Saturday, August 25

Garden Fruitfulness

I guess you would think that having an allotment would mean that all our fruit was grown there but we do have several fruit tree in the garden. The reason for this is that we can give special care to fruit growing close by that we can't give with that growing a distance away on the plot.
 
Our garden isn't big enough to be able to plant additional fruit trees that will grow to a mature size. When we starting buying fruit trees for the garden we already had two mature crab apple trees and a large magnolia as well as some apple and pear cordons that had sneakily become trees and we had planted a medlar tree with the intention of keeping it reduced in size. The medlar was planted more as a novelty than anything else.
We have occasionally used the fruit to make a medlar jelly but to be honest we don't really eat jams and jellies as we prefer to eat our fruit without the addition of lots of sugar.
Maybe if we were starting our garden again with the knowledge that we have now we would have planted fruit trees other than crab apples which, even though one - John Downie- does produce edible fruit, were bought mainly for their decorative value.
 
Unlike the pears trees on the plot our Conference pear in the garden has hung on to some fruit. Like the apples in the garden this was originally a cordon which had different ideas and managed to gain tree like proportions when we took our eye off the ball. Although the pears don't look like prize specimens, the apples are looking much better than the ones on the plot despite being left more or less to their own devices. All we tend to do with these 'trees' is to keep them under control or at least try to. Maybe the extra shelter in the garden has paid dividends this year.
If you follow my blog then you will know that we have a peach tree - Avalon Pride - bought a couple of years ago (and should have been a nectarine) that is growing in a container outside of our greenhouse. The idea is that if a really frosty night is predicted when the tree is in flower we can drape some fleece over it. We didn't have to do this last year and lots of fruit - well lots for us - set. We had the dilemma of trying to decide whether or not to thin the fruits and predictably decided against this. Some fruit fell off of it's own accord and some has developed brown rot but we still have a pleasing amount of peaches which we now have to decide when to pick.
The tree has grown a bit taller than we want so will have to be pruned back. As I understand it this needs to be done in early spring once the danger of frost is over so there is less chance of disease entering.
One problem this year was that the tree developed what I think was peach leaf curl so we will have to take precautions against this next year.
Last year we acquired a nectarine - Fantasia -  which also had some symptoms of peach leaf curl. The nectarine had one or two flowers but no fruit set. Hopefully next year we will have at least one or two fruits.
At the same time as we acquired the nectarine we bought an apricot - Flavourcot. This had no flowers at all this year so it's another case of fingers crossed for next year. We decided that with a little bit of careful pruning the shape of this tree leads itself to being grown as a espalier. As we are novices at this we have started to prune it carefully. It's maybe a little difficult to get a sense of the shape from the photo below. We need to construct some sort of support framework once we decide where it will have it's more permanent home.
Also growing in a pot is a kiwi Issai. So far this has been a bit of a disappointment. It starts to grow well, fruit sets and then suddenly all the leaves start to dry up. The plant also had telltale weebing that seemed to indicate  that spider mite were the problem. We kept the plant in the greenhouse to start with this year so no doubt that helped the spider mite to gain a strong foothold but last year we kept the plant outside and had the same problem. Next year we may have to look at some sort of biological control. The plant has recovered from the spider mite infestation but it lost all the young fruits that held so much promise.

Until Martyn reminded me, I am ashamed to say that I forgot our Lazarus fig - the one that rose from the dead. This has been given some protection in the greenhouse and has a few fruits. We now have to decide if and when the fruits are edible. By the way the fig on the plot also has a small shoot so will be known as Lazarus 2.
Finally there is the grapevine that each year attempts greenhouse domination. This year it hasn't as many bunches of fruit and the bunches that have formed don't seem to have been completely pollinated, having gaps in the bunches, but we will still have some lovely sweet seedless grapes to enjoy.
 You would think we had enough fruit in the garden by now but we have just ordered something else to grow in a container. It isn't very exotic but is something we have been thinking about for a while. For now I'll leave you guessing and I'll tell you about it later!
 

18 comments:

  1. Well your fruit are looking great. My apricot tree is in it's second year and I have never had any flowers or fruit set. Fruit trees haven't done well on our allotment this year and the Kiwi Issai I got for my birthday isn't looking very well. I am hoping it picks up though.

    Your peaches look wonderful!!

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    1. I wonder if your has spider mite too - ours was growing well both years and then the leaves dried up and died. There was also some webbing visible. It is looking healthy again now - minus the fruit that had set!

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    2. I don't know. It was fine when it arrived it was only after planting it all seemed to die off and then new shoots have started to sprout so maybe it was the move that it didn't like. Will keep an eye out for tell tale signs though so thanks.

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  2. The grapes look fabulous. Why wouldn't your fig be edible?

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    1. It's just knowing when to pick them so they are edible Liz

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  3. I've just sent off for a "free" Fig Tree, so I shall probably be coming back to you for some advice...

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    1. I think our fig is growing in spite of us rather than through any knowledge on our part, Mark!

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  4. It's all looking great, Sue. I'm impressed with your peach, it did so well last year, and it looks like you'll get some more lovely sweet peaches again this year. There was one at Swillington but I decided against it as I really wouldn't have room in my tiny greenhouse to mollycoddle it. Yours has really grown. I quite fancy a fig tree, though I've actually never tried figs. I didn't get any blossom on my apple tree this year so I'm hoping for my first small harvest next year.

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    1. Now we are trying to decide whether it's time to pick one, Jo. The last time I went to Swillington it was a scene of devastation. I think with tender fruits you do have to make sure it is suitable for growing in our part of the world.

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    2. I should have added that the peach stays outdoor now - it was only in the greenhouse until it bedded in. WE'd never get it in there now anyway as it's too tall.

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  5. Goodness, you must suffer from the same fruit tree/bush buying addiction that I do. I am debating where i could stick some cordon pears in the garden.

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    1. Our excuse is that fruit is really good for you!

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  6. The fruits are really looking good! Those fruits are expensive here! ;(
    Hope your peach provide you a good ahrvest next year! ;)

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    1. I'll be happy with just some treats from the peach, nectarine, kiwi and apricot Malar

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  7. You have a really impressive array of fruit Sue. I have been pondering what fruit to grow here, and how, and was wondering about cordons on the basis that I could cram more in. Question is, will I keep on top of the pruning...

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    1. The cordons we had were all cut down to the ground as they became loaded with woolly aphids which was uncontrollable. WE thought they were dead but the conference pear and apples behind the greenhouse had other ideas and we never even noticed them until they had grown considerably. I'm not really sure how we missed them but we did!

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  8. Given the dreadful conditions this year I think you've done brilliantly.

    Do the birds eat the medlar fruit?

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    1. No the birds don't touch the medlars - can't say I blame them really.

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