Bowling Park Community Orchard

Bowling Park Community Orchard - to be updated

We will probably be at the orchard (in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive) , but may change at short notice. We will email and update the website.

[At this stage we would like to keep the schedule for September flexible. We need to get the shed built by the end of the month. Some of this will be in the workshop, but when we come to the actual construction it will need to be consecutive days, in dry weather. We will email specific work days as we progress. If you only receive the programme by post and want to be kept informed then please ring the office to let us know].

Shed Building 21st Sept and w/c 24th Sept

workshop and orchard

An update with proposed work days over the next week as we approach the actual construction of the shed. 

Friday 21st Sept; we will go to the orchard in the morning. We will be fixing the base plate in position and organising the area around the shed for the build next week.
We will also be harvesting, and carrying on with hedge cutting etc.
We will be returning to Culture Fusion by early afternoon  - there is still more to do in the workshop, but also essential work to remove dandelion seedlings from the meadow.

Monday 24th Sept; the straw is being delivered in the morning. I don't know exactly what time but they will give us a bit of notice. My plan is to be at Culture Fusion from 9am, working in the workshop until they ring, and then going to the orchard. If you are able to help unload the straw adn move to the orchard, either come to Culture Fusion early on, or I can text you once I know an arrival time. Please let me know if you can help. Once the straw is safely stored we will return to Culture Fusion to continue with the timber work. Unfortunately we are behind schedule, but cannot start to assemble the straw until all the timber work is ready. 

Tuesday 25th Sept; workshop to complete (hopefully) the timber work. Who knows, we might even be in a position to go to the orchard. 

Wednesday 26th Sept; we really hope to be at the orchard today starting to assemble the straw. I cannot predict how long it will take to get the bales in place, so either today or tomorrow we will get the roof plate in place. 

Thursday 27th Sept; orchard, roof plate and rafters. 

Friday 28th Sept; at orchard  - roof, fascias etc (!!). We may even start some of the rendering, but you will have to wait for a further update for a clearer timescale on this. 

Saturday and Sunday - lets see...

While we at the orchard there are of course the regular Sept jobs; harvesting, grass cutting, hedge cutting, general weeding. 

Please can you let me know if and when you are planning to come. The above is an estimated plan, but those of you who have been involved to date will realise how over optimistic I have been with progress to date. I will give updates to progress and each day's work locations to those that plan to come or want to be kept informed, rather than to my entire email group.

I'm pretty confident in saying that this is the one and only opportunity for you to be involved in building a straw bale structure as part of a BEES programme. Don't miss out! 

Bowling Park Community Orchard - to be updated

either orchard or workshop

We will probably be at the orchard (in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive) , but may change at short notice. We will email and update the website.

[At this stage we would like to keep the schedule for September flexible. We need to get the shed built by the end of the month. Some of this will be in the workshop, but when we come to the actual construction it will need to be consecutive days, in dry weather. We will email specific work days as we progress. If you only receive the programme by post and want to be kept informed then please ring the office to let us know].

Bowling Park Community Orchard - to be updated
julia Fri, 14th Sep 2018, 11:00pm
either orchard or workshop

We will probably be at the orchard (in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive) , but may change at short notice. We will email and update the website.

[At this stage we would like to keep the schedule for September flexible. We need to get the shed built by the end of the month. Some of this will be in the workshop, but when we come to the actual construction it will need to be consecutive days, in dry weather. We will email specific work days as we progress. If you only receive the programme by post and want to be kept informed then please ring the office to let us know].

Orchard project - in Culture Fusion workshop.

125 Thornton Road

We are going to be at Culture Fusion today, working in the workshop on the timberwork for the shed. 

[At this stage we would like to keep the schedule for September flexible. We need to get the shed built by the end of the month. Some of this will be in the workshop, but when we come to the actual construction it will need to be consecutive days, in dry weather. We will email specific work days as we progress. If you only receive the programme by post and want to be kept informed then please ring the office to let us know].

