Working days in the Orchard: July - December 2018

Click on the image to scroll through (5 photos)
Sunday 12 August: report from Paul Arthur
Despite the wet weather today, we still had a turnout of 14 active volunteers. Although the heavy overnight rain had ceased at 10 a.m., we had another heavy burst after our tea break, which put a severe dampener on things! Despite all of that, we did still manage a wide range of jobs, and these included:
We scythed most of the area of grass to the west of the hawthorn; there is just one final swathe remaining. We raked up about half the grass and added it to the compost bays, but as they were getting very full, we decided to leave three lines of cut grass in situ, for clearing up at a later date.
We collected most of the fallen apples and the majority were added to the compost bins.
Some summer pruning of the cordons.
A previously prepared rake rack was installed in the shed and put to immediate use by storing the four wooden rakes! 
A new lock, with key, was installed on the new shed (excellent work by Ian).
A metal ramp and concrete slab was installed for the new shed (Ian and Dan).
The guttering and water butt were fully installed (Ian and Dan).
Some further light trimming of the hedge between the orchard and allotments.
Some compost management, including adding the fruit tree prunings, fallen apples and scythed grass.
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Sunday 8 July: report from Ian Bark

A very warm morning, which made the session very demanding, and volunteers were flagging towards the end.

A slightly lower turnout this month with, at various times, a total of 21 volunteers present: David, Rita, Dan, Mitch, Anthony, Colin, Jenn, Steve, Christine, Rob, Michele, Lyn, Chris, Tish, Robin, Ian, Rachel, Jim plus 2 and a flying visit from Nick.

The list of tasks completed included:

Fruit thinning
Pond edge tidying and removal of blanket weed
Started to tidy the area behind the compost bins
Testing of the flag and pole – failed to find the hole and the flag!
Removal of hogweed seed heads
Harvesting of yellow rattle seeds
Watered the bog garden and topped up the pond
Started to install the guttering on the new shed, and moved and reconnected the water butt in its new position.
Compost turning – integrated some brown material and the contents of four drowning bins
Various general small tidying tasks

The dry weather has resulted in an ever-increasing mound of brown/dry material. The challenge this year is to generate sufficient green material to enable our compost making system to operate efficiently.

Volunteers enjoyed coffee, tea and biscuits courtesy of Michele and Jenn. A container of thawed frozen apple juice was sampled and enjoyed by many of those present and six bottles were sold.

Despite the challenging conditions – it was very hot – all in all it was an extremely successful session and the orchard was looking great as we walked away.

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