Monday, March 17, 2008

Feel Good Day

We're back in the caravan now and love being at the heart of it again. Glorious weather here at present so I spent the early morning putting cardboard 'mulch' circles around the newly planted apple trees to keep the weeds at bay. There was no wind so it was really beautiful being out in the Spring sunshine and I was thinking of putting a bench seat in the new orchard. It's a bit rich calling it an orchard yet but Steve and friend Allan planted 12 apple trees yesterday. I chose mainly Scottish heritage varieties from Butterworths organic nursery who are renowned for the quality of their stock and for the range of species they grow. Very kindly the nursery added an extra tree to the bundle but I haven't worked out where that should go - should I just pop it in with the others and ignore the separation distance they're meant to be or put it in the ground elsewhere and hope it pollinates, ether way its temporarily heeled in nearby.
Here's my list of species:- Dessert Apples are White Joaneting which dates from before 1600 and produces early fruit from August, Thorle Pippin (2 of) a Scottish apple first described in 1831, Charles Ross which fruits from Sept to Dec and is a cross of Peasgood Nonsuch and Cox's Orange Pippin, Golden Pippin (2 of) which was described in Scotland's first gardening book in 1683 as the 'best variety for Scotland', Wheeler's Russet which is originally English but was grown in the big Clydesdale orchards in the late 1700s and is a late cropper from Jan to March, Maggie Sinclair is also probably from Clydesdale and finally for the dessert apples is the Ribston Pippin which I chose as it heralded in 1707 from Knaresborough which is the nearest apple connection to my place of birth. Culinary apple choices are Stobo Castle which is an early cooker from Stobo, Golden Spire which originally hails from Lancashire (as does Steve) and is a good cider variety so we can dust off our apple press in seasons to come, Scotch Dumpling which has particularly attractive blossom apparently and is another Clydesdale species, Scotch Bridget which dates from the 1850s and crops from Oct to Dec.
I've spent quite a few hours reading up on the subject and working out the best species for our site (wet and windy west), its conditions (fairly shallow soil with rocky strata), the pollination days of each species to ensure they remain fertile and cropping times so we that we don't end up with too many apples at the same time. Obviously we'll have far too many apples but it'll be fun to see it all grow over years to come.

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