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Photo Article from the Welsh Hovel - the second harvest delivering crabapple jelly

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 3 November 2021

Spurred on by the shock admission from the Mrs and Joshua that they really like crabapple jelly with meat, despite streneous protestations to the contrary before they had actually tasted it, I now have a second batch made up. You may remember that I bought two more young trees for the new orchard I have created, a couple of weeks ago.

That orchard, in the small inner upper field which used to be six foot high in nettles, ferns and brambles and which – underneath the vegetation – contained an old chicken shed, a barbed wire fence, the base of an abandoned greenhouse filled with broken glass and a small asbestos shed, is now home to my first (of two) strawberry patches and one of two herb patches, of which more later. But it also now has an orchard of, as of today, 24 trees. The two new crab apples join two of their cousins and have been planted at either end of the orchard to assist with pollinating the apple trees of which there are six. 

The latest news from the orchard is that one of the two small fig trees has produced three figs. They are not edible but it is a positive sign for the future. And I have harvested the dog’s arse fruit. There are not many of them, as I only planted out the tree in January, but they will be stewed with the last of the cooking apples this afternoon.

Back to the crabapples… before I planted the trees I harvested the fruit and, as you can see below, it yielded c2.5 llbs which produced more than two jam jars of crab apple jelly. So that is about four standard sized jars in all. Next year, we must hope for even more as the trees get a year older and bigger. 

I gather than planting trees is deemed very green and is the sort of thing that folks in Islington think that we thick, Brexit supporting, oiks in the boonies should all be doing. The environmental audit here after two and a half years is that we have cut down about eight trees and two have fallen down, thanks to high winds and floods respectively.  But I have now planted thirty two new trees and am awaiting new supplies to arrive at the garden centre before buying four more to plant before Christmas.

Next year I have plans to expand the lower orchard by the river, am going to try to rewild a bit of iron fence with blackberries and I am already building up the fruit bush estate to around sixty plants. That is pretty damn green is it not?

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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