Next Sunday will be the anual Wassail at our community orchard to ensure a good harvest! Because the trees are probably a rootstock too small for the relatively infertile ground, last year was the the first significant harvest they have produced and we are wondering about earthing them up to allow roots to form from the scion wood.
Back to the event however, we will be singing to the trees and hanging toast or bread soaked in mulled apple juice/cider in the trees. This offering to the trees doubtless attracts birds who will help to address the lack of fertility in the soil.wassail poster 2016
The orchard also contains an area of bird cherry which has several bird boxes, many of which attracted nesting birds last year and dead wood along with a pile of grass from mowing the wildflower meadow. In previous summers we have found empty egg casings from grass snakes in this! Other life includes an observation bee hive which is going to be changed this year in order to allow a colony large enough to survive the winter to build wild comb in it rather than the housing containing an observation hive within it.
This year plans for the orchard include increasing the amount of herbs in some raised beds and some further thinning of the bird cherry along with some planting to fill in some gaps in the hedge.
With luck we will also have nesting swifts in the tower we put up for them as opposed to just the virtual ones that were heard from a loudspeaker powered by a small solar panel last year!
Read more about the orchard and Wassail traditions here.
And don’t forget that two weeks later there is Seedy Sunday with a chance to swap seeds, buy hand cream made from organic olive oil and essential oils and wax from bees kept on Trumpington Allotments and get discounts on aromatherapy massage treatments and much more.