by Bryn Thomas
This is a nerve-racking time of year for anyone who grows fruit trees, as we wonder will we get a reasonable harvest.
Cool, wet or windy weather while trees are in blossom can lead to a poor set of fruit. Flowers can be damaged, bees can stay home, and pollen isn't as effective at low temperatures.
So will we get a reasonable harvest?
Or will we see a repeat of 2012, when wet and windy weather caused the worst fruit harvest in living memory in southeast England?
The weather hasn't been ideal. Warm weather in early/mid April caused trees to 'get ahead of themselves', which was followed by cooler weather and late frosts in many parts of the UK.
The blossom has stayed on the trees for a long time around Brighton, a sure sign that pollination is slow. Fortunately, the weather hasn't been too harsh, and it looks like things will be okay for us.
Bees were active at the blossom tour of the Home Farm Orchard, read one visitor's blog (see her gorgeous pics here.) By the time we ran our Care of Fruit Trees course last weekend, the young pollinated fruits of apples and pears could be seen beginning to swell on the trees.
We are delighted to offer the opportunity for researches at Sussex University to look at the role of solitary bees, bumble bees and honey bees in pollination.
We're looking forward to opening the Fruit Factory in time for apple season, but the practical side of the build remains to be finished. Why not become part of the Fruit Factory's history and lend a hand finishing its walls at the end of May? Learn more about our Rendering on straw bales course.