Over the Gate Forum Index Over the Gate
Join in for a friendly chat over the gate about home and country matters. (Nominated Charity The British Heart Foundation)
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups  {Home Page} Home Page  Join! (free) Join! (free)
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

The start of my orchard blog ?
Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Over the Gate Forum Index -> Tipplers
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:26 pm    Post subject: The start of my orchard blog ?  Reply with quote

I've put all my posts about planting my cider apples into chronological order so that its starting to become a bit of an orchard  blog. What do you think ?


I've been wanting to plant a small cider orchard for sometime now, in December 2008 I finally realised my dream. Here's an account of what I did and how I went about it.

Monday 22nd September 2008

After spending a number of years making cider for my own consumption and attending various cider festivals and visiting cider farms, the weekend saw me make my first teetering steps towards my goal of having my own small commercial cider farm.
I've got about an acre and a half to devote to my venture, which I hope, will eventually be home to two or three hundred bush apple trees of various varieties.
I intend planting the first fifty of these this coming winter, but first of all, yesterday was time to get my hands dirty and to start clearing the land for planting. A good start was made with the demolition of two old and rickety chicken pens and with us making some inroads into a swathe of brambles, bracken and long grass. It was only a start of course and I reckon that I've got a few weeks works ahead of me before the land is ready. Here are a few pictures of beginning of my embryo orchard.








I hope that people will find my posts on what will be a long term project of interest.  If there are any budding cider makers out there who fancy mucking in, there will be plenty of scope for free working holidays by the sea over the next few years.


Tuesday 23rd September 2008.


Another teetering step forward today. I spent about four hours clearing away the bracken brambles and nettles. Inspite of the leather gloves that I was wearing, my hands and forearms were a right mess by the time that I'd finished.



In a few weeks time, we should be having one heck of a bonfire.


Saturday 27th of September 2008.


I spoke to the nursery at Tenbury yesterday. Matthews, are just about the biggest tree nursery of this kind in the UK. I had a bit of a shock, because  when I made enquiries this time last year, they had lots of choice available, and yes, you've guessed it, this year they are all sold out.The man there said that this season there had been a massive demand, where as in previous years, they'd almost had to burn unwanted stock. But hopefully all is not lost . Their trees are sold and ordered well in advance. In the next couple of weeks, they are going to check if all the orders are still required and are going to do what they describe as a field count. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that when they get back to me, they'll have what I require.

Come what may, my trees, will be going into the ground this winter, its just that this company is by far the most reasonably priced one that I've found.


Wedneday 15th October 2008.


I've just had the telephone call that I've been waiting for. The nursery have found me the following maiden trees for collection this winter.

25 X      Dabinett on 106 stock
20 X      Kingston Black on 111 stock
10 X      Red Devils on 106 stock
4   X      Various standard perry

The last ones are eating apples whilst the others are cider apples. They are bush root stock. All I've got to do now, is to find an expert or two to tell me if these varieties of trees are going to be suitable for my requirements.


Thursday 18th December 2008.

My cider orchard comes on Saturday. Not quite in kit form.  

On Saturday morning, I'll be down in Tenbury picking up 59 assorted apple and pear trees ready to plant as part of a new cider orchard. The trees are what are known as maiden whips, so they wont be very big. I'm hoping that they will fit in the back of the car.
Rob and I have just come in for a cuppa after placing the stakes out so that we know where we are going to plant them. Thankfully we just about have enough room to fit them in.

The rootstock will be a mixture of 106 and 111s. We have left quite a gap between rows and have been advised to place a tree every ten feet in the row.
I'll be calling in favours on Sunday to try and get them safely planted and staked.


Saturday 20th December 2008


Kaz and I turned up at Matthews Nursery, Tenbury Wells just after 9.00 am. What a place, they must have millions of trees.











And here they are safely back at home in the barn ready for planting tomorrow.





The trees look very good and are excellent value.


Sunday 21st of December 2008


The trees go in.

A giant thank you to my mates Blind Pugh, Hawkeye, Mrs Hawkeye and the kids. ( Not their real names) It really was a case of many hands making light work. Well fairly light work anyway.  :xbigsmile:  We planted 57 trees today.  


Blind Pugh and Hawkeye.




Mrs Hawkeye



Even the kids got stuck in.





Talking of getting stuck in, it was soon time for a teabreak.





The table was my Mark 7 chicken pen. Commissions taken.      


After several hours digging,we all had that warm glow of a job having been well done. I was really pleased with the results. I can almost see and taste that first pint of cider.
I've just realised that the warm glow that I'm feeling, is coming from blistered hands and a knackered back.  