Bowling Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Cutting the hedgeCutting the hedgeAnother visit to the orchard to continue various tasks including path and hedge cutting and harvesting the Beauty of Bath apples. We started the summer pruning of the espaliers and the stone fruit. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

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

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
julia Fri, 22nd Jun 2018, 11:52pm
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
julia Fri, 8th Jun 2018, 11:52pm
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

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

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. 

 
 

Blossom Day; Bowling Park Community Orchard

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

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…
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Today we focussed on thinning out and reducing the height of some of the perimeter trees. It is important we do let these get too big as we do not want them shade the allotments. It also supports the allotment association’s aims to get better views across the allotments  in a bid to improve security. 

Thank you to the volunteers who helped transport volunteers and tools in the absence of the minibus. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Another cold start, and today the temperature cannot have risen much above freezing as none of the snow or ice melted, even in full sun. We made a tentative start to the pruning; it’s not ideal in such cold conditions but also we wanted to complete the installation of the veg bed to avoid carrying timber around again. We have used oak sleepers, so whilst we will appreciate the durability, they were heavy to handle and resisted the nails. We persevered and completed the job. 

We pruned almost all the soft fruit – this has been missed the past couple of years, so whilst it leaves us with a lot of pruning to do on subsequent visits, it was a prickly job, well done. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Final touches before Apple Day. The last bench, for the moment, was installed, and another had new legs installed. Final bits of grass cutting, weeding and removal of fallen apples made the orchard vaguely presentable. More apples were harvested – we had to take these away as the shed was full of ones ready for the juicer on Sunday. They will come back on Sunday. If only we had a storage shed for the apples….!

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

06 10 17We had another couple of bags of hardcore delivered today and have finished levelling the shelter area. We will assess how it goes on Apple Day, perhaps we will run a whacker plate over it when we get a new one or can borrow one. Bothe the tables/work surfaces are finished under the shelter and we are looking forward to them being transformed into cake and falapple stalls next weekend. 

Three of the four news benches were installed by the espaliers. The timber legs are rather larger than ideal but we worked with them and the space is looking inviting. 

Most of the grass has now been cut though we will need to finish this off next week. Despite not having a mower we are doing a good job. We also did the inevitable job of collecting windfalls and harvesting from the trees. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

A great few days during which we have managed to make a big impact on the state of the orchard. The path through the main part of the orchard has been cleared of bark (this has been reused near the shelter) and vegetation and replaced with hard core. Thanks to Forest of Bradford Volunteers who were a great help getting the majority of the stone barrowed up from the gate. We may top it off with some fine stone but that will have to wait until after Apple Day as we still have a few other jobs on the go which we need to complete. 

We have almost finished the construction of a couple of work tops/tables under the shelter. These will be useful for events, school groups and just in general. Let’s hope they don’t attract the attention of the fire starters. 

Progress has been made with reducing the height of hedges to the permitted 5 foot, this should be completed on our next visit. Already we can see how much more light is getting to Katy. We have prepared a bed to plant with nectar rich flowers, and made a start on cutting the grass. There have been quite a lot of apples falling from the trees, many before we would expect that variety to be ripe. We have cleared a lot, hoping some will last until juicing at Apple Day. 

I really feel we have a significantly smaller harvest his year, so make sure you get along to harvest sessions, work sessions, Shipley Alternative market or Apple Day if you want to buy some apples. 

Keep a breast of dates on the Operation Orchard page. 

We will add more photos to the gallery as we progress 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Please arrive at CF by 9.30am

We are continuing to tackle the infrastructure improvements at the orchard, with the aim of installing the new benches, paths and shelter tables and ‘floor’ before Apple Day.

If you plan to come today it would be useful if you could let us know. Thanks

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Please arrive at CF by 9.30am  

We are continuing to tackle the infrastructure improvements at the orchard, with the aim of installing the new benches, paths and shelter tables and ‘floor’ before Apple Day. There will also be hedge cutting, grass cutting and harvesting.

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

We made a start in levelling the ground under the shelter today. The job itself wasn’t too hard, but we were using up left over stoney soil from the carpark so getting the bags there was pretty gruelling.  We also made a start adding some more support to the shelter to extend it’s life. 

