Saturday, 21 May 2016

The Orchard - Self Sufficient in ... Fruit and Nuts

This is to be part of a series of posts about what we are, or are on our way to being, Self Sufficient In  ...

Everywhere is greening up nicely now, so much so that I am going to start calling the spot where the chickens are currently living The Orchard.  After all according to Wikipedia -

 'An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production.'

 Which is exactly what this is, although with the trees appearing to be no more than spindly little sticks until this last few weeks, I was loathe to give it such a 'posh' title. 

So in The Orchard we have:

3 Damson trees - Merryweather 
3 Pear trees - Doyenne du Comice
3  Cherry trees - 2 Stella and 1 Morello 
3 Apple trees - 1 Bramley, 1 Braeburn and 1 Cox's Orange Pippin
3 Plum trees - Victoria

And at the top of the hill espaliered on the fence is another unknown variety of Pear.

All the trees used to have identifying labels on them ... but the chickens have very helpfully removed most of them, it's a good job I have a little notebook that reminds me of everything that we have planted!!

I have temporarily moved the Blueberries out of the Net Tunnel to stand by the back door of it.  The wind has been much calmer recently and as a reader commented recently (thanks for the reminder Kris) they do need to be pollinated by the bees.  It was okay while I was working in there with the door open each day but I have had no reason to be in there for the last week and I doubt many bees would be able to fit through the mesh of the tunnel so (to quote Nellie Pledge) they are stood standing  outside for now.

At the front door of the polytunnel, this week's sunshine and warmth has brought the transplanted strawberries on a treat and at last we have flowers.  The strawberries in the tall galvanised planter on the right of the tyres have now been joined by the start of the Jerusalem Artichokes that also live in this tub.  That's the first one coming through that you can see in the top righthand corner of the tub.

 As well as the fruit trees in the Orchard and the strawberries here in the old tyres and planter, we have the nut trees in Nut Wood, four Walnut, two Almond and two Sweet Chestnut.  This is our wildlife area and also has wild flowers and lots of Borage to encourage the bees.  In the Rhubarb patch there are now four rhubarb different kinds of rhubarb alongside some more strawberries that were hiding when I moved the others.  There is also a hanging basket of strawberry plants in the polytunnel and a tray of Cape Gooseberries that have over-wintered nicely.  

Dotted regularly down the fence of the hillside we have our red, black and white currant bushes and by the Rowens at the bottom of the hill are the four Gooseberries.  All of which were cuttings taken from our neighbour Mary's lovely bushes last year and they're doing really well.  And I mustn't forget the old Belfast sink near the back door that is absolutely full of lovely flowering strawberry plants.  

And of course over in the original Chicken World there are the Plum and Cherry trees and the huge old Bramley apple tree that absolutely dripped with huge apples last year, many of which are still residing in the freezer, sliced and in crumbles and pie bases.  Over by the man-shed there is another old eating apple tree of unknown type, all these were here when we moved in and although we do not know the type we do now know the flavour and that is very good.

So I have my fingers firmly crossed for another decent fruit yield this year, with the amount of blossom that is on all the trees it's looking hopeful.

So one day we will be Self Sufficient In ... Fruit and Nuts

Sue xx 


  1. It is all looking great Sue, fingers crossed we don't get any late frosts on the blossom.
    Nuts and apples are easy, but how will you be storing the soft fruit to make it last through the year?

    1. I simply freeze soft fruits in plastic boxes to keep it free flowing.

  2. Victoria plums - my favourite fruit.

  3. Your property is just wonderful! I love your nice, neat fences and various buildings and greenhouses. I hope it's a very good fruit year for you! -Jenn

  4. So much stuff there! I'm reading about window sill food growing, living in a flat as I do

    1. It's surprising how much you can grow on a window sill, I've done it before myself. Lots of herbs for a start ... even doing just herbs and maybe a big pot of a small Tumbling Tomato and perhaps a tray of cut and come again Lettuces you will save a fortune on supermarket prices.

  5. Blossom on the hedgerows, sunshine on the hills,
    Oh the happy Maytime, all my being fills.
    May your blossom come to fruition. I can see many happy puddings ahead.

  6. At present I have a short burst of Broadband so am trying to answer a few posts. Your orchard is looking splendid - you so rarely see good ones these days - I do hope it is a success.

  7. I love your orchard. I had a small citrus one that I loved. Then we had a horrible freeze attack us from Canada, a hard freeze and I lost so many trees. I have slowly been replanting and letting what was left grow wild and be a summer respite for all the animals that lived here before we came and destroyed their habitat.
    I can not believe you have so many wonderful fruits.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish

    1. Citrus has been my one big failure. I seem to able to kill any lemon, orange or lime tree just by looking at it :-(

  8. Wow...a lot to look forward to...Wonderful!

  9. I love that top pic, it shows just how much work you've done.

  10. Lovely orchard. I'm quite envious as the deer around here make fruit trees impossible. Hope you get a bumper crop of blueberries this year. :-D

    1. We had that problem at our last place, they used to stand there stripping the fruit trees and bushes and then casually stroll away as we shouted at them .... it's very frustrating to be feeding the wildlife more than you can feed yourself :-(


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