The weather was so cold and wet for the Children’s Orchard Work day that we had planned for the 9th of March that we decided to cancel it at the last minute.
However, it was impossible to get the word out to everyone at such short notice and we are indebted, nay, in awe, of Ben Dell and his hardy Royal Botanic Garden volunteers. They opted to press on and, with the help of four local Leithers, they managed to prune all 100 fruit trees at the Children’s Orchard despite the wintry weather.
Here’s a quick report from Ben Dell, who, now that he’s thawed out a bit, said:
“Volunteers from Leith and The Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh braved a cold, wild and windy day on Saturday 9th March to carry out pruning on the fruit trees in Leith Links Children’s Orchard.
“During the course of day 100 apple, pear, plum, and cherry trees were pruned. Pruning in the early stages of a trees life is essential to ensure a good framework of branches that will bare a heavy crop of fruit for years to come.
“Leith residents were assisted by trained volunteers from The Botanic Gardens Edible Gardening Project. The project helps people to grow their own vegetables and fruit by offering advice on how to get started.”
He added: “Most of the trees are looking good, there are some that have been damaged (especially near the new path) and some that are showing signs of stress, particularly the pears in the north-west corner.
“I do not predict a heavy harvest this year as I did not observe a lot of fruit buds. However the branch framework is developing nicely to produce good crops probably from 2014 onwards.”
We’re also grateful to the City of Edinburgh Council who have recently cut the grass inside the orchard.
There remains the small matter of mulching all the trees in the orchard. Whilst we will be announcing the date of a new “Mulchathon” work day date soon right here on this blog, the mulch has already been delivered.
So if you fancy getting stuck in and taking a bucket down to the orchard and spreading some mulch around the base of the trees in the interim then feel free to get stuck in. If you’re not sure what to do, here’s a video which explains how to do it.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, Edible Gardening project receives support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.