Monday, 16 April 2012


Lough Key Crab flowering over Blackcurrants, it makes beautiful crab apple jelly
When Martin and Tara lived in Sandy lane they had a huge Apple tree out the back with maybe two more in the hedgerows. They were forever giving away apples, until one night over a few drinks myself and Martin arrived at the perfect solution-a cider company! Once my trees got to size myself and Martin would give up our tedious jobs to become Brewers! Way hey! what a great idea! The Sandy lane Cider company was born.

a small tree puts on a big show
Unfortunately it died shortly after when the lads moved to Kilfinnane, but I do think about what it would be like to be a brewer every now and again.We live in a part of the country where moonshiners are legends and stories like the" bombing" of Abington Church, or the old fella who kept the bottles under clumps of rushes in a field are told with great pride. There is something in the water in this place and in the neighbouring part of Tipperary. I'm not exaggerating when I say you can go to a funeral and come home with a bottle! It happened to me! If nothing else you must admire the entrepreneurship, and above all check that it burns with a blue flame, otherwise you might be hosting your own wake!

Yesterday walking past the army of apple trees, many of them covered in blossom it got me thinking from the 100th time about what the hell I am going to do with all of the apples? There are almost 20 apple trees on site-yes 20!! You can see why cider production is on my mind! On younger trees you are supposed to thin the fruit, this is to do two jobs. It gets the fruit to a decent size so you have 2 large apples instead of 4 small ones and it prevents the apple tree getting into a two year fruiting cycle. This is where the tree fruits so much one year it has to take the next year off to recover before it can produce again in the third year. If this happens it can get into a pattern of producing only every two years-not what you want.

Nabbed from that link, in winter you can see the espalier training
I'm attempting training rather than pruning this year. Training is trying to keep all the branches at a 90o angle to the main stem with a slight point upwards. The more the branch can be horizontal, the warmer it will be, the more flower buds it will produce, the more fruit you will get, and the better that fruit will ripen.Eliza you know all about this from your espalier pear trees. In fact many old gardeners would not grow apples or pears any other way in Ireland.

Anyone interest in espalier trees might like this blog posting. I love the photos!
espaliered apple trees

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