Apples, potatoes and Easter eggs!

My green fingers have finally had a chance to flex. As April began to warm up, we were ready and waiting to begin our spring planting.

Our early potatoes were chitting nicely and Easter Sunday gave a reasonably warm and sunny day, so we set of for a beautiful morning at the allotment.

We dug a shallow trench along our planting line and I spread out our two varieties, eagerly awaiting the coming months of growth. Dave had picked up some leaf mulch from his cousins home where he’d been doing garden maintenance all year, so we had a great ‘bed’ for our spuds.

Our first ever planting of potatoes

Our first ever planting of potatoes

Our first row of potatoes under leaf mulch and fleece, staying safe from the cold April

Our first row of potatoes under leaf mulch and fleece, staying safe from the cold April

While I was planting our little potatoes, Dave was beginning his apple project. Because we are not allowed fruit trees on the allotment, Dave had the great idea of planting step-over apples, so that they would only grow a couple of feet high. We decided the edge of the beds was the best place as we would be utilising unused space, and not creating shade for the rest of the plot.  Because Dave is a handy fencer, he built the step-overs from coppiced Sweet chestnut he had cut over the winter.

We went for three apple trees of different varieties, spacing them along the 12m length of our plot.

So Dave made three chestnut fences, each of around 3m in length. These would be spaced along the beds, with a 1.5m gap between each panel so that we can access the beds.

He also made 6 posts that would hold each rail at around 2 feet, for the apples to grow along.

All the fencing was cut to size in the woods where he coppiced them, and then brought up to the allotment where it was put together.

After digging some holes, a little manouvering and some tampering and Dave had created 3 beautiful and strong step-overs ready for our apple trees.

Dave tapping in the soil on the first step-over

Dave tapping in the soil on the first step-over

Putting together the step-over

The apple trees went in next, in the middle of each panel. Each hole was dug with enough room for the roots and to also have 2 inches of compost underneath. Because we bought apples grafted on to an M27 root stock, a very dwarfing rootstock, we had to make sure the graft was out of the soil,so that it doesn’t rot.

Apple tree hole

Apple tree with compost in the holePlanted apple tree, held into place on the step-over

After our beautiful morning of planting potatoes and apples we were lucky enough to go home to an exciting Easter egg hunt in the woods by our house. It was Dave’s first ever egg hunt which made it even more fun and the yummy chocolate was trailed around the coppice he has been cutting all winter. A lovely end to our day of adventure.

“Fingers now scented with sage and rosemary, a kneeling gardener is lost in savory memories.”  ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com

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