Fruit Growers

Hi Kidds, thanks for your reply. I plan on only grafting only the best varieties from now on in, I'm grafting the from the trees that have stayed desease free, in the spring. We have had a crop this year and we juiced them all pretty much. We suffered frost damage too, the orchard is quite well protected, so only about 20% effected. I have had a few local farm shops asking for eaters, I no doubt will sell what I can that way but I will be keeping everything Organic, I've spend a lot of time creating a permiculture over the years.
Could you expand on your permaculture, what does that involve ? We have planted some cider varieties on 40 ft spacing (only 50 trees) on a tall rootstock, to enable cattle grazing underneath, but three years on I feel they need a little help.
 

renewablejohn

Member
Location
lancs
Depends on your market - farm gate sales to older people might focus on cox-like cultivars (don't grow cox it is a beast) - Sunset, Pixie, Fiesta, Alkmene/Red Windsor, russets even and cookers - howgate wonder and rev wilks. If you cannot store or sell all to customers to store you might prefer to concentrate on early cultivars - discovery, james grieve, fortune

Younger people, who lack discretion, like crunchy sweet apples - Scrumptious, Greensleeves, pinova

Gala, braeburn and golden delicious are boggers for scab - there are some scab resistant cultivars to consider if you are averse to applying sulphur and your customers kick off about scabs; adams pearmain, saturn and topaz

Controlled atmosphere storage is not feasible where you have a wide range of cultivars, but a cold store will help keep stuff sound until the new year. Apples that ripen in the new year such as Winston taste like turnips so I would aim to sell all stock by Christmas and don't bother to grow many late cultivars

RV Roger, yorkshire nursery, top people. https://rvroger.co.uk/fruit/
Went to rvroger today and well impressed. Probably over 100 different varieties of apples picked and put on plates like at a local horti show together with pears and quince. Will go again next year earlier in the season to see the early varieties.
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
Thanks Kidds for the info on the bins, I will will get back to you about the offer for the bottler.
Re permaculture, when we planted the trees, I planted chives under every tree, they came again this year beautifully. I also have comfrey under most trees. Bought 15 bocking14 root cuttings at the start. I use the original comfrey plants mixed with nettle in an ibc, it’s pretty potent fert now, Mixed 15:1 I’ve used it as a folia spray. I’ve also planted various other herbs, like fennel, garlic and borage, there is also 50 pear and a few edible cherry too. We have a guy who keeps his bees next to the orchard too, I don’t know how he got this year as I keep missing

I’ve had the founding member of the northern fruit group over a few times and her approach to juice is to mix it up. She sells her own and doesn’t like single variety stuff. You get mixed opinions on this. I’d say we used about 5 different varieties for each batch of juice we did and it was towards the sharper end, which I was surprised how much people liked.
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
We've aslo talked about livestock in the orchard, but trees being young we haven't yet. I'm told shorpshire sheep are good, as they don't nibble anything, along with some old spot pigs. It's something we will do at some point. Any suggestions/experience on this I would be greatful for. I've heard mixed opinions about chickens too. Sheep appeals to me, to cut diesel costs and it's getting more and more risky with the topper.
 
Im not making a recommendation for our technique, its been a bit of a trial. I was travelling back through France and ended up in Normandy and spotted a sign for the Cider Route. I would recommend having someone to drive you round.
Their tradition is to have cattle grazing under the trees, then move them out when the fruit is ripening.

We have grazed the orchard with sheep, and this year with cattle, but electric fence for every row is hard work. Im not sure putting the pigs in would be wise, this is their patch, 2 Gilts 6 weeks
IMG_6244.JPG
 

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Kidds

Member
Horticulture
We've aslo talked about livestock in the orchard, but trees being young we haven't yet. I'm told shorpshire sheep are good, as they don't nibble anything, along with some old spot pigs. It's something we will do at some point. Any suggestions/experience on this I would be greatful for. I've heard mixed opinions about chickens too. Sheep appeals to me, to cut diesel costs and it's getting more and more risky with the topper.
Geese. The answer is geese. :)
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
For anyone who is interested, there are a few photo's showing some companion planting with chives and various herbs under the trees and an International 475 towing the bowser.
20210613_120704759_iOS.jpg
20210613_115840721_iOS.jpg
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
Do the chives serve any purpose?
Your orchard looks very neat and tidy, I would suggest too neat and tidy. You have spent far too much time and money to make it look like that and I don't understand planting chives yet completely obliterating everything else apart from grass. Surely that goes against the principles of being organic.

Don't take anything I say as a criticism, I am just a bit blunt at times.
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
The chives are a good bee attractor and aphid repeller, the plants are propagated off one £2 plant over the last two years. They just seem to grown well and along with lavender are very good pollinator attractors, same with the comfrey flowers. Grass mowed once a fortnight, I don’t see why neat isn’t organic. I mean the place is literally 100% organic. But yes, it is neat, but that’s how I work.
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
Hi guys. Hope everyone is keeping well. A few changes this year in the orchard, we now have some shrophire sheep in, they are all lambing at the minute so over in another paddock. They have done a good job over the winter eating the long grass that was left from autumn and still grew into December, only one or two small branches nibbled. The plan is to get them back in until end of july until the harvesting is done. I took the advice of Kidds and decided on only having a few varieties for future use, I have about 40 new Discovery trees on MM106 grafted, fingers crossed they take, if I find success I will do many more next winter. I'm thinking back to last year and the main problem I had was codling moth. I've been studying methods of keeping the numbers down without chemicals and I'm going to try a mixture of water and molasses in tubs hung from the trees to try and catch the males, or at least find out how bad my problem is. Just wondering what kind of methods people use?
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
Agrovista market a product called RAK 3+4 for codling. Basically you hang loads of capsules of codling pheromones in your trees and it confuses the males so much they can't find the females to mate. I don't know if it is classed as organic but you are not putting chemicals onto your orchard.

I collected some Discovery scion less than an hour ago. :)
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
Agrovista market a product called RAK 3+4 for codling. Basically you hang loads of capsules of codling pheromones in your trees and it confuses the males so much they can't find the females to mate. I don't know if it is classed as organic but you are not putting chemicals onto your orchard.

I collected some Discovery scion less than an hour ago.

I had a quick look at RAK 3+4, looks good, will have a read later on. Thank you.
 

tb26

Member
Horticulture
I found a good article on the traps, I would have to speak to my local hort supplier about cost, but they suggest about 500 traps per/h. Seems excessive and too time consuming to me. The trees get sprayed with oil and soap over winter, which I’m hoping gets rid of the overwintering moths.
 

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