Getting the Fruit In

As we sit here drinking our Rhubarb Schnapps, we are excited that our new rhubarb and old rhubarb are coming through.Yet, like all of us, the weather has been against us; winds, rain and cold that gets into your bones with the damp. We have had fifteen fruit trees heeled in one of the beds and yesterday we managed to get out into the garden and start digging.

How boundaries can be fruitful

The desire to get fruit in is part of our Wartime Garden ethos, we want to show how you can grow fruit in a small space in the coming months. Yes, we have an orchard but it is always good to look to your boundaries and see the potential to get fruit in. More fruit means more produce, more to barter and more to preserve. Up in the orchard though there was some work to do among the growing daffodils, the Damson Merryweather that went brown last spring and remained bare all summer was dug out and put in a pot. We will see if it comes back but we are doubtful. We dug over the soil added compost and planted a hardy pear, Hessle. Then the big jobs had to start.

Planting a Hessle Pear tree

Down in the lower garden we planted a quince Portugal and started to dig post holes, two feet deep. The lower garden has been largely used as a dumping ground for rubble and this year we want to bring it into use by using a no dig method. We know, shock horror that we are not digging in a Dig for Victory garden but our backs can't take it anymore and there is a convincing body of evidence for no digging and last year we wanted to compare these methods but ran out of time, this year we are doing it. The soil is very poor as you get into the lower part of the hill, so adding loads of mulch will help it and the bacteria in the soil. The lack of soil depth is testified by the fact that we can't use a post hole digger here as we hit bedrock quickly. Our weapons of choice for creating post holes are a spade, a crowbar and a trowel. Each hole takes around half an hour to dig and on the main represents a Time Team dig, slowly scraping away the past to get to some sort of end.
Digging post holes for cordons.

We have eight posts waiting, four holes dug and another four to go in. The posts are eight foot long and will carry cordoned apples and pears on the east boundary and cherries on the west boundary. Showing how even spaces on the edges of the garden can create a harvest. We will be producing our cropping plan soon for you all to see what we are sowing, this will be part of our Pig For Victory series.

Posts for cordons

Sadly though we spoke too soon and the Spring Equinox has been a wash out, we woke to glorious skies that quickly plummeted to grey and rain. The holes are now puddles and any chance of getting the final four done will be a few days away as the weather is set to get colder over the next few days. All we need to do now is track down the wire and find the money to pay for it.

You can view more on our #wartimegarden plans on twitter and through the following links:

Wartime Garden: Harvest Festival

Digging for Victory: The Guardian Blog