Monday, 17 December 2018

Wassail bonfire

We have just had a successful couple of hours in the Orchard gathering wood for the Wassail bonfire.....the large pile is covered now so hopefully the wood will be dry enough to make a good blaze when we come to build the bonfire on Sunday 20 January 2019.  We also collected pine cones which we take home to dry thoroughly, and these make the base of the fire together with dry kindling and candle ends (+ a few other secret ingredients tucked in by our magical bonfire builders).
We were pleased to have some families helping. Also we had our two Duke of Edinburgh students giving us a hand many thanks to everyone who helped.
We look froward to seeing everyone at the WASSAIL.


Wednesday, 12 December 2018


Community Garden in Hurst Green

On 8 December we met at the new Community Garden in Hurst Green (behind the shops) to help planting the first apple trees in the area of ground which is going to be developed for all things EDIBLE. There is a very sturdy fence so these trees (all eaters) are going to be grown as cordons.......we will be able to watch the trees progress and learn how to manage pruning on cordons which is mostly done in the summer. 
The apples chosen include a graft of Herefordshire Russet which is one that we grow very successfully at the Community Orchard.

Friday, 2 November 2018


TOP: Theo, our Duke of Edinburgh volunteer, constructing the gate under Michael's supervision  BELOW LEFT:shows Thomas, Michael's grandson, pretty pleased with his work too., BELOW RHT: shows the finished gate in place

These pictures show the construction of our new barrier gate on to the A25.....the last rather smart wicker ones were sadly stolen.
This one is built to a new design by Michael Whyte and his two young assistants entirely out of recycled materials. The construction will allow it to be slid across but hopefully not easily to be lifted out. We need to be able to provide a barrier to the A25 when we have any groups of young children at the Orchard.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Working Party 3 October 2018

Today we had an excellent working party in the Orchard leaving it tidy and ready for the winter. Twelve keen orchardeers trimmed the hedges, weeded round the trees and pulled out a year's growth of bramble. There was a lot to do but the work was completed quickly with such a keen and speedy workforce.  The grass has taken a terrible bashing with the drought but it does seem to be improving now.
The crop has been somewhat disappointing this year but there still some good Herefordshire Russets which are still ripening on the trees and the last apples to be picked are the Newton Wonders.....these will improve in flavour well into November and should store until February.
Do watch out for the notice about the Wassail.....20 January 2019. We need to ensure a good crop for next year by frightening off the devils.

Friday, 28 September 2018


Over the weekend and again on Wednesday 26
September we spent time in the Community Orchard harvesting some of the apples and tasting them.  The sun shone on both occasions and the Orchard itself is looking very good now that the grass has started to grow again.
A lot of the apples are small this year (due to the drought and extreme heat) and sadly a higher percentage than usual have had disease (scab and brown rot) and many have had bird damage which means that many fruits will not store well.
However many are good. The Bramley Seedling have cropped well for the first time this year. The Newton Wonder , another culinary apple, also is cropping well....these will be picked later as they should be ripe mid October and hopefully will store
Of the eaters, Sunset and Herefordshire Russet proved to be very popular as did Fiesta and Ellison's Orange. Other apples were brought too for particular Jupiter (parents Cox's Orange Pippin and Starking) and Bel de Boscoop (Dutch D/P) were delicious.
We will continue to pick as the fruits ripen....some apples will go to St Peter's Church for the Harvest Festival, and a group of children from Limpsfield Primary School will come to pick and taste too. Some apples store well, some are frozen or used in cakes and puddings of course but this year we are trying dried apple and pear.....a dessicator makes this a very easy process and they should last well into the New Year
...some of the Committee

visitors from Hurst Green Garden Club and LODHS

Herefordshire Russet

Saturday, 15 September 2018


We badly need a good go at some of the hedges in the Orchard....and weeding round the tree sites to get everything straight for the winter. There is quite a lot to do....weeding on the area which is under the picnic table too!
After such a dry year grass growth has started up again .....but there are many bare patches. Perhaps we'll get some wild flowers fillings the gaps.....
Anyway.....usual plan.....EARLY start at 9.30am on Wednesday 3 October till 11am then coffee/apple cake (if you are lucky!) and if there's more to do we will continue after that. Please bring your own tools.....
EXTRA JOBS.....please have a look at this list and see if you can help.....
  • Rebuilding compost heap which is sadly collapsing....we might need some more pallets....the ones in use are rotting badly. The compost can be put all round the hedges
  • Rebuilding wood pile which is designed to be a home for stag beetle larvae which take up to 5 years to develop and hatch
  • Moving logs along the path into the area which is a fairy ring (logs) for children......there are some already to be moved! AND we now have a wheel barrow.
  • Checking the tree guard supports.....some need replacing for sure
After the work party we'll need a bonfire too.....on another date probably
Looking forward to seeing LOTS of you there!
Helen and the Orchard TEAM