Task Reports

Please contact the office if you are interested in volunteering and we will discuss details.

Residential - Wharfedale - walling. Advance Booking Only

Friday 15th June, 2018
Buckden, Upper Wharfedale

Dry Stone Walling weekend. No experience necessary. 

We have the accommodation booked from Friday to Monday. Please book early to avoid dissapointment. Self catering. Shared bunk rooms. 

We want to try a longer stay than previously to allow more scope for the walling. If you are interested, but cannot stay until Monday, talk to us about options. There is also a chance we could go on Thursday eve, but will only know this at the time. what do you think? 

The cost is likely to be about £50

Bowling Park Orchard

Friday 8th June, 2018
in allotments on Bowling Park Drive

Culture Fusion and UNR

Friday 1st June, 2018
Thornton Road and Laisteridge Lane

We started the day doing some essential tasks at Culture Fusion. The greenhouses on the meadow had had to be moved for some scaffolding, so these were reassembled and some general gardening done. Meanwhile, in the workshop, a few of us set about separating the bundles of tongue and groove flooring planks which had been given to us as off cuts but had been securely nailed together. No mean feat, but we achieved our goal, measured them and they will just about add up to  make a rather posh floor for the apple store!

After lunch we went to the Urban Nature Reserve to cut pathways and clear litter, including stuff that had been chucked in the pond. It’s looking good. Let’s hope the anti-social behaviour is a thing of the past. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 25th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

Two contrasting days, in both tasks and weather. On Thursday, whilst Dennis worked away at the foundations the rest of us had a visit to the timber yard to talk to Richard Kirby of Outdoor Classrooms about our design. It was great to look around the workshop and see the sort of buildings that Richard is making. His experience led him to suggest a different approach than the one we had planned so instead of coming away with timber, we left the yard with food for thought and some more homework to do. Back at the orchard it was scorching, and just enough time for a bit of watering and weeding. 

No need for watering on Friday. It rained most of the day and we all got thoroughly soaked and covered in mud. We installed two large benches which involved getting right down into a muddy hole. We also planted a range of plants to add nectar into the grasses. These included Brunnera, comfrey, chervil, loveage, foxgloves and mahonia. We replanted the herb bed as well, and in general did well to persist through to the end of the afternoon. 

 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 24th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
See Friday's report for an update

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 18th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

We are making steady progress with a range of tasks. It might not have looked like we made much progress on the ground on Thursday, but we did some essential decision making about the size and positioning of the shed. We even called on Pythagoras for some to help to ensure are walls are perpendicular.  

On Friday Dennis laid the first stones for the foundation layer, once stone was collected from around the orchard. The shed is taking shape! However, it’s been a long cold winter and the cows stayed in the barns for longer than normal, hence they needed more straw. In fact they (and I guess other animals) needed it all. There is no straw to be had in England. So a key ingredient of the shed is eluding us but we want to carry on with this method of construction having chosen it as the best solution (insulation, fire proof, rodent proof, temporary if necessary). 

Other tasks have included installation of a bench (almost), cutting under the trees and feeding with compost moved from the shed area. 

We had a visit from Postcode Local Trust on Thursday. It was great to be able to show them the Orchard and the work that we are carrying out with Operation Orchard, as a result of the funding they have awarded. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Thursday 17th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive
Please see Friday's report for an update on progress.

Blossom Day; Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 11th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

What a change in a few short days. Never have we had a display of blossom like this for Blossom Day; most of the trees were in full flower. Belle de Boskoop was a blousy white and ladened with flowers, Winston is still emerging and slightly pink (mostly the blossom seems very pale this year). Dog’s Snout is looking attractive, and this is really the time to admire the quince which no doubt will deteriorate as the summer develops (is it suffering from quince blight?). It looks like the Bramley may be having a restful year with a smallish crop, and Blenheim Orange and Pitmaston Pineapple seem to have fallen into a biennial fruiting habit, with this being their off year. 

We could hardly tell the mower was in use last week, so we gave the paths a further mow, and carried on with barking other paths and seating areas. But today was really about enjoying the space, eating apple and rhubarb cakes and apple and parsnip soup,  doing a bit of drawing/investigation. 

 
 

Bowling Park Community Orchard

Friday 4th May, 2018
in the allotments on Bowling Pk Drive

This was the start of the next phase of work at the orchard, an intense period that should see a conclusion to infrastructure improvements of Operation Orchard. 

Spring seems to be almost here; there was even a little bit of blossom open on Beauty of Bath. We did our first mow of the season, cutting paths through the grass areas. On the whole we leave most of the grass to grow long and create habitat for the essential predators which will keep the trees healthy and productive. The paths, as well as leading us in and around the trees, also create some height diversity in the sward so the habitat is suitable for a greater number of invertebrates. 
The other tasks were focussed on clearing and levelling the area for the shed, and preparing the area around the new benches ready to lay weed suppressant and a bark covering. To be continued…
 

Visit to a local (Keighley) garden to meet the growers at ‘Those Plant People’

Friday 27th April, 2018

As part of operation Orchard, our project funded by the players of the Postcode local trust, we are visiting places that can help us increase our knowledge about environmentally sensitive gardening; what to plant. Andrew and Pippa have a garden in Steeton which includes flower meadows, veg area, forest garden and orchard. Both professional gardeners with RHS training, they have spent many years working out what they feel is the best way to garden sympathetically and effectively and productively. Andrew showed us their flower meadows which include plants, both native and ornamental, to attract bees. We saw how encouraging a balanced ecology created a successful fruit garden.  The fruit bushes are less prone to mildew if their roots don’t dry out – a consequence of bare soil – so they allow the grass and other vegetation to grow below the bushes. The same with the fruit trees; they are planting guilds amongst the grass in the understory below the trees. These plants include early flowering comfrey (great for pollinating insects) and large leave Trachestemon which help to mulch more invasive plants. 

We had started our visit under shelter, enjoying some lovely cake, whilst Andrew explained how they preserve their crop by dehydrating and juicing. We tasting some delicious dried fruits, and were shown some of the pumpkins that that they have bred – developing taste but also storage properties. 

The rain did not dampen our mood; this was an inspiring visit with plenty of information and ideas to take away and consider at the orchard. 

P.S. We returned a few weeks later to buy some plants which we will plant under and around the trees. Brunera, Symphytum Hidcote Blue (the early flowering comfrey), Trachestemon, Chaenophyllum roseum (a pink flowering chervil) and Primula japonica (a candelabra type primrose, quite fancy!)