Thursday, 21 October 2010

Waitati Open Orchards

By Jason Ross

Waitati Open Orchards is a group of keen folk on a mission to plant fruit
trees in public spaces around Waitati for all to enjoy. Email
waitatiopenorchard@gmail to join our mailing list.

November is a good time for fruit tree planters to enjoy watching their
trees grow, and get on with other things like vegetable planting for winter
crops!

But there are a few things to be doing in your orchard. Now is a good time
to thin the clusters of fruit that have set on your trees down to one or two
fruits each. How many to leave depends on a few factors. For young trees
(until they have a good strong trunk and branches) pinch off all their
fruit so they concentrate on growing vigorously. On established trees
thinning fruit improves the size, colour and quality of your fruit. It can
help reduce pest and diseases such as caterpillar damage and black spot.
Thin the fruit to an extent that when mature the branch can handle the
weight and each fruit has enough space to grow to prize-winning
proportions.

Summer pruning to encourage fruiting and discourage vigorous growth on
established trees and shrubs is done in January, but we can preempt this
and lessen our work by pinching off with fingernails or pruning shoots
we can see are of no use. These are shoots going inwards or crossing
and ruining the form of the tree, or vigorous shoots coming from branches
where there is no room for more branches and where we want fruit spurs. In
both cases pinch or prune back leaving a 2cm stub to form a fruit spur (if
there is room), otherwise take it right out. On gooseberries, pinching or
pruning now will save a bush becoming a tangle and branches drooping to the
ground, taking root and forming an impenetrable thicket (to humans, birds
will still get the fruit!).

Mulch under growing strawberry fruits to keep them off the ground with old
pine needles or straw (not hay).

In October we planted a few more trees and checked over our winter
plantings: mulch, ties, pinched-off flowers, and we had a cracker picnic at
our favourite patch. In November we are working on our logo, tree labels and
design and construction of an improved juice extractor for use at the WEGgie
autumn harvest festivals. Has anyone ideas / experience for either a
hydraulic press or a centrifuge?

Jason Ross, 4822625. Waitatiopenorchard@gmail.com

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