Friday, April 13

Fruity news - not as showy but just as nice

My last post focused on the fruit blossom on the plot but we have other fruit too. It may not put on such a beautiful display of flowers but it still produces delicious fruit.

The currants and gooseberries have much more understated flowers although the bees seem to love them.

The black and whitecurrants are always slow to the party. We have several varieties of blackcurrants. The earliest are just beginning to leaf up but the later varieties and the whitecurrants have only leaf buds.
Oh dear - there are those weeds again!


The redcurrants - an unknown variety that we inherited - are more advanced and are sporting strands of flowers. Not as showy as cherry blossom but it does the job!
The gooseberries - again mostly unknown varieties that came from cuttings - are also dripping with flowers. I forgot to prune the gooseberries last year so may well have to do some late pruning to maintain an open bush shape. This will also avoid tears come fruit picking time! (Actually that could read either tears or tears - think about it!)
The jostaberry is a cross between a blackcurrant and gooseberry. We have ended up with several dotted about which is what happens when you prune something and just stick the prunings in compost to 'see what happens'.  This plant has the flowering habit of a gooseberry and is full of flower. The bush grows much bigger than a gooseberry bush and needs pruning to keep it to a manageable size.
The strawberry plants all seem to have made it through the winter although one variety Marshmarvel seems to have been hit more than the other varieties - Marshmello, Amelia and Flamenco. The Marshmarvel plants were knocked well back during the dry summer and are only just producing a few new leaves - this is the earliest variety too! Marshmarvel is the variety nearest to you in the photo.
The alpine strawberries are ahead of the game and producing a few flowers. Although most of the flowers have the centres blackened by frost, you can't fault the plants for effort.
The alpine strawberries now need a tidy up. The oldest plants (four year olds) will be dug up and new plants grown from seed this year. Alpine strawberries like other strawberry plants tend to wear themselves out and benefit from successional planting. You do need to have lots of plants to harvest a useful amount of berries. We use them as border plants in fruit beds.

Unlike the kiwi - Issai - in the greenhouse, the two kiwis on the plot are just beginning to unfurl their leaves. These often end up being frosted but undeterred the vines usually send out more leaves to compensate. Unfortunately up to now, although the female vine has produced plenty of flower, the male has been very slow to get his act together and so we haven't as yet managed any fruit! 
Even though it hasn't yet fruited I love the felty leaves!


Another fruit on the plot that is nowhere near as far on as it's cousin in the garden greenhouse is the grape. We have two vines - Madeline Sylvaner & Boskoop Glory planted outdoors more as an experiment than anything else - we did have fruit on one last year but the grapes were tiny and never ripened - there again last summer was very poor so who knows. The Boskoop Glory is planted to grow up the shed and maybe benefit from some of the warmth - the shed gets really warm when the sun is out. At the moment it has tightly closed buds - and who can blame it?
The earliest of the raspberries are producing buds:
As is the tayberry:
To quickly round off as this is another long post - the blackberries are concentrating on producing leaves. I forgot to take a photo of the Glencoe raspberry but it is leafing up - you'll just have to take my word for it.


As for the Japanese Wineberry - the top growth looks very dry but it seems to be producing new shoots from the base. I don't know whether this is usual - anyone any ideas?

PS - I keep a full diary on my website so I've popped a tab link at the top of the blog to the current month's diary page along with current month's sowing and harvesting. If I put everything on my blog it would become just a list which would bore the socks off you so the links are there if you are interested!

18 comments:

  1. Sue; your recent series of posts about fruit trees / bushes has been an eye-opener for me. Up till now I have focussed mostly on veg, but maybe I'll have to have a re-think...
    BTW: What do Jostaberies taste like?

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    1. Oh dear this is always a difficult one to answer, Mark. Jostaberries certainly have a flavour that betrays their parentage. Martyn thinks they lean more to tasting like gooseberries but I think they lean towards a blackcurrant taste. The bush does grow much bigger than a gooseberry and quickly (within a couple of years). It can be over 5' and the habit is more spreading so it does take up space. The berries turn almost the colour of blackcurrants when ripe but are a bit bigger.

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  2. All looking nice Sue...My white and red currants are doing well...it's my black currants that are behind!!

    I really pay little attention to my fruit trees and bushes as they are so good at taking care of themselves...maybe I'll have a closer look next time I'm out!!

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    1. I notice the bees buzzing round Tanya. It certainly shows that bees spot flowers however insignificant. The gooseberries and jostaberries have been flowering for a while so I'm sure the bees are happy they are there to provide an early food supply!

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  3. Beautiful! So much promise, hope and anticipation! All these flowers will hopefully turn into a bountiful harvest! Good luck! :)

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  4. You fruit update has inspired me to try and make more effort with fruits. I have redcurrants that have been neglected for years. I have a gooseberry that gets neglected too. I've been letting the birds eat most of the fruit. I should really make more effort with fruit. The only TLC I've been giving is my pot grown apple tree. Can't imagine having the amount of fruit trees/bushes you have! Really super! How do you manage keeping the birds off it all?

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    1. The only fruit that we protect are redcurrants that are covered by a makeshift fruit cage see this page. The cherry has a net draped over it and the strawberries are also netted.

      The rest take their chances - the others we have to either pick before the birds or share with them. The blueberries maybe should be netted but we manage to pick them slightly under ripe as they ripen will off the bush

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  5. It's amazing how much fruit you grow. I really should look in to getting more soft fruit.

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    1. The hardest part of growing soft fruit is picking it, Jo

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  6. Boy you have a lot of fruit! What a nice collection! We don't have the room for much fruit here. I did order a dwarf/miniature cherry that I can grow in a container!

    A lot of my strawberries didn't make it through the drought we had last year either. I counted about 40 plants out of the 75 I planted last year. They will be moved this weekend and I have more on the way.

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  7. I thought we would lose quite a few strawberries Robin - which is why I took lots of runners!!!! Still I only planted 48 plus a few in a trough so I can plant more before I'm up to your 75.

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  8. Blimey Sue everything looks like it's coming on a storm-my blackcurrant stll looks decidedly twiggy!

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    1. It's only the early varieties that ar leafing up, FRG the others are just showing buds

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  9. Tayberry is a new one for me - I did a quick google search and they look delicious. I would love to grow a berry like them or raspberries but the thorns put me off. Once Mr 2 is a bit bigger I think.

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    1. Have you a thornless blackberry Liz? Also some reaspberries are far less prickly than others.

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  10. Soon you will have a lot of berries to be harvested! SO lovely!

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