Thursday, 19 March 2015

Teeny Tiny Trees

When we started out on our allotment we planted three little 'columnar' fruit trees near the pond, in what was supposed to be our herb patch. They were a red apple, a green/yellow apple, and a pear. The green apple mysteriously disappeared, but the other two have done pretty well, despite the red apple taking on a rather dangerous lean in the last couple of years, and the whole herb bed getting swamped with couchgrass... The apples are great and we get a fair few, for a small tree. But we don't really like the pears on the pear tree and we'd rather have more apples, so this year we decided it was time to change things a bit.

First the pear tree had to go, and I gave it to another allotmenteer and friend from FoodSmiles, who planted it on her allotment just a hundred metres away! Next, we had a go at righting the red apple... We loosened the roots on the side it was leaning towards, pulled it back into a neeearly upright position and tied it to a strong stake, and then flooded the ground with water to try to resettle the roots, working the soil back into the loosened area and stamping it down hard. Time will tell how well we did...

We cleared the rest of the bed, digging out most of the lovage and horseradish, which had both got huge, as well as bucketsful of couchgrass roots. And we planted two more teeny tiny columnar apple trees (from J Parker's). It'll be a few years before they match the height of the original one, but they should be producing fruit by next year.

It's funny seeing this area virtually bare again, since it's one of the first areas we worked on when we got the plot eight years ago! I'm a little bit nervous about planting it back up with herbs since it didn't go too well last time... But we're hoping a few years more experience and knowledge - and the fact that the plot as a whole is much lower-maintenance now - will mean that we can keep on top of weeds this time and make sure it doesn't get swamped again.

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