This mild and still weather after the ‘shock and awe’ of the BIG FREEZE really makes me appreciate the occasional foray into the garden. I was recently at an organic gardening talk by local experienced grower Nicky Kyle who asked me to pull a few raffle tickets as part of a fundraiser for disaster relief in Haiti.
I asked Nicky for advice on pruning blackcurrants. I was delighted when Nicky offered to visit my kitchen garden and show me how to wield a secateurs herself. I hope you can see the results of the visit on this video clip to follow for yourself.
Second week in February
Pruning the Apple Tree
My fruit trees and blackcurrant bushes especially need to be pruned in the New Year before the sap rises and buds open.
The garden is too small to allow the apple tree, in particular, to grow as large as it would in the wild.
A long-armed loper and a saw are required, as well as a small stepladder, to prune the apple tree.
The objsectives are (a) to remove branches which obstruct a pathway (b) to reduce the height of any skyward bound branches so that the tree in leaf will not shade my herb patch and finally (c) to remove any damaged boughs or branches. If left, these would dmage the bark with chaffing in fuyure.
If a bough is too thick to be cut by a secateurs or a loper, hen a saw is called for. It is important that the cut is clean and that it heals flat and quicckly without any cracks which could become infected.
My two blackcurrant bushes are planted on either side of the bird table and have served me well for the last ten years. The birds fo not seem to eat the fruit, which is plentiful. A lovely dessert is fresh blackcurrants, a dollop of yoghurt and a spoonful of honey on top.
Blackcurrants fruit on new wood which is paler in colour that wood which has grown up from the base a couple of years ago. I use a secateurs to firstly remove the older, dark wood.
After the dark wood , I look for any branches which are touching each other and remove the least crooked one. My objective is to thin out the branches so I can reach all parts of the bush to pick the fruit in the summer.