March in the Orchard


The orchard is emptying out as the apples and pears get picked and stored. I’m enjoying taking the pressure off the trees in this heat. We’re picking Cox’, Captain Kidd, Doyenne du Comice, Triumph du Vienna and Clergeau. Our greywater systems broke down in December (and is still a work in progress) so no water for my fruit trees this hot, dry summer. Many lessons will be learnt – and ’tis always interesting to see how far plants can be pushed.

coxs appleThis year’s crop is amazingly good and juicy – the only sign of drought in the recent pear slug explosion (probably our incredible (Horowhenua climate/soil!) I’m not off the hook though, the stress could very well show in next year’s crop.

Orchard tasks for March

  • Feed up your currants – I use chook bedding and comfrey.
  • Feed up your citrus, passionfruits and subtropicals – nothing better for this job than rotten poo and a deep mixed mulch.
  • Plan to let your chooks under your apples, pears and plums if you have had codling moth, pear slug or apple mite.
  • Last window to summer prune stonefruit.
  • Are you planning more trees this winter? Start thinking about where to put your trees now to give you plenty of time to marinate on it. Mark out the spots for your new trees with labelled stakes to make sure the spot you’ve chosen will work well. Plan first, act later. The following workshop will get you sorted.

Fresh Fruit from your Backyard

Date: Saturday 23rd March
Time: 10am – 1pm
Price: $65.00

This workshop comes just at the right time to be ordering your deciduous fruit trees for planting this winter. You’ll learn:

  • How to choose the best sites for your pipfruits, stonefruits, subtropicals and citrus and how to create the perfect environments for them to flourish in.
  • About varieties and rootstocks that work best in our bio region.
  • About orchard herbs (including comfrey), herbal leys and using animals for pest/ weed management and composting.
  • How to plant and prune your new trees.