I hope I havent bored you all too much. Now all I've got to do, is to read a book on pruning and try and keep the rabbits off my new babies for the next four or five years.



Monday 16th of February 2009.


I ordered my cider mill and press from Vigo today. Of course, it will be some years before I get any apples from my new trees, but I have some older apple  trees and always have lots of apples offered to me by friends and neighbours.

Friday February 20th 2009.


My cider press and mill are due to arrive on the morning of Wednesday 25th of February.


February 25th 2009

My cider making equipment arrives.








Heres the equipment after its been unpacked and put in one of the stables.



The apple mill, this turns the apples into a mush.





The press.





This pasteuriser will enable me to make apple juice as well as cider.





Hopefully , a good summer will lead to an interesting autumn.


Thursday 4th of June 2009.
-------------------------------


I've taken the very first teetering step today towards turning my hobby into a small business. I've phoned up the licensing people in town and enquired about how to obtain a Farmhouse Cider Licence
I think I've almost convinced them that I don't want to turn my house into an off licence and that what I'm talking about is something very different.
To be fair to them, this will be something that here in the temperence belt of North Wales they will have never come across. What is almost common place in Hereford or Somerset, is a real rarity here.
They are looking into it and will get back to me.
I've also been in touch with an organisation called CALU. centre for alternative land usage , who will hopefully prove to be very helpful.
Please keep your fingers crossed and your glasses charged that i don't fall at the first hurdle of realising my dream.


Friday 12th June 2009.
--------------------------

I've been in touch with my local planning officer again today, I'd left them to stew for a week since first contacting them. I think I've had a bit of a result. This is what they came up with. As long as my enterprise is small scale and all the apples that I press are grown on the farm, then at the moment they say i don't need planning permission to sell cider from the gate. Seems a bit strange that one to me, if I was to stick to the letter of what they say then my next door neighbours orchard would be denied to me.

Friday 17th of July2009
----------------------------

At this time of the year, the grass in the orchards is growing like mad and I'm mowing just about every week.

Yesterday I pulled off every fruit on my maiden apple trees. To be honest, only a small percentage of them had produced any. I've been told to do this so that the young trees expend their energy on growing a good root system rather than producing fruits. Apparently, its the done thing.

While in the orchard, I earmarked some more land for this winters planting. I hope to plant at least as many trees as I did last December. There will be one more cider variety and the rest will be eating apples.

By carefully selecting the eating apples according to when they ripen, one day I hope to have good quality fruits for sale available throughout the season. Apples are similar to spuds , in as much as you get both early and late varieties.

Friday 7th of August 2009
------------------------------


Two bits of news today.

I've made contact with a bee man who seems very keen on keeping his bees in our orchards. He's coming this evening to see if our site is suitable. Hopefully the arrangement can be of benefit to both parties.

I've also had a phone call from Matthews Nursery regarding which trees I'm having off them this coming winter. This time, I'm selecting eating apples with a view to both selling the apples and turning them into juice.

They bare suggesting that I have the following varieties.

Discovery
Katie
Red Windsor
Red Falstaff
Fiesta
Ash Meade Kernel.

I've provisionally booked ten of each on 106 or 111 stock.


Wednesday 25th August 2009
----------------------------------


I had these apples given to me. They were free for the taking and the lady who owned the tree had actually bagged them form.

We've just finished making the apple juice tonight, we managed to extract about seven gallons from this barrow full of apples.





I've no idea what variety they are but they produced a sweet pink apple juice.

Here's Huggsy ( Blind Pugh) operating our Speidel Apple Mill. Its the first time that we've used this bit of kit and it was very impressive. Its output was such that it could have kept numerous presses the size of ours busy.

Huggsy and the press.  





Building the cheese. Thats what they call the bags of milled apples prior to it being pressed.








Putting the pressure on.





The press is a Vigo ' rack and cloth press. This link proved to be extremely useful on this, the first occasion that we've used it.

http://www.ukcider.co.uk/wiki/ind...Vigo_Rack_&_Cloth_Screw_Press


Here's the proof of the pudding. Our harvest, the apples produced  7 gallons of the most beautiful pink juice.





If we were to bottle it and present it properly, we would get a minimum of £2.00 a bottle, which would have given us well over a hundred quid for our evenings efforts.

This was a sort of dry wet run and its certainly given us plenty of room for thought.


