November in the Orchard
It rained and it rained over winter. October was the wettest October month since the orchard was planted. That meant we were unable to do any pruning this month due to the fact we could not get on the land. This should be good for the trees as they love wet winters and a dry summer to produce the best months.
Our beekeeper came on the farm at the end on or October and the bees will arrive in two weeks time. For the first three to four weeks they will collect mix of pollen and we will sell that as Chestnut Orchard honey. At the end of this period the bee hives will be robbed and we will then collect pure Chestnut Honey which is our premium honey.
During the last few weeks the trees have been very confused – is it winter or spring? This means while the oak trees have put on considerable new growth the chestnuts have stayed tight budded and are only now thinking about coming into leaf.
November is always a busy month in the orchard as new growth will appear rapidly and the bees will be busy. We need to remove young suckers on the tree trunks and hope the Wiltshire sheep, our lawnmowers, can cope with keeping the grass down.
Plus, we open our first shop in Busselton and Origin’s market, launch Chestnut Chocolate and Chestnut Liquor and attend the Tourism Award finals.
By John Stanley