Friday, 20 May 2011

WAITATI OPEN ORCHARDS (column)

Photo caption: Keita Ross, 1-year-old fruit tree mulcher. Photo by Jason Ross.

WAITATI OPEN ORCHARDS

By Jason Ross

We are getting excited about winter gardening. We had a good meeting
last month, with great discussion about what fruit trees we would like
to see growing in the streets near us and which would suit the four
locations that we have to plant this winter. Planting will be in July.

Before planting more trees though, on 11 June at 10am we are going
around last years' plantings and giving them some love and attention.
They will be re-fertilised, mulched, pruned and re-tied to their
stakes. Some keen folk are oiling their secateurs already! So please
join us, there will be hot drinks and cake along the way at one of our
great WOO patches. Meet at the Orokonui Rd patch, that's down Orokonui
Rd, past the footbridge and on the left. Bring secateurs, gloves,
mulch, compost, newspaper, warm clothes and companion plants for the
trees.

A couple of funding applications have gone in, so fingers crossed that
we can keep running our popular workshops.


In your home garden

Pruning can commence in June for apples and pears, black currants and
gooseberries (stick berry cuttings in the ground to produce new
plants) although I prefer to leave it till the spring side of winter
if possible. Always choose a dry period to avoid the risk of
silverleaf disease. Winter pruning encourages strong growth the
following summer, so is essential for newly planted and establishing
trees. As a rule of thumb reduce the new growth at the ends of
branches that you wish to encourage by a half. Other unwanted growth
crowding the tree is reduced to 1-2cm fruit spurs or cut out if its
too crowded. It is a good time to order fruit trees and pre-dig
planting holes, incorporating lime (for clay soils) and other minerals
if needed along with well rotted compost.

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.com to join our mailing list or phone Jason
Ross, 4822625.


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