In July and August 2014 we had several huge days creating our heritage fruit orchard with over 100 different, bare rooted trees. We’d arranged, with Manning Landcare, a workshop to have Pete the Permie and his wife, Sylvia come to Wingham for several days in July. As a result of that visit, we bought an assortment of 100 various different fruit trees ranging from cherries, plums, apricots and peaches to a whole range of apple and pear trees plus apples specifically for cider.
As our ground where we planned the orchard was so hard and unforgiving, we cheated a and hired a Toro to dig large holes. After the holes were dug, all the excess was removed and masses of mulch, manure, COF mixture (complete organic fertiliser) were applied and then, lots of help from friends – several days of unrelenting efforts!
Martin as always worked his butt off clearing out the holes. He ended up looking like a Kabooki dancer, covered in grey powder, Mary came with her lovely HelpXers, Merlin & Ioana. Mary was going to work for a few days so asked us if we’d like them to come for a couple more days – thanks Mary!! Lots of pictures of these two here. Ewen, (another recent arrival to the valley with his wife, Anne) came too and rapidly, an empty field became a fledgling orchard.
Les carefully mapped out where we wanted to put a swale, above the top row of trees in the orchard. This is to stop water from just running down the hill, slow it down to help absorption, direct it out towards the ridges and finally direct any excess into the house dam.
We hired our neighbour, Richard O’Neil, to dig this swale That man is an artist with his excavator, it is a joy to watch him in action, gentle easy rhythm! Two days after it was completed, it rained. It worked perfectly! If you’re in this area, this is the man you need to come and work for you.