Bowling Park Community Orchard Task List

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 20th July, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

beesbeesThe walling stone arrived today so the first job, for some, was to barrow it over the shed area and sort to assess size. Dennis then set about completing the rectangle to form the foundations. There is more to be done but a good start was made. 

We cut branches cut overhanging from around the pond to allow more light in. This will be completed in winter. More water was carried and barrowed from the water butt. Let’s hope it is of help to the pondlife.

The flower bed by Keswick Codling has been weeded and the Field Scabious is looking good. Straw was laid under Beauty of Bath and Katy – the two trees that are most likely have fallers that we don’t want to bruise. Two of the fallen apples were eaten – the first of the year – and no they weren’t quite ripe!

Also more weeding, watering and fruit picking. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 13th July, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Another day at the orchard, and even though I messed up on arranging a delivery of stone, there was still plenty to do, not least picking more blackcurrants and gooseberries. 

More preparation of the shed area was done, including distributing the bagged compost around the trees. Ash from the fire was also sprinkled under the trees and fruit bushes to add potash to the soil. 

We started on the hedge cutting tasks with great affect, especially where it will let more sun onto the lower branches of Katy. Of course we now have more hedge cuttings to dispose of after burning the last lot last week.  Alison made a start on weeding the bed nears Keswick Codling and Maddy made great progress removing nettles and cleavers from the hedges around the fruit bushes. Safaa and Tesfaye did a sterling job carry water from the water butts to the pond in the far opposite corner of the orchard

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 22nd June, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

What a scorcher. Just the weather for digging great deep holes for the remaining benches! We have now completed our replacement of the benches, they are in a slightly different, less symmetric arrangement, but perfectly good to sit on. 

Extra netting was added to the fruit bed, which were weeded and mulched with comfrey. 

More mowing, more weeding, more watering; all expected fare in June on an allotment. 

Hoverflies on the hogweed, ringlets and meadow brown butterflies and lacewings in the grass, bees on the comfrey. It looks like we are managing to attract the beneficial insects required for organic gardening. 

 
 

Bowling Park Orchard

Friday 8th June, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

We secured posts to support netting over the gooseberries and blackcurrants today, though it exposed the imminent need to replace the rotting bed edging in the near future. More weeding and watering of vegetables and flowers, and mowing of the pathways. 

Well done to Tesfaye who managed to coax the reluctant wacker plate into life. We had barrowed 2 tonne of fine path topping to improve the final surface of the shelter, and put some aside to foot the shed. 

The comfrey is in flower attracting a lot of bees. It is evident that the frost has damaged some of the flowers as developing fruit is limited, though not necessarily to a bad extent – it will ave thinning out the clusters. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 25th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Two contrasting days, in both tasks and weather. On Thursday, whilst Dennis worked away at the foundations the rest of us had a visit to the timber yard to talk to Richard Kirby of Outdoor Classrooms about our design. It was great to look around the workshop and see the sort of buildings that Richard is making. His experience led him to suggest a different approach than the one we had planned so instead of coming away with timber, we left the yard with food for thought and some more homework to do. Back at the orchard it was scorching, and just enough time for a bit of watering and weeding. 

No need for watering on Friday. It rained most of the day and we all got thoroughly soaked and covered in mud. We installed two large benches which involved getting right down into a muddy hole. We also planted a range of plants to add nectar into the grasses. These included Brunnera, comfrey, chervil, loveage, foxgloves and mahonia. We replanted the herb bed as well, and in general did well to persist through to the end of the afternoon. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 24th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
See Friday's report for an update

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 18th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

We are making steady progress with a range of tasks. It might not have looked like we made much progress on the ground on Thursday, but we did some essential decision making about the size and positioning of the shed. We even called on Pythagoras for some to help to ensure are walls are perpendicular.  

On Friday Dennis laid the first stones for the foundation layer, once stone was collected from around the orchard. The shed is taking shape! However, it’s been a long cold winter and the cows stayed in the barns for longer than normal, hence they needed more straw. In fact they (and I guess other animals) needed it all. There is no straw to be had in England. So a key ingredient of the shed is eluding us but we want to carry on with this method of construction having chosen it as the best solution (insulation, fire proof, rodent proof, temporary if necessary). 

Other tasks have included installation of a bench (almost), cutting under the trees and feeding with compost moved from the shed area. 

We had a visit from Postcode Local Trust on Thursday. It was great to be able to show them the Orchard and the work that we are carrying out with Operation Orchard, as a result of the funding they have awarded. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 17th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
Please see Friday's report for an update on progress.

Blossom Day; Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 11th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

What a change in a few short days. Never have we had a display of blossom like this for Blossom Day; most of the trees were in full flower. Belle de Boskoop was a blousy white and ladened with flowers, Winston is still emerging and slightly pink (mostly the blossom seems very pale this year). Dog’s Snout is looking attractive, and this is really the time to admire the quince which no doubt will deteriorate as the summer develops (is it suffering from quince blight?). It looks like the Bramley may be having a restful year with a smallish crop, and Blenheim Orange and Pitmaston Pineapple seem to have fallen into a biennial fruiting habit, with this being their off year. 

We could hardly tell the mower was in use last week, so we gave the paths a further mow, and carried on with barking other paths and seating areas. But today was really about enjoying the space, eating apple and rhubarb cakes and apple and parsnip soup,  doing a bit of drawing/investigation. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 4th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

This was the start of the next phase of work at the orchard, an intense period that should see a conclusion to infrastructure improvements of Operation Orchard. 

Spring seems to be almost here; there was even a little bit of blossom open on Beauty of Bath. We did our first mow of the season, cutting paths through the grass areas. On the whole we leave most of the grass to grow long and create habitat for the essential predators which will keep the trees healthy and productive. The paths, as well as leading us in and around the trees, also create some height diversity in the sward so the habitat is suitable for a greater number of invertebrates. 
The other tasks were focussed on clearing and levelling the area for the shed, and preparing the area around the new benches ready to lay weed suppressant and a bark covering. To be continued…