Thursday, 19 March 2009

The Joys of Spring

March is rapidly drawing to a close and I've yet to catch sight of a Hare, mad or otherwise. Rabbits galore of course, but these are hardly the harbingers of Spring we associate with the wonderful Hare. Oh well, there are plenty of other signs that Spring is finally upon us. The buds are swelling on many of our trees, and the warmer days have nudged some of the ciders into a renewed gentle fermentation.

Most exciting of all are the new signs of life in the potting shed. It's early days yet, but the Scarlet Crofton I grafted in February appears to have taken, the buds on the scion have well and truly broken, and it looks as if we may have a tree on our hands. I said at the time I was doing the grafting that if only one tree took I'd be a happy man, and it has, so I am. The Dabinetts have yet to burst into life, but most cider apple varieties flower late so there's plenty of time for them yet. The Golden Harvey is also showing little in the way of life at the moment, but the Calville Rouge D'Hiver looks promising, the buds have definitely grown a little over the last couple of weeks.

Out in the orchard I've continued to tie-down some of the more upright branches on the cider apple trees. The Yarlington Mill and Tremlett's Bitter trees have been particularly prone to this upright growth, and by tying down these branches we can encourage the trees to produce fruiting buds rather than too much vegetative growth. If we can get the Tremlett's to crop reasonably early there's a much better chance of reducing their vigour. The Tremlett's enjoy the conditions in our garden, and if we're not careful we'll end up with huge spindly trees which are reluctant to give us any fruit.

Of course the coming of Spring can bring problems along with this new growth. From now on it's 'Pest Watch' in the orchard, we don't want a repeat of last year's Rosy Apple Aphid infestation.

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