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Apples and Plums at the Apricot centre .... (Not to be confused with 'Oranges and Lemons')

posted 9 Jun 2014, 12:32 by Marina - Mark O'Connell
We have 4 acres of fruit in total. Outside the Apricot centre and as you might imagine there is an apricot tree but the rest of the orchard is full of lots of other fruit.

The Orchard starts a few yards away from the training room, and as you go through the gate you walk through a procession of trees ordered and structured according to permaculture principles. Slightly chaotic to  the untrained eye but all beautifully performing as they should 15 years after planting.

There are 7 “pockets” of fruit arranged into Harvest zones, so that we start picking the top fruit in the 1st section in July and end up at the top section in October.

The fruit is planted in polycultures  to reduce the incidence of pest and diseases and varieties are chosen to maximise the resistance to disease. We encourage functional diversity into the orchard, cow parley, fennel, to attract hoover flies, nettles home to lady birds, hedges to house birds, and allowing longer grasses and grass heads to feed the birds who yes do eat a bit of fruit but seem mainly to mop up the aphids and caterpillars for us. Clover on the floor of the orchard feeds the trees with nitrogen.

We are registered organic, we apply the Biodynamic preparations regularly, and we are registered as a LAND site demonstrating permaculture principles. Look us up on www.apricotcentre.co.uk 

The varieties that we grow are;

Early august section;

Jubilee and Belle Plum

Late august section;

Oolins gage, Cambridge gage

Discovery and Scrumptious apple

September section;

Saturn  and Red windsor apple

Laxton cropper plum

Conference pear

Merryweather damson

October section;

Monarch , Winter gem and Red Falstaff and Egremont russet apples

Marjories seedling plum

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