September in the Orchard
Winter has officially finished and the first month of spring has arrived.
This year has been the wettest winter since we purchased Chestnut Brae and the farm is still exceptionally wet. This has meant that it has been difficult to get into the orchard and the pruning and mulching has been delayed as we did not want to take the tractor on the wetland and compact the soil or get the tractor bogged.
Our Wiltshire sheep seem to enjoyed the winter as the flock has almost doubled this year. They act as our lawnmowers and have done an excellent job of keeping the grass down.
This has also been our first year of having baby pigs, two litters. One challenge is that having pigs on heat has attracted the feral pigs. This is the first time we have had a feral pig problem and they have done a lot of damage churning the soil up where we did not want it churned up.
Our first chestnut tree has started to come into leaf and September is the month where the whole orchard bursts into activity. One of the best times to be in a chestnut orchard as you see the place come back to life after a long, wet winter.
By John Stanley