Over the last twelve years we have planted 1000 apple and pear trees. We have selected old traditional varieties such as Ashmead Kernel, Taynton Codlin, Annie Elizabeth, Worcester Permain, Yellow Ingestrie, Lord Lambourne, Howgate Wonder and Egremont Russet. Others are more modern varieties suitable for organic orchards such as Saturn, Cevaal and Rajka.

Big Blossom orchard blossom comfrey tree

We aim for minimum intervention from tree to table. Most commercial orchards are managed in order to produce blemish free fruit for the table.

On our own orchards we use compost, and comfrey as a foliar spray for fertility. We are also trialling the use of Biofertilisers. Without chemical sprays, the ladybird population explodes and these naturally control greenfly and other bugs that spread viral disease in the orchard. You can read more about this in an article that Matt wrote for the Permaculture Magazine in June 2017

The trees are grown in permanent pasture. This helps to build carbon levels in the soil, and aids long term fertility. Apples are picked by hand.

Watch Matt Dunwell's short talk about how we manage our Orchards here at Ragmans Lane Farm (click here) to minimise vehicle use in the orchards.