April in the orchard

20 April 2014
Written by Kath Irvine | Images by Kath Irvine
Print Email

Autumn marks the beginning of dormant sprays. So clean your backpack sprayer out and get ready to copper if your stonefruit had bacterial infections (cankers, oozing sap, cracks in bark, yellowing leaves followed by premature leaf fall) or leaf curl. Do this at leaf fall. Two of my apples had black spot so I'll do a copper at leaf fall on them as well. I recommend using copper on a needs basis only.

The pantry looks glorious right now and it's my favourite pick-me-up to stand in there! Crates of apples and pears, quinces ready to paste, pickles, relishes, jams and jars of dried fruits, sacks of onions and garlic - I could go on, but this revelling in the stores is a distraction; we need to talk of storing your pip fruits...

Mid season and late apples are fab keepers, and are well worth the effort to store properly. Having your own supply of organically grown apples to draw on through the winter is a real luxury. Successful storage begins with careful picking. Pick by gently bending the fruit upwards. It'll come away easily and this way you keep the stalk without pulling off next years fruit spurs. Fruits with stalks keep well. Gently put the fruit in the basket.

Once all the fruit is picked you need to sort it into two piles - perfect ones (the keepers) and ones with bird pecks, no stalks, bruises etc which you need to use first. Line your crate or basket with newspaper and beginning with the perfect fruits, wrap each one in paper and put in your basket. Lay a sheet of newspaper on top of the first layer and carry on up to the top, adding the blemished fruit last. Store each variety separately. Keep your crate of beautifully wrapped fruit in a cool dark spot where no rats or mice can get it. (Is that vision of a stone cellar dancing in your head too?)

Boost your citrus as the new fruits are forming with a lovely seaweed spray and perhaps a dollop of seaweed beneath the mulch and they'll thank you with beautiful fruits! Keep up your watering - boy, oh boy is it dry. Young citrus and subtropicals need protection to get through winter. I've made little strawbales walls on the south side of my young trees. I'll bang a couple of stakes in front and tie on a frost cloth roof. Do tie your frost cloth securely to robust stakes, otherwise the wind will destroy your shelter and your tree will be tortured all winter with flapping cloth that rubs and breaks. Last year I used liquid frost cloth on the trees that were too big to cover and it worked incredibly well, so I'll use this again on my Tamarillos which are too big for shelters.

In the Vegie Patch    |     In the Orchard


Add comment

Security code

  • June in the Orchard
    19 June, 2014

    Such wonderful synchronicity, as the vegie patch slows down we need to spend some time with our fruit trees.

    Release the base of your trees (mine a...

  • April in the orchard
    20 April, 2014

    Autumn marks the beginning of dormant sprays. So clean your backpack sprayer out and get ready to copper if your stonefruit had bacterial infections (...

  • March in the Orchard
    20 March, 2014

    The orchard is bedraggled and dry. The greywater system is not enough to keep the fruit trees going through really dry periods, so one day we will hav...

  • November in the Orchard
    20 November, 2013

    November is time to plant your subtropicals and citrus. I’m putting more avocados in this month as our original has done so well, and we eat so many...

  • In the October Orchard
    19 October, 2013
    The plums are having babies.

    Tiny, wee new fruits, so precious! Keep an eye on how they develop. Thinning time will soon be upon us.


    • Are yo...
  • In the September Orchard
    19 September, 2013


    I can post you out 10 comfrey root cuttings for $9.50, including postage. If you live rurally add another $2.60. Email your order to me at kath@e...

  • August in the Orchard
    20 August, 2013

    The earlicheer are flowering beneath the fruit trees and the daffodils are pushing their way through - in another month the orchard will be pretty as ...

  • July in the Orchard
    19 July, 2013
    In the Orchard

    Planting fruit trees is a pleasure - it’s those visions of cellared apples, of bottled pears and fresh apricots that make it so. 

  • In the June Orchard
    20 June, 2013

    This means the big job of cutting grass which has been left wild since November. That lovely long sward of grass and wildflowers keeps the moisture ...

  • In the May Orchard
    19 May, 2013

    Citrus all need a layer of homemade compost, a top up of mulch and monthly liquid feeding while they are in production mode. Make sure they have some ...

  • In the April Orchard
    20 April, 2013

    Three apple trees left to pick – Montys Surprise (pictured), Mother, Tydemans Late and one pear - Winter Nellis. These late ones are the keepers, so m...

  • In the Orchard
    19 March, 2013
    The orchard is emptying out as the apples and pears get picked and stored...

    I’m enjoying taking the pressure off the trees in this heat. Were pickin...

  • In the February Orchard
    20 February, 2013

    I said I’d report back about the hawk kite and here it is. The Hawk kite went up, then 2 days later in a big wind it promptly blew down. Follow the in...

  • 3 little words: water, birds, pests
    20 January, 2013
    Birds: We’ve had the rosellas in trying out the unripe apples. The horsehoe shape they create with their lower beak is a dead giveaway as opposed to t...
  • Let your Orchard go Wild!
    20 December, 2012

    I hope you are keeping up with your irrigation here - especially around your new fruit trees, and any bearing fruit trees. You need to check the soil ...

MyMag this month...

...your magazine for inspiring stories, beautiful spaces, networking, sharing & celebrating community...

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Zealand


MyMag is your Mag! Subscribe today - it's FREE.  
Subscribe and receive our monthly newsletter keeping you up to date with the latest edition.