The official opening of Heyford Community Orchard will be held on Saturday 6th April, at 11.30.am – for a 12 noon start. We have invited our wonderful band of sponsors and supporters and we would also like you, the good folk of Nether and Upper Heyford, to feel free to come and join us. Everyone is welcome. All that we would ask is that if you’d like to join in our picnic, you bring a nibble to eat and something to drink. We can’t provide refreshments for all as we have no idea how many people are likely to attend. How embarrassing to have a hundred guests and only a packet or two of sandwiches. Conversely, a handful of people and hundreds of items of food and drink left over! If you are planning to stay for a while you may also want to consider bringing a chair.
Despite the recent gales Mother Nature has been kind to the trees, although we can’t predict at what stage of growth they are likely to be on 6th April. We’ll certainly have to wait a year or two for boughs laden with fruit.
If you haven’t seen what has been achieved so far this is a great opportunity to have a first look at the orchard. It will also be an opportunity for you to ask those involved how it is going to be managed and how you can take advantage of the fruit we will eventually have on offer. Remember, this is a community orchard.
Work on creating a Jam Patch is moving on swiftly. We have planted three long rows of raspberry canes and rescued at least a dozen currant and gooseberry bushes. Rhubarb crowns have been unearthed and replanted and a more manageable blackberry trellis created. If, in our trawl of discarded plots, we find strawberries they will also be planted up. This, like the orchard, will be a community area so available to all.
Like the orchard, this area will be clearly signposted so that villagers are quite clear about what is a community space and which plots are exclusively reserved for individual allotmenteers.
Tester Plots and Renting and Allotments
The tester plots are slowly taking shape and we are pleased to report that already one has been occupied. Since my last article we have decided that these small strips of ground (measuring about 2m x 10m) will be offered rent-free for a year, enabling potential tenants to see if allotmenteering is for them. After that they will have the opportunity to rent a proper allotment. We have plot sizes to suit all tastes so potential tenants should not panic about having too much to cope with. If you’d like to try out one of the tester plots but feel uncertain about what (or how) to grow vegetables, we can provide you with advice and help setting yourself up.
If you are interested, come and have a look at what is on offer and then contact either Sue Corner on 01327 342124 or Lynda Eales on 01327 341707.
A big, big thank you to all the people from the village who offered us unwanted garden benches and picnic tables for our community area. As with the sponsorship of fruit trees we are so heartened by the generosity of the villagers.
The furniture is currently being given some TLC and will make a wonderful addition to the community area. We now have enough items, although as the orchard grows, we’d love to think that we could secrete a few more benches in among the trees – but that is for the future.
Food for Thought
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”