Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Apple Thinning

It's been two weeks since my last visit to the Apricot Centre and I had really missed it. Yesterday's activities included sewing seeds, hoeing and planting seeds, nearly passing out from the heat in the polytunnel, picking raspberries and thinning the fruit trees.

Thinning fruit trees is almost sad. The idea behind the activity is that you want the tree to focus its energy on a few select pieces of fruit so that the fruit you end up with is larger and sweeter. But it involves picking off some perfectly good looking pieces of fruit. In this case, the fruits were plums and apples. Plums were real fun since thinning the branches of a plum tree just involves shaking them. The apples were done by hand. When an apple tree blossoms, it has 5 in a bunch. 5 apples can form, but we were thinning down to 2 apples a bunch. So that meant picking the smallest, least healthy, runt of the bunch and leaving the rest. It was any easy job, especially easy on the back since you can stand up while doing it, and particularly nice in the shade of the pine trees.

Yesterday was hot, and in the polytunnel mid-day it was stifling. I could only stay in for a few minutes before needing to step outside into the cooler air. I don't know how the plants in there can take it. I was wilting just walking through the door.

I picked raspberries for the first time--which I was really excited to do because I'd had the best raspberries over the weekend. One thing about organic agriculture is that it involves bugs. Well, I found some raspberries with little caterpillars working their way through the berries. Gross. It was careful picking to make sure I was only putting the berries without worms into the trays. Lucky caterpillars, though, to have such a sweet meal.

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