When we were looking around our new house the previous owner mentioned that the village had a community orchard. We joined as soon as we moved in, so far we have been to 2 working parties and one cider evening 🙂 Eastington Community Orchard has one orchard site, so far, with a combination of fruit trees and soft fruit. There are plans to rent a new site closer to the centre of the village.
The orchard is a fantastic community asset. It was set up with some funding from the parish, local and county councils as part of a campaign to promote vibrant villages. The work groups do simple maintenance throughout the year and then we have an apple day in the autumn. Apples and pears from ECO and other trees around the village, from single trees to larger orchards, are picked and pressed for juice. Some is pasteurised and some is for cider and perry. As well as apples for cider, cooking and eating there are plums, greengages and damsons.
Today we were taking down a long fruit cage over the black currants and transplanting them to the main fruit cage.
The fruit cage has a few nice wide rows for currants and raspberries (summer and autumn) but in the middle of one row to were some trees. No one knew what they were, when they were planted or if there were root stock trees. The answer was to dig them up and move them into the planter as a nursery bed.
The planters had been full of unloved and uncared for strawberries. The strawberries were destined for the tip/compost. We offered to give them a new home and took a bag of swag home.
The currants were pretty well established and Tara and Bart took a while to dig the monster out. It is now safely in the large fruit cage. Only another dozen to go – but they can wait for the next working party in two weeks.
There are signs of life in the plums with leaf beds starting to swell. Not long until we have blossom and apparently the trees are planted so that the blossoms slowly spread across the orchard. I can’t wait to see that this spring.
We are hoping that the old timber that was used in the fruit cages will get a new home with us. We need a couple of compost bins! So keep your fingers crossed for us.
The strawberries now have a new home.
We have a strawberry patch in the garden already, so we might get enough for a jar or two of jam this summer…