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Fruit and Nut Village Stirchley – December Bulletin

Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley

Bulletin – December 2018

News

We really kicked the project and the winter work season off well on 17th November. With over 70 people attending and work happening across several different sites at Hazelwell Park the day was busy and productive. We need to thank our caterers, The Real Junk Food Project, for coping so well with the high turnout – we’d originally told them that we expected 25 people and there were nearly three times as many! During the day we developed new growing areas in “The Kingdom Forest Garden” and mulched existing ones. There were some new plants introduced to the site and some path creation work. The nut grove planting began and we even managed to prepare some planting sites to extend “The Plymouth Run” which had had a great crop of plums earlier this year.

We were awarded £500 by Love Brum at the end of November. Thank you to all those who watched our promotional video, commented and voted for us. We plan to use this money to maintain the health of trees during the winter to set them up for a fruitful harvest in 2019 and beyond.

Billy Auger at Augernik Farm supported our work by supplying us with some heritage trees from his collection out in Shropshire. These were collected in early December and some are now already planted. The remainder will be planted over the coming months or grown-on for future use across the area in coming winters. We are very grateful to Billy for his support.

Fruit trees are often supplied “bare-rooted” when they are dormant and we are now part-way through the delivery of this year’s trees for “The Village”. We are particularly excited about the coming arrival of a local apple variety, thought to originate within the conurbation or possibly within Birmingham!

On 12th December we worked alongside The Friends of Stirchley Park and others to set up “The New Old Orchard”. A strange name?! Maybe not – the trees are young and newly-planted but the varieties selected are very old…in some cases perhaps 1000 years or more! Now, that’s heritage!

We’re planting a Christmas Tree! Well, it’s an apple tree, but we will be doing it on Christmas day and it’s a “Christmas” variety. We’d love you to join us on the day for half an hour.

 

 

Get Involved

We can use regular or occasional volunteers for all sorts of winter tasks. When trees are delivered bare-rooted we have to “heel” these in – it is a simple task but it takes time and care. Such jobs as these are great to fill a few hours and to get out on a winter day.

Advertised below are the events we will be running over the next month or so. Don’t forget to write them into your diary or calendar!

If you don’t want to come to an event before having met us then do feel free to message us on Facebook, on Twitter or by email or text. If you like we can speak on the phone before an event and give you more information about the day. The Wassail will be a light-hearted event offering a great chance to meet up with like-minded local people and enjoy a winter afternoon together. Details are below.

 

 

Partner Profile: Augernik Farm

Augernik Farm is a small family farm growing soft fruits, top fruits and nuts organically. The farm is run by Billy Auger and sells produce as pick-your-own, ready picked and also at farmers’ markets across the Midlands.

Billy has been a familiar face at Moseley Farmers’ Markets for years. He has a great deal of experience in growing heritage varieties of a wide-range of fruits and nuts. We are very proud that he is supporting our work at “Fruit & Nut Village”.

 

 

Fruit Corner: Christmas Pearmain

This Victorian apple is very seldom eaten now. Despite it’s sweet, juicy and crisp flavour it has been largely forgotten except by enthusiasts. The fruits are fairly small but the trees do crop well to make up for this. Now is a great time to celebrate the tree though, since it was first listed in 1893 and it has just celebrated its 125th year! A claim that no person can make.

At this time of year the tree’s fruit are best eaten from storage, ripening very late in the year. This must surely be why the apple was named after this season.

Let’s celebrate the Christmas Pearmain this Christmas!

Incidentally, the Christmas Pearmain is not the only apple named after this time of year.

Caring For YOUR Orchard

If you aren’t busy preparing for Christmas, or making the most of this season to have a rest, then now is a good time to prune apple and pear trees. If you haven’t learned how to do this from a book, or on a training course, or from an experienced, knowledgeable orchardist, then leave the secateurs to one side and take some time to learn the basics.

Sticking to some basic rules with fruit tree pruning will prevent blunders and disease build up in the tree.

Many people prune fruit trees to “tidy them up” or to give them a “haircut”. These approaches do not give good results. Apples and pears benefit from their framework being developed and from the remaining wood being thinned to allow good air-flow. We can help you to develop these skills on one of our pruning days. Please do join us!

 

 

Upcoming Events

23rd December 2018 – Hazelwell Park Work Day

A general care day for the trees and bushes in the park

10am – 1pm – Hazelwell Park

25th December 2018 (Christmas Day!) – Christmas Tree Planting

We are planting a heritage tree on Christmas Day with mulled cider and mince pies!

11am – 11.30am – Ten Acres – Near River Brook Drive next to the River Rea cycle path

13th January 2019 – Wassail

A fun, afternoon/evening meet-up for any age. Bring whistles, shakers, pans to hit, any noise makers. We will process along part of the River Rea cycle way between “The Lost Orchard” and the Hazelwell Park Forest Garden. Afterwards we will wind down in the local pub with mulled cider

4.30pm – 6pm – meet on Dads Lane between the chip shop and the River Rea cycle path

19th January 2019 – Winter Pruning Day

It may be cold, wet and dreary in January, but the trees NEED us. We will be carrying out winter pruning on apple and pear trees in the area. Tools provided and no skills needed – you will be taught how to prune.

10am – 3pm – Hazelwell Park

23rd January 2019 – Trained Fruit Post Erection

Join us to dig out the holes and erect the posts for a new trained cordon fruit area. We will plant the trees here on a later occasion. Please BOOK on for this by emailing or texting us. Tools provided.

10am – 3pm – Umberslade Nurseries, Umberslade Road

26th January – Mixed Orchard Planting Day

Please join us to plant this significant local orchard close to the River Rea path. Tools provided.

10am – 3pm – Ten Acres – Near River Brook Drive next to the River Rea cycle path

28th January 2019 – Winter Pruning Day

It may be cold, wet and dreary in January, but the trees NEED us. We will be carrying out winter pruning on apple and pear trees in the area. Tools provided and no skills needed – you will be taught how to prune.

10am – 3pm – Site To Be Confirmed (possibly Hazelwell Park)

3rd February 2019 – Forest Garden Planting Day

A brand new Forest Garden for the area! – why not get involved in planting it? Tools and food provided.

10am – 3pm – Pebble Mill Playing Fields, between Kitchener Road and First Avenue

 

 

Fruit & Nut Village Stirchley is supported by the National Lottery through the

Heritage Lottery Fund

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