It was many weeks ago when the last of our orchard trees arrived. As the planting site was not ready and the weather was poor, we healed them in, in one of the vegetable beds. Before we ordered the trees we had found somebody to give us a hand preparing the planting sites, as this is quite a big job with 18 trees to deal with, but we were let down and it took a while to find somebody else to help us out. Last week, though, we finished moving them from their temporary site to the orchard. I am sure that the healing in is not detrimental, and it is, or at least was, a common enough practice, but one ought to plant out whilst the trees are still dormant. Thanks to the mild spring, they broke into growth early this year, and it was rather late to move them. We had no choice, however, so moved them with as much care as possible, aiming to minimise the disturbance of the new root growth. Continue reading
Having enjoyed a variety of crisp homegrown apples over the last few weeks my taste buds have been calling for one of my favourites, a Waldorf salad. The ingredients are perfectly seasonal right now, and this salad is so well known that it hardly needs a recipe, unless, like Basil Fawlty, it has somehow escaped one’s notice, in which case you are in for a treat. Oscar Tschirky is credited with the creation of the Waldorf salad, whilst working as maître d’hôtel at the then Waldorf Hotel, New York, around 1893. In 1896 he published a cookery book, in which the original recipe appeared, comprising apples, celery, and mayonnaise. Walnuts, it seems, were a later addition, as are various other ingredients that now find their way into this simple but delicious salad.
The planting of the orchard, planned for the coming winter, all being well, had a headstart today with the addition of two new trees at the far end of the plot: a walnut and a chestnut. It is not the ideal time for planting, but these trees were bought during the winter and heeled in in one of the vegetable borders. They should have been planted out several months ago and had to be moved now because the recently planted winter squash plants will soon taken over that bed. Continue reading