In the polytunnel growth is starting: The strawberries are coming into leaf, with the first flowers expected to open by the end of the month. The young cherry trees have a good quantity of flower buds on them this spring, which promises their first crop of fruit in early summer. The first blossoms are open in the second half of the month. The quince tree is splashed all over with a huge number of flower buds, and these come into flower towards the end of the month. We're hoping for a really good crop of quinces this year, and an abundance of quince jelly in the autumn. The few dozen pots of quince jelly which I made from last season's small crop have been very well received at the market. So far the new vines in the tunnel are still looking quite dormant, though the buds are just beginning to swell now - vines are very late to break bud compared to most other plants.
Finishing the Pruning and Tidying: We're trying to finish the various pruning jobs this month. We're also trying to get the place tidied - looking quite good now, though still quite a bit to do. We're also finishing the trellising for the pear orchard, which was never quite finished last year. We are training the new pear trees experimentally to about 4 different training systems. There is excellent looking fruit bud on the pears, and its time to keep the fingers crossed for the next 2 months that we don't get either frosts or harsh cold wet weather. All going well, we should have a very good crop this year.
Bees and biological pest control: At the end of the month we bring in our hive of bees to help pollinate the various fruit crops. During late March to mid April they will pollinate the strawberries, cherries and quinces. Then they will move on to the pear blossom later in April, and after that they will help out when the apples come into bloom. The end of the month is also time to bring in the various biological pest control creatures, which we use in the polytunnel to control mites, aphids, and vine weevils.