The Chestnut Orchard in July

Chestnuts need around 600mm a year of water, mainly in the winter and cool weather when they are dormant. They got both this year. We have had an exceptionally wet and cold June which is ideal chestnut winter weather.

The winter storms have blown in almost every week so far. It does mean we have numerous bonfires around the farm that are not getting burned because the weather is too wet.

This time of year is the time when the trees get a natural mulch from the fallen leaves and burrs. Our time is spent clearing up branches that have fallen in the storms and the sheep are busy doing what they are supposed to do, keeping the grass down. The sheep are Wiltshire sheep and most are heavily pregnant and will start dropping their lambs in the not too distant future. Most lambs are born in stormy weather .One farmer told us that this is because the sheep are aware that the foxes will not be around in a storm. We are not sure if this is true or not, but it helps make sure the births are more successful, even if the new young lambs are wondering what they have arrived into.

The sweet chestnut trees are now in full dormancy and our next stage is to build the organic matter in the silo in readiness for them to come into leaf in spring.

Compared to other months there is less work to do in the orchard, even though we are busy with processing chestnuts in the shed

By John Stanley

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