How to establish a Community Orchard

An update by Comrie Community Orchard Group.

The Community Orchard was planted in April 2011 at Cultybraggan Camp (bought on behalf of the local community by Comrie Development Trust), with funding from Awards for All, LEADER, Perth and Kinross Council and the kind donations of private individuals.

The trees include 25+ varieties of apples, 6/7 varieties of plums, gages and damsons, pears, crab apples, Morello cherries, quinces, medlars, a few walnut trees and a small copse of hazels. There are also soft fruit bushes – blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries and some recently-planted thornless blackberries. A mixed edible hedge has been planted around the orchard – look out for sloes, rose hips, hazels, elderberries and sea buckthorn.

The apple trees were planted as maiden whips on M25, mm106 and M26 rootstocks. The old army cadet assault course has been used as a framework on which to train step-overs, cordons and espalier apples.

Each tree has been labelled with the name of the variety, its rootstock and the year it was planted. We are gradually discovering which apples work well on this site and in this part of Scotland. Some apples will keep past Christmas, but others, such as Discovery, are best eaten straight from the tree.

The Orchard is cared for and maintained by a group of volunteers – the Orchard Working Group – and a work party meets on the first Sunday of each month, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Do come and join us, everyone is welcome.

The Orchard Working Group also organises a number of events / courses throughout the year. There is the annual Apple Day held in October where everyone is welcome to come along and bring / donate their apples to make fresh juice and sample lots of apply-delights! This year will see the sixth Apple Day at Cultybraggan Camp! Some of the fruit from the community orchard is also sold at pop-up stalls in the village at harvesting time and the Group has also organised pruning and grafting courses.

If you would like to volunteer or receive more information about the Orchard please contact Di McNab: e:  m: 07812 741 660

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