We carry out soil tests throughout the orchards in January every two years. A sample is taken from each orchard and sent for analysis so we can determine a management programme for the following two years. Testing the soil is important to help maximise crop production, protect the environment and reduce costs as we can target deficiencies in specific areas thereby reducing unnecessary blanket coverage.
Analysis Results (SOIL)
|Phosphorus (ppm)||41||(Index 3.7)|
|Potassium (ppm)||344||(Index 3.6)|
|Magnesium (ppm)||170||(Index 3.9)|
|Lime Req. (t/ha)||4.0|
Looking at the above example of our Katy orchard tested in 2019 illustrates how results from soil analysis are used to determine what, if anything, needs to be applied. The normal values are:
- pH – 6.5
- phosphorus – 35 +
- potassium – 290 +
- magnesium – 135 +
The results do not show any particular deficiencies, though the soil is slightly acidic and will need lime to be spread at a rate of four tons per hectare to increase the pH level to its optimum of 6.5.
Nitrogen is a nutrient vital to plant life having an essential role associated with photosynthesis and protein building. We use a product called CAN – Calcium Ammonium Nitrate – a slow release application that enables a better chance of maximising nitrogen absorption while providing a more even feed through the growing period. Three small feeds through the season support the maxim ‘little and often’. In addition, we also use the sprayer to apply a foliar feed directly to the leaves containing potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, urea and Maxicrop (seaweed).
The Yearly Cycle
Our apple growing year starts straight after Christmas as we kick
The optimum time to harvest our apples varies with the variety as well as with the amount of rain and sunshine we experience in Putley. As a rough guide the table below will show you when we expect to harvest. For best results, once harvested, apples should be processed within 2-3 days, a week at the outside.
Pruning this year has been a combination of mechanical and hand pruning in order to achieve a