Saturday, 22 November 2008

Fruit Tree Pruning

I’ve had an excellent day at Hanbury Hall learning how to prune fruit trees. The course was run by Pershore College and covered everything from standard trees to espaliers and fans.
The course started with a bit of theory, in the polytunnel they used as a classroom, and then moved out into the orchard to prune the trees ourselves. They took a lot more off the trees than I thought they would, but in doing so showed us the shape we should be aiming for and how to manipulate the branches that are left. I’ll be pruning the trees in my garden tomorrow so long as it doesn’t rain! I’ve also got about 24 fruit trees on my parents farm that I planted four years ago to have a go at, so that should be good practice!
We were given so much information in just one day, I think I’ll book myself on the advanced pruning course in March to make it sink in better (and maybe the summer one as well).

Parsnips from another Planet

Pulled the first few of our parsnips earlier in the week and they look like something from another planet! I knew they’d fork as I planted them next to the potatoes, which was on heavily mucked land, but at the time it was the only space I had! Don’t think it should alter the taste though!
I think these are destined for a spiced parsnip soup on a cold night and maybe to go with the last of the turnips in a stew.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Rainy Weekend

What a wet week so far! Been soaked to the skin loads of times at work but never mind!
At the weekend Claire and I tried to pick some sloes when we went for a cold walk across the fields. Unfortunately there was none about at all; they’re related to damsons and plums and it’s been a bad year for those as well. The frost must have got the blossom back in the spring.
We didn’t manage to pick more than a handful so we decided not to bother and to strain some sloe gin that’s been sat waiting for about four years instead!
We strained it using a funnel and some filter paper which took a while but the resulting liquor tastes amazing!
I don’t think it will last long, its the perfect winter warmer after being in the cold all day.