Blog

Oct 092017

‘Fruit Tree Pruning’ and ‘Planning & Planting an Orchard’ Courses Winter 2017

I will be running two courses this winter, Fruit Tree Pruning and Planning & Planting an Orchard.

Planning & Planting an Orchard – 18th November 2017

Held at Monkton Wyld, on the Dorset/Devon border. 10am-3pm. £60.00 including delicious vegetarian lunch.

For bookings please visit here

 

 

Fruit Tree Pruning – 25th November 2017

Held at Trill Farm, near Axminster. 10am-3pm. £60.00 including delicious lunch made by Chris at The Old Dairy Kitchen at Trill.

For bookings please visit here

 

Both courses can be booked through the Landbase website, on their Courses page.

Jun 262017

Summer Pruning Fruit Tree Course

Summer prune apple trees

13th August 2017

@ Monkton Wyld Court Charmouth, Dorset

11am – 3pm

£25.00

 

Would you like to learn how to summer prune your fruit trees to grow beautiful and bountiful trained forms – espaliers, cordons, fans and more?

This short course will cover the reasons for summer pruning and the various trained forms you can grow, with a practical demonstration showing you how to summer prune.

Course attendees will then prune the various trained fruit trees in Monkton Wyld’s walled garden.

You will need to bring: Notepad/pen Secateurs Loppers/pruning saws if you have them

To make a booking on this course please visit Monkton Wyld’s Courses page

and scroll down until you find the Fruit Tree Summer Pruning option.

Mar 082017

Upcoming Course, 29th April – Planning and Planting a New Orchard

Newly planted maiden apple tree

A new course set for April 29th 2017: Planning and Planting a New Orchard.

Hot on the heels of our Pruning Apple and Pear Trees Course at Trill Farm in February, we will be running another course with the excellent Landbase to be held at Monkton Wyld, near Axminster, East Devon.

This 1 day course will put you on the right path to planting an orchard of healthy and productive fruit trees suitable for your location and needs. Led by fruit tree specialist Tom Nancarrow from Pip & Stone Fruit Tree Services and Adam’s Apples, the course covers topics such as choosing the best site, understanding pollination, selecting a rootstock, the best varieties, potential yields, when to plant, how to protect trees from rabbits/sheep/deer.

Visit Landbase to book a place or  contact me directly for any further enquiries.

Oct 052015

Pruning Course November 2015

 
I am running an apple tree pruning course this November at a farm on the outskirts of Exeter. Call East Devon Countryside Team to book a place on 01395 517557Pruning course 2015

May 082015

A blossom walk at Sheppy’s Cider

Apple blossom coalescing in a puddle

Apple blossom coalescing in a puddle

I spent a blustery hour wandering around Sheppy’s cider orchards yesterday morning, during a gap in the showers. Needless to say, the weather was too rough for any pollinating insects to be out, in fact there was a disheartening amount of blossom being blown off the branches! Hopefully a more settled week ahead…

It’s interesting to see the three different orchards, reflecting how the management and growing of apples has changed over time.

Sheppy's new post and wire cider orchard intensive m26

Sheppy’s new post and wire cider orchard, the modern way!

 

Sheppy's mm106 cider orchard

Sheppy’s mm106 cider orchard, planted 1975

Sheppy's standard cider orchard m25

Sheppy’s traditional standard cider orchard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple blossom Sheppy's cider

Not sure of the variety, but this block of mm106 cider trees were looking particularly beautiful.

 

May 032015

Apple blossom emerging

Apple Blossom

Apple blossom on the 3rd May

There is some lovely fruit blossom out at the moment, hopefully we will have some good weather this coming week for the pollinators…

Blenheim Orange blossom

Blenheim Orange, looking promising… 3rd May

 

Chicken in the orchard

Jean Pierre keeping guard in the orchard

 

Cherry 'Stella' blossom, 27th AprilCherry ‘Stella’ blossom, 27th April

 

 

 

Mar 272015

School orchard at Musbury Primary

I had a nice morning at Musbury primary school, East Devon a week or so ago. We talked about all the different insects and animals you might find in an orchard before heading out in to the pouring rain to plant ten apple trees! The children had written a fantastic wassailing    song to bring good health and high yields to the new orchard, with the help of Folk South West. We even made the local paper – fame at last…

Musbury school orchard east devon

Oct 202014

Pruning Courses Winter 2014/15

I am running two apple tree pruning courses this winter, please see below for details.

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Saturday 13th December 2014:

Pruning young apple trees @ Broadclyst Community Farm (map)

Learn how to create well-structured and productive apple trees with this lesson in formative pruning and orchard management. A mixture of practice and theory. Some tools will be available but please bring secateurs if you have them. We will be working on young trees – around 5 years old.

10.00 – 3:00pm / £30.00 Vegetarian lunch included

 

 

Saturday 7th February 2015:

Pruning mature apple trees @ Escot (map)

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Learn the art of pruning mature apple trees and caring for old orchards, with this practical pruning day in a traditional Devon orchard. 

9.30 – 3:30pm / £45.00 Lunch not included but refreshments available at Escot Coach House Resturant 

Tools: This day will involve more work with a pruning saw than secateurs. I will have a small number available but it would be a worthwhile investment if you are going to be pruning fruit trees regularly. There is really only one saw worth considering for fruit tree work, the Silky Fox Gomtaro pull saw. Expensive, but you won’t regret it!

 

 

Dec 112013

A waterwheel, an oak press and plenty of apples…

Sluice

The sluice gate is opened up to redirect the water to the waterwheel.

 

 

Here are some photographs of us making cider the old fashioned way, with our traditional oak press.

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The wheel is connected with a long rope to an apple crusher in the cider barn on the other side of the wall.

 

trapdoor

Apples are carried to the floor above the crusher and then poured steadily through a trap door…

 

Apple pulp

apples in, pulp out!

 

cider press

And here is the oak press. First, a layer of reed…

making cheese

…a few shovel loads of apple pulp and straw, the reed is folded up and hazel stakes are used to keep the whole thing together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Press the cheese

Pressing the cheese!