There were also apples to pick, onions to dig and general planning and measuring to do. 

Bowling Park Community orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Two successful days during which we re-roofed the big shelter in the event space, and removed and replaced the roof over the shed. The roofing on the big shelter was fairly straight forward (challenging but manageable), working systematically along the roof nailing the corrugated bitumen sheets to the roof frame. I’d miscalculated the number of nails needed so it was all but finished by the time we left on Thursday, with the last few fixings put in on Friday morning.  To strengthen the frame of the shelter we have added some extra vertical supports, and will add more when we are next there. 

The roof that covers the small shed had bowed significantly with pools of water collecting where it slumped. So before securing the new sheeting we added some extra joists to support the roof, but we will need to make sure we brush fallen leaves off the top at regular intervals. 

We also made a good start with cutting the hedges. And we picked the first ripe Beauty of Bath apples. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

We made a great start today with some of the infrastructure improvements that we are undertaking over the next few months. We removed the perished roofing of the large shelter and aim to replace it next week, working on Thursday and Friday. 

The main sections of compost bins will be moved to make way for the shed to be built, and a great start was made in clearing these and establishing areas for the bins to be relocated. 

The scythes were useful for cutting the taller vegetation including areas of nettles, ground elder and hogweed. Our mower has been stolen so we it was less easy to shorten the edges of the main path and the paths through the long grass. 

We were pleased to see quite a few small frogs plus a number of moths, butterflies and a patrolling Brown Hawker dragonfly. 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

A fine sunny day. We continued to dig out the compost bin and weed around the trees. The veg beds and some of the trees were successfully weeded by the Shaping Spaces group, who also mowed pathways and path edges. 

We continued this work on Saturday 17th with te Friends of BPCO gropu session. We also had a good go at the ground elder and bind weed, spread compost around the trees, thinned out the apples on some of the trees. 

Blossom day at Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive

The blossom started very early this year – quite a few trees were in bloom when we were working on our Saturday session on April 15th, however we were pleased to see that there was still a lot of blossom out and the orchard was looking good. 

It’s the first time we have had blossom on Blossom Day since 2015. It’s a shame we didn’t manage to attract more visitors today, but for the regular volunteer group it was a successful day’s work. And with added sustenance of cakes and apple goodies. 

The vegetation has grown a lot in the last three weeks so the key tasks were mowing (especially the ground elder), cutting under the trees and mulching to suppress the weeds. We have plenty of straw to mulch with (they were the seats at Apple Day last year) but as we started the job we realised there was a bumble bees’ nest in the pile. Although we had already disturbed them, we re-covered the remaining bales and hope they stay put. 

During this summer we will be relocating and building new compost bins. We started the process of digging out the neglected brick compost area. It has a lot of good compost that we will feed the trees with once we have removed the weed roots. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

in the allotments on Bowling Park Drive, BD4

27 Jan 2017A reluctant start today, the coldest Friday morning we have had for a while, even feeling colder than in the snow at Lower Fields. The minibus took quite a bit of coaxing before we could set off. 

The trees were covered in frost when we arrived, not ideal for pruning, so we started the morning on more active jobs; turning the compost heaps, digging out misplaced raspberry canes from next to the Egremont Russet and continuing with laying the hedge near the seating area. 

The hedgelaying team (probably the smallest number you can class as a team) did an excellent job and completed the entire stretch.  We will need to take some remedial action on the pallet fence behind which has nails sticking though, but apart from that the work has made a massive improvement - creating habitat whilst keeping the hedge below the 5ft limit. Well done. 

We couldn’t really leave without doing any pruning – we had a new tool to try out. We have bought a lopper attachment for the pole, so we can reach into the branches and to higher branches. The rope pulley system reduces the effort needed and the ability to change the angle of the cutting head was very satisfying!

In addition we took compost to the orchard and some twigs and timber as kindling for our wassail for on Sunday. And people took some soft apples away for garden blackbirds; ideal to attract them for RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend. 

 Have a look at the orchard gallery here