“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”*
Yesterday afternoon as I sprayed our fruit trees with a winter wash, as natural insect control, I looked at the forlorn bare branches and wondered what this season would hold for them. We have apples, pears, peaches and plums, figs, grapes, almonds, berries and currants; all capable of producing fantastic harvests if the weather is for them and the pests, including the naughty squirrels, are kind.
Since we’ve been producing our own food, I have been so much more aware of the weather and can look back and explain the fortunes of our harvests by the sun, rain and wind that they were blessed with.
2013 was the late summer, it didn’t really start until July, and many apple farmers experienced a famine due to the cold wet spring that significantly reduced the pollination rates. Our harvest was quite good that year as the bees only had a few metres to fly to reach our heritage trees and risked the raindrops for the rewards of nectar and pollen.
2014 was the warmest year on record with our bees swarming in April as though it were June, we had loads of apples but unfortunately they ripened and fell whilst we were on holiday in August leaving us with none for Cider Sunday in September. You know, I do think they should bring National Apple Day forward from 21st October, especially in our warmer cities!
Coming up at the Corner
If you’d like to visit us here in London, we have courses running right throughout the year with three places left on Saturday 28th February for Families, Feathers and Fun. March then welcomes the builders to create a fantastic new kitchen that will facilitate a wide range of sessions exploring artisan cooking skills and we are back outside with the chickens in April, kindly promoted by Country Living Magazine.
- Sara visited the bees at Kew Gardens, checking that they had enough food stores and planning the spring shook swarm for next month
- Rebecca, the Bee Keeper from Chiswick House came to visit along with Kitchen Gardener William
- We enjoyed a family walk at the National Trust Woodlands at Cliveden, we were hunting for some mistletoe to propagate, but sadly it was all out of reach
Jobs for this week:
- Prepare the full schedule for our building works; our new food courses will be starting as soon as it’s finished
- Plan some Half Term fun for our family, hopefully checking out some other kitchen gardens!
- Make up some more brood frames for our honey bees so that we can change them next month as a part of a swarm and disease management programme
Join us on the Journey!