Even though it’s been a tough year, the Field has had a very successful one. We’ve all had more time to get outside, to walk and breath in the fresh air. The field has been a great place to head for, to get out and about and to do something useful and fulfilling. So since last March with bit of social distancing and diary organisation members and visitors have spent more time, preparing the ground in Winter, planting in spring, weeding and tending in the summer and Harvesting in the Autumn.
The old apples tree were pruned back, as was the young avenue, which helped to produce a healthy crop, though we we’re careful remove most of the apples so improve growth. The Apple trees are my main area of interest. Unfortunately, out of the 30 trees we planted, one tree did not make it. I’m really not sure why ? But after reluctantly uprooting this tree I was left with a small area in which to plant whatever I fancied. It was too late in the season to plant another tree, so I decided to sow some wild flowers and make a small log pile, to encourage more bees and bugs into the Orchard. This seemed a sensible and practical thing to do as some of the trees had suffered from Aphids the previous year. I figured a more diverse orchard would encourage predators such as Bees, Ladybirds and other bugs to hopefully help naturally clear the Aphids away. With Phil I also made Bee Hotels which we dotted around the Field. The Wild Flowers lasted well into the Autumn and the Bee Hotels are already becoming occupied, putting in place a healthy eco culture which should benefit the Field now and into the future. The Harvest is still being enjoyed, Sprouts, Kale, beetroot and herbs are still being collected as well as a sheds worth of onions.
The Apples from the larger Trees were pressed at the end of September a mixture of Discoveries and Katy Apples which tasted fresh and sweet. The Bramley’s have been used widely in pies and crumples and also blended into my Cider to add some acidity and sharpness to the Yarlington Mills and Dabinetts that I collected from the Orchard day near Keynsham, and a small amount of Lambrooks, that Thatchers kindly let me have (from couple of old inaccessible trees that are no longer picked from). Of course we’ve had no local events this year to sell our apple juice from, but that leaves more for members to enjoy and a steady supply of empty bottles are constanltly being returned for recycling. The Cider has more or less fermented out, though one of the barrel’s seems to have stuck around 1010 SG, so I may need to give that a stir to get it going again, or perhaps bottle it (crown caps for safety) and see how it developed. So far it all tastes fresh clean and rather pleasant so here’s to enjoying the cider this summer.
So, I’m currently pruning while dodging the rain storms and mud, keeping a keen eye on the cider while the other ‘Fieldies’ are clearing and preparing ground for planting. Unsurprisingly we all seem to have time on our hands, so I get the feeling that it’s going to be another great summer in ‘The Field’.
Here are some photos of the past year.