Monday, 5 December 2016

Merry Christmas And A Very Happy New Year

The Gardens and Grounds team of Worcester College would like to wish all the readers and followers of their blog a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Thank you all for your continued support through reading the blog, posting comments and for coming to visit the gardens and saying such kind words, 'Hello, I really enjoy reading your blog' and 'The gardens are stunning, the best in Oxford', they really are very much appreciated. Work will continue in the gardens during December until college shut down on the 21st, but this blogger is off to sunnier climates. Written since February 2009, there are almost 8 years of college gardening activities to read about and, as the blog approaches its 9th year, there will be new projects to read about, the main one being the landscaping around the new Nasrin Shah Building, an auditorium and conferencing centre, as well as all the other day to day maintenance requirements in the gardens and grounds.  

Friday, 2 December 2016

10 Months, From Pruning The Fruit Trees To Picking And Pressing The Fruit

Keiron Picking Good Quality Apples

The process of producing the 'Worcester College Apple & Pear Juice', from pruning the fruit trees to picking and pressing the fruit, takes about ten months. The fruit tree pruning began at the end of last year, see blog entry 15th December 2015 'An Early Start To Pruning The Fruit Trees', and continued until the end of January/beginning of February.

Ady Hand Picking Apples

Peter Selecting Quality Fruit

During the first two weeks of October, having seen the trees flourish and produce a good amount of fruit, the team picked the apples and pears. All the fruit used in the juice is hand picked, no windfalls, and are carefully placed in to trays for transportation to Waterperry Gardens for juice pressing. 

Callum Checking The Quality Of The Fruit

The First 18 Trays Ready For Transportation

This years harvest filled 48 trays which, once at Waterperry, were tipped in to two large wooden crates each containing 1/3 of a tonne of Worcester College apples and pears.

Crate 1, 1/3 Of A Tonne

Crate 2, 1/3 Of A Tonne

The First Of 711 Bottles Up For Sale

The two large crates of fruit were pressed, and the resultant juice pasteurised and bottled, producing 711 bottles for sale this year, the first day of which was yesterday, with another day of sale today. The juice will be on sale over the next few weeks when, hopefully, all bottles will have been sold.

Ali And Kieron Selling The Juice

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Path and Ditch Clearing

Frost Covered Sports Field

The freezing temperatures forecast at the start of the week arrived as predicted resulting in the first few hours of the working day being very cold and frosty. As all the grass areas were covered in frost the team stayed off them and, as the secret to staying warm is to keep moving, the perfect job is path and ditch clearing which involves lots of movement with the raking and lifting of leaves.

Blown Out Leaves

The path that is next to the sports field was the place to start, beginning yesterday morning. Using the backpack blowers the leaves were blown out from the shrubs that align the path, then raked up and lifted in to the back of the trailer for transportation to the nearest leaf pile.

Cutting The Overhanging Shrubs

Once the leaves had been removed, the overhanging shrubs were given a light cut back to widen the path and the trimmings taken to the chipper pile for chipping 

Path Widened

Backpack Blower

Today, on the other side of the path, the ditch clearance began. The backpack blowers were used along with rakes and leaf grabs to remove the leaves, creating large piles along the side of the ditch ready for collection. 

Raking Leaves

Leaf Grab

Lifting leaves In To The Trailer

The smaller leaf piles were placed in to the trailer using the leaf grabs but on one massive pile a machine was used, the New Holland with the grab attachment. The grab, with its large tines, easily picked up the leaves and, in several huge mouthfuls, had picked up all the leaves and dropped them in to the trailer, a lot of lifting by the team with leaf grabs averted.  

New Holland With The Grab Attachment