Monday 7th of September 2009.
---------------------------------------

I've just ordered a pallet of 812 75cl clear glass bottles plus lids for my apple juice venture.
The total cost delivered is £287.00 which adds a little over 35 p to my price per bottle.


Last edited by bodger on Mon Sep 07, 2009 12:28 pm; edited 14 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Morlan75
Guest







PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:29 pm    Post subject: Re: The start of my orchard blog ? Reply with quote

bodger wrote:







Oy Bodge how much rent you want for the mini mansion in the pic ?????        
Back to top
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is that the one in the front or the one at the back ?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
morlan578
Guest







PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

think she means the one at the back but i could see me sleeping in the front one if she gets annoyed        
Back to top
Bazzer



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 17915


Location: North of the Thames, South of the Mersey

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bodge, check your dates mate. 2009?
_________________
Still at the Bar, still on me own, still moaning and still a miserable Old Git.



http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just gone through it and changed them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check my blog, my mini cider factory arrived today.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Bazzer



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 17915


Location: North of the Thames, South of the Mersey

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next job to sort out the workshop?
What is a cider "plant" known as?
Wine in a winery.
Spirit in a distillery.
Beer in a brewery.
Cider in a ???????????
_________________
Still at the Bar, still on me own, still moaning and still a miserable Old Git.



http://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
littlemark



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 55



PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bazzer wrote:
Cider in a ???????????


Cider House, we've all got one of those haven't we  

Nice looking kit Bodge, I found the best thing with the press is to mount it on 2 or 3 pallets screwed/bolted together. Makes turning the screw easier when the pressure's on, and perhaps even more importantly makes loading the press easier as it's at a better working hight.

Mark
_________________

http://rockinghamforestcider.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cider House Rules.

Thanks Mark, I was wondering what to do over the height, I'll certainly do that.

Years ago, there used to be loads of small dairy farmers with things like stainless steel strainers for the milk etc. I wish I could drop on some stuff like that now, I bet that tons of them have gone for scrap. I could also do with a sink on legs for cleaning off the apples in.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
littlemark



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 55



PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One or two cidermakers I've visited have made use of ex-dairy tanks for fermentation and storage, Lyne Down and Orchards spring to mind. Dairy equipment tends to be the the right grade stainless for the high levels of Malic Acid found in cider. I also though that the hundreds of farmers getting out of the dairy business would lead to a glut of cheap second-hand stainless and food-grade equipment coming onto the market, but no signs as yet.

Here's a pic of our set-up from 2006, you can see the pallet arrangment for the press. The last year we used this kit we bolted the mill onto the pallets too and had quite a good system going. The added advantage of using pallets is they can be used for a really good November bonfire when the cidermaking comes to an end. I kind of miss that bit...



Mark
_________________

http://rockinghamforestcider.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That picture has really wetted my appetite.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 04, 2009 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've taken the very first teetering step today towards turning my hobby into a small business. I've phoned up the licensing people in town and enquired about how to obtain a Farmhouse Cider Licence
I think I've almost convinced them that I don't want to turn my house into an off licence and that what I'm talking about is something very different.
To be fair to them, this will be something that here in the temperence belt of North Wales they will have never come across. What is almost common place in Hereford or Somerset, is a real rarity here.
They are looking into it and will get back to me.
I've also been in touch with an organisation called CALU. centre for alternative land usage , who will hopefully prove to be very helpful.
Please keep your fingers crossed and your glasses charged that i don't fall at the first hurdle of realising my dream.

PS The licensing people have  very enthusiastic and helpful. They've beenin touch with Somerset and say that they will actually help me to fill in my application. Just the planning side to negotiate now.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lorrainelovesplants



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 2496


Location: North Cornwall

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So impressed with this.  Its a blog that  will come back to again and again.  Im still trying to get info from my Looe friends (but its a bit manic at this time of year) for you.
On the earlier photos I noted your poultry house.  Did you build these yourself?  The T&G ones with the external nest boxes? Interested in getting the design.
_________________
 SPOTTY DOG CIDER
hatching eggs     Blacksmithing & welding tuition
www.killibury.co.uk
www.spottydogcider.co.uk
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
bodger



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 32841


Location: Ever so slightly around the bend.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No Lorraine, I'm not that good.

I'm currently building a second aviary for Kaz and I reckon that with a few modifications the same design would make good poutry housing. i'll post some pictures on another thread when I can.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Over the Gate Forum Index -> Tipplers All times are GMT
Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
Page 1 of 10

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
All Proceeds to Leukaemia Research.

Card File  Gallery  Forum Archive
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum