Late last year, I took the decision to cash in my smallest workplace pension. Partly to take some pressure off Howard in terms of household finances, but also as there were some big purchases I needed to make if I planned to put more effort into growing our food.
One of the things on my list was more fruit trees. We'd lost a couple of pear trees then the allotment flooded a few years ago, and having rethought the layout last year while I was laid up unable to actually do any gardening, I had a section of the plot to dedicate to fruit growing.
So in the Autumn I took advantage of an offer Deacons nursery had for half price bare root top fruit trees, and ordered assorted apples, pears and other fruit trees.
The order arrived late last week, but not having transport to get to the allotment this weekend, we had to heel them in until we can plant them in the new fruit area in the back garden. Saturday it rained all day, so much thumb twiddling took place. Finally Sunday morning dawned damp, but not actually raining. Unfortunately, by the time we were both ready & got outside to the garden, it was raining lightly, but we were determined to get the job done - opening the packages, bagging up the straw used to protect the trees, sorting through the trees, then planting them, in batches of 5 or so, temporarily in spent compost in the potato planting bags, so they would be easy to transport to the allotment next time we hire a van.
Of course in the time it took to get all this done, the temperature dropped further, and the rain turned to sleet, then to snow. But it was a job that needed completing, didn't require walking on soil or disturbing it in any other way, so we persevered. As the snow once again morphed into sleet and then rain, the job was completed, and the trees were neatly placed in a sheltered but light patch. I then ticked them off against my order - a selection of eating apples to crop & keep from late Summer through to early Spring, cooking apples to crop & store through Autumn & Winter, a small selection of cider apples to experiment with, a couple of pears to replace what we lost to flooding, a peach, a nectarine and a cherry to grow in the sunniest patch of the garden at the house, a damson and a greengage.
Somehow I had forgotten to get any new plum trees.
Still, having done a scale plan of the fruit area, I reckon there's space for a couple more trees (as well as raspberries, gooseberries & assorted currants), so time to study the lists again.