North Cumbria Orchard Group

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Fruit, sunshine and bees at Houghton

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Fruit, sunshine and bees at Houghton

Postby MarkEvens » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:20 am

On 17th July 2014 we visited Eva's Organics orchard at Gosling Sike, Houghton. After some excellent tea, scones and cakes provided by Susan Aglionby, We were given a tour of the orchard and an opportunity to discuss organic fruit growing with Eva's Organics owner Mike Simpson.
The orchard has been laid out for efficient management and is radically different from traditional apple orchards. There are over six hundred trees in total. They include eight varieties of dessert apples as well as pears, plums and cherries. It was planted during the winter of 2010/11 with all the trees grafted onto to modern dwarfing rootstocks. This means that the trees are planted much closer together than is possible with standard fruit trees. It also means that the trees come to full production much sooner than traditional types.
All the apples are grafted onto Golden Delicious interstem, which is alleged to reduce canker. This seemed to be effective, but it was clear that some varieties were faring better than others and there was much stimulating discussion on what other varieties might be most suitable.
Many thanks to Susan and to Mike for their hospitality.
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