20 degrees, bringing Spring on quickly, which rapidly slowed down again.

We have just taken delivery of our new John Deere tractor which will also double up as our new snowplough tractor. We had our old snowplough out just two or three times during the winter and snow only reached a maximum depth of about five inches during one weekend.

We’ll be planting another 3½ acres of Bramley this coming winter (2019-20). The field has been ploughed and it is about to be marked out.

We have also added another two orchards to our pheromone spoiler experiment which worked well last year: Codling and Tortrix moths did not have to be sprayed for in those orchards.

The fly tippers have been in the area and, unfortunately, we have had two helpings which we had to clear from our crossroads orchard.

We are a little behind with our pruning this season but have nearly finished.

We have finished spreading our fertiliser: no lime was needed to adjust the soil pH this season.

Our rabbits remain low in number although I am controlling rabbits on a farm nearby.

I recently saw buzzards, five in number, circling overhead. Partridges, both English and French, are now in pairs. I have seen a cock pheasant with seven hens driving away other cock birds.

I am hearing fox cubs play-fighting in the woods, and this Spring I have heard the cuckoo on numerous occasions – last year we only heard him at weekends which sparked rumours of ‘part-time’ cuckoos!

A few days ago, I had just driven my Land Rover into a gateway when a little owl settled on my door mirror. We looked at each other for several moments and then he was gone. People believe they are bringers of news. I wondered if he was going to tell me something about Brexit!

All the best from
Ian Witherden and all 
at Fourayes Farm.

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