June in the Orchard

Orchard wildnessThe time has come to mulch my trees. This means the big job of cutting grass which has been left wild since November. That lovely long sward of grass and wildflowers keeps the moisture in and feeds my garden helpers. This will be a family event to be sure, and it’ll be lovely to freshen it up, to let light and air in. Sometime this month it’ll be done, at the same time clearing the trunks of grass and comfrey to let them breathe again.


The other big orchard job is pruning. Pruning is not just chopping – it’s a transformation. (Don’t say “hack” it breaks my heart.) In order to prune well you need to get alongside the tree and cultivate an understanding of how it grows. This way you can create something that works well for both of you. Pruning your own trees teaches you lots about them, you go on a journey together as they grow. Every now and then I don’t get a tree, sometimes it takes a few seasons to get on tis page. If you feel like this don’t worry, just do the best you can. Some keen observation and you will eventually figure it out.

“He who knows the question, knows the answer,” Einstein (thanks Michael)I know a lot of you out there are nervous about pruning, dread it even! Like anything – once you know how all the fear disappears. If you are unsure what to do then come along to my next pruning workshop, there are 2 spaces left.

How to Prune Fruit Trees Workshop

Tydemans late appleApples

I ate the last Tydemans Late apple this morning. 6 months without buying apples in, not bad for 4 year old trees and 6 mouths to feed. Late apples improve in storage, like a fine wine. Even though this fella looks wrinkly, and doesn’t fit our 20 century apple image, the taste is an explosion in your mouth. Without a doubt the best apple experience, and one you will only get with home grown. Early apples are disappointing because they go off so fast, the flesh softening before your eyes. Mid seasons and late’s would be my pick if I only had room for a couple of trees. Mark Christensen from treecroppers tells me not to give up on finding a good value early, he says Gravenstein is excellent. He would know.

Just a reminder…

If you live in Kapiti/ Horowhenua and want me to come and prune your fruit trees, I am still taking bookings – don’t leave it till the last minute and miss out!