In 2009 Old Trafford Amateur Gardeners’ Society (OTAGS) took over a hard to let plot on the site they manage with the aim of turning it into a Community Orchard, which we named Orchard 49, because it is on plot 49.
In December 2009 OTAGS we were successful in securing a small grant from the Local Food fund to develop the orchard. A key aim of the orchard is to inspire people living locally to grow fruit by showing what can be achieved in a small space and to build skills locally in orchard management and fruit growing.
When you visit the orchard you can see that the majority of the trees are ‘trained’. This means that we prune them each year to keep them to a particular shape, mainly vertical cordon. Along the fenceline that runs down the orchard, and along the apple arch you can see how this works. Branches are cut very short, this allows us to fit a large number of trees into a small area. This way of growing fruit also means there isn’t a glut of apples. Each tree produces a smaller number of fruit.
There are 55 different varieties of top fruit on the orchard. The majority are Apple, but we also have Pear, Cherry, Fig, Gage, Damson, Plum and Quince. We have also planted some soft fruit blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries grape vines and raspberries (do find and taste some).
How many different varieties do you see along the fenceline? Clue – each tree is a different variety! They are all labelled. The apples and pears aren’t ready to eat until September-October, do come and taste them then.
If you’re interested in helping out, we run regular weekly work sessions on Thursday evenings from 6.30-8 p.m. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07719 625 725.
For more information about the trees and the orchard we have a blog: http://otagsorchard.blogspot.co.uk/