The Orchard in December

This is one of the most challenging and exciting months in the orchard.

The grass grows so rapidly the sheep cannot keep up, in fact they get lost in the undergrowth. The tree growth is at its most vigorous and the flowers are opening, hence the bees are fully loaded with pollen.

This year looks like being a great year for chestnut honey, which is recognised as one of the best honeys in the world. It is a darker honey with an interesting variations on taste in the mouth – it reminds me of a wine and whisky. Summer has truly arrived

Summer may be here, but this is not a month to relax and smell the flowers. The orchard needs to be mulched and get ready for harvest, we need to get on top of managing the grass. The orchard needs mulching to keep the grass down as we need a bowling green style paddock to collect the nuts harvested. Then we need to trim around each chestnut tree too remove the suckers from around the trunks, plus feed the trees. There are never enough hours in December for a chestnut farmer .

The key is to get on top of the orchard in December, so that you can enjoy the summer weather in January and February before the next big harvest season commences.

By John Stanley

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