I took all the tomatoes out of the peach house, which gave me room to dig out the borders and remove all the old woody chippings. The chippings were put into one of the compost bins. Although they were about a year old, they had not rotted down as much as I thought they would.
I put about four barrow loads of new woody chippings into the borders and another as a mulch for the peach tree.
So once I had given myself room to look carefully at the peach tree, I had a careful look to see how I could improve its fan training. One of the branches had grown particularly strongly and was growing almost vertically. It had a lot of fruiting wood on it so I did not really want to cut it out.
So it took a lot of effort but eventually I decided to remove it. The tree is much more balanced now with two relatively large branches trained to about 35 to 40 degrees and smaller fruit bearing branches growing out of them. The centre of the tree is empty of branches after cutting the big one out, however I should get some smaller verticals growing from the big branches next year. On the whole, I think that it has made a better looking tree.
If you want a more detailed description of how I prune fan and espalier trees look at the left of this blog and find the page about pruning and training fruit trees.
I have put the grafted tree pots back into the small greenhouse to keep them out of the way. I didn't realise that I had budded so many Cox's Orange Pippins on the M26 rootstock. I will have to decide whether I want to keep them all or maybe graft something else onto the rootstock. I could leave the buds to develop a Cox's and graft another variety to make a family tree.
I think I have about five Cox's. They don't store more than a week and you have to eat them straight from the tree to get all the amazing flavours. Five Cox's Orange Pippin trees might just be a little in excess of what I can reasonably eat. I could use them for cider, or juice or even cook them and freeze but it would be more fun to graft the rootstock to a new variety. That's the fun of grafting; you can make mistakes because you can rectify it the next year by grafting a new variety where the old is not suitable.
I budded the Cox's and the Peregrine peaches round about August time. Remarkably, one of the budded Cox's seems to have formed a union already. The grafting tape has broken away and left a bud firmly attached to the rootstock. The other trees still have the tape securely around the bud. I will leave them in the greenhouse until next spring and have another look at them then. When the bud begins to grow, or maybe just before, I will have to head the rootstock down to just above the bud.
It is the first time that I have budded anything so any successes I get will be amazing.
Although the grafted trees will be fine in the little greenhouse, I would like to get them planted as soon as possible. I still have two Pitmaston Pineapples, a King of the Pippins, a Sturmer Pippin and a Golden Reinette. The Blenheim Orange did not take and believe it or not I stood on the Norfolk Royal and broke the graft.
I would not have minded but this is just what I did last year and I had resolved to take much more care of the grafts this year.
Regardless, I have five trees to plant out and to do this I need more tree stakes, stretchers and wire. My next job is to go and get this stuff from the garden centre.
I sorted the grape vine out as well today. I cut out all the verticals, and tied in the horizontals. I put a rooted cutting of the red vine in along the support and it has grown well. However, it is in the wrong place. It is too near the main red vine and is blocking the expansion of the white grape. My first thought was to take it out and plant it to grow over one of the sheds. I might still do this. However, my second thought was to pleach the cutting onto the main red vine and maybe the white as well.
Will I get stronger plants if I do? Doubt whether it will do any harm and it would be fun to see if I can do it. I pleached two of the apples during August to see what would happen but I have ignored them since. I find that things like this work much better if you don't keep looking at them to see how they are doing. I will have a look again when I winter prune the Ribston Pippin.
The white grape suffered from the frost earlier this year and I am wondering if it is an indoor grape. I was given several cuttings and this is the only one that has survived. If it is cut back hard by the frost next spring I will have to consider replacing it. There are several people growing vines on the allotment site and I am sure they would not mind me taking a couple of cuttings.
I find that vine cuttings are very easy to strike.
I tied in two long stems from the white grape horizontally along the wires. Hopefully next year, I will get some vertical stems growing and producing grapes.
I cut off all the asparagus stems for the compost. I cut the vine and asparagus stems into five centimetre lengths so that they would rot down in the compost quicker. Furthermore, it makes turning the compost easier if there are no long woody stems.
I started to dig over the ground that I am going to move the lavender to. It has green manure on it at the moment. I will also plant one of the apple grafts here.
Tomorrow I will turn the composts again, finish digging over where I am going to plant the apple grafts and then go and buy some poles to make espaliers.