Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Hilly Fields Orchard Update

Carina from the London Orchard Project has sent through details of the proposed orchard and we've now prepared a plan of the site with proposed trees shown (see below).

Carina writes:

We are proposing to plant 7 fruit trees on the level patch of grass at the bottom of the slope with the stone circle. Semi-mature trees on the patch will be retained, and planting will be amongst the existing trees.

The proposal is to plant 7 apple trees, including a mixture of common and heritage varieties, with fruit of different colour and cropping at different times throughout the harvest season. Some of the varieties are known for their hardiness, making them more likely to succeed, or are doing particularly well on our current sites.

The proposed varieties are as follows.

1. Egremont Russet: Late Victorian English variety, most important commercial Russet, good frost tolerance, nutty flavour ripe in mid-September.

2. Tydeman’s Late Orange: variety raised in 1930s in Kent, rich aromatic flavour, firm and sweet, orange to red in colour, picking time mid October. A cross between a Laxton Superb and a Cox Orange Pippin, but a lot easier to grow than a Cox Orange Pippin. Picking time mid-October.

3. Greensleeves: green to yellow mid-season apple, popular with children as it is a cross with a Golden Delicious, picking time mid-September.

4. James Grieve: Received an Award of Merit from the RHS in 1897, produces juicy and tangy fruit and crops heavily and regularly.

5. Sunset: Raised in Kent in 1918, produces golden fruit with red stripes, with a firm, crisp texture and an intense cox like flabour. Picking time late September.

6. Arthur Turner: Cooking apple, excellent for baking and famous for its outstanding pink blossom. Picking time is August to September. Raised in Berkshire in 1912.

7. Kingston Black: Cider apple, producing small conical fruit, maroon colour. The flavour is bittersweet and aromatic, ideal for making cider.

Varieties will be finalised after the Hilly Fields Fayre where people will be allowed to vote for their preferred choices, and depending on our suppliers’ availability closer to the time of the planting.

Two of the trees will be grafted on MM106 rootstock resulting in trees that will grow up to approximately 4 metres after 10 years, and produce 90-110 lb of apples. These trees are “semi-vigorous”, and will be placed closer to the side of the ditch. It will be easy for passers by to help themselves to the fruit.

The remaining five will be grafted on M25 rootstock, which will produce a standard tree, over 5 metres high. These bigger trees are the ones found in traditional orchards, and their larger size will make them more in keeping with the other semi-mature trees in the area, although fruit collection will be more difficult. These trees will be placed amongst the existing semi-mature trees.

The trees will be double staked and double guarded, to minimise the risk of accidental or deliberate damage.

It is suggested to hold the planting event on 27th November, with training of park users and Transition Town members planned for the 6th or 7th November (to be confirmed).

We'll keep you updated on progress.

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