Monday, July 13

What to pick first?

Plot tasks are being restricted to essential ones at the moment as it is soft fruit picking time! Everything seems to ripen at once and call out pick me!

We have to prioritise which fruit we pick first. The list of criteria on which the decisions are based is:
  • Will it spoil if left longer?
  • Is it falling off the plant?
  • Will the birds or slugs beat us to it?
  • Have we already picked and stored plenty?
Raspberries and strawberries need to be picked quickly. All three varieties of summer raspberry that we grow - Glen Ample, Glencoe and Tulameen - are ripening now. The tayberries too don't want to be kept hanging around.

We had a first taste of one of our new strawberry varieties this week - Malwina - and it is delicious. The alpine strawberries are picked when time allows as they usually continue fruiting throughout the summer.

The jostaberries and gooseberries had started to fall and so these had to be picked. Wood pigeons seem partial to jostaberries and often break the branches on the bushes when stealing the fruit but so far this year the bushes are undamaged.

The wood pigeons stripped the leaves off the Summer sun cherry on the plot and consequently it bore no fruit. Fortunately they weren't attracted to the Stella cherry growing in a pot in the garden. It hasn't produced many fruits but they were especially precious and so the tree has been draped with fleece as bird protection and we have been rewarded with a few superb cherries.
The redcurrants have been waiting their turn to be picked. They are dripping with fruit but the strings hang on well as long as they are protected from the blackbirds that adore them. Picking them falls exclusively to me as Martyn conveniently made the cage too low for him to enter. Picking isn't the main time consuming part of harvesting the redcurrants - it's the destringing that takes the time and is a tedious job but worth it.

We've also picked the less prolific blackcurrants, some of which I think will benefit for being given a severe pruning.

The blueberries have started to ripen and have to be picked quickly to beat the birds to it.
Our harvest hasn't been confined to fruit. We have continued to harvest broad beans, calabrese, autumn onions and potatoes.

We have picked the first tiny spray of sweet peas and what are maybe the last of the sweet Williams

I am wondering whether to give the plants the chop to see whether they will then produce another flush of flowers.

We also had the double treat of our first peas and cauliflowers. It's times like this that we realise why we go to all the effort of growing our own!




32 comments:

  1. Such bounty!! Sometimes it's overwhelming when it all starts to come in at once, but it sure is
    appreciated mid-winter when it's time to use it!

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    1. It is a bit overwhelming , Sue but we are like little squirrels laying down out winter store..

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  2. A lovely harvest. You're lucky to have some cherries, my Stella tree hasn't produced a single one again this year. I made the decision a few weeks ago to put it in the ground, I don't think it was happy in its pot, it was in a half barrel so it had lots of space, so we'll see how it does planted out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for at least a few cherries next year.

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    1. Perhaps you have a pollination problem rather than a cultivation one. If the tree makes flowers, then they are not setting fruit for some reason (frost, lack of bees etc). If there are no flowers, it could be that the tree is unhappy in its current position or still too immature (busy making roots instead of fruit) .

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    2. I wonder whether it is anything to do with the rioitsticj Jo, Ours was Gisela 5 and described as suitable for a patio. It was two year old when we bought it in 2010 and this is it's first real fruit year,

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    3. There weren't many flowers at all this year so I don't think it was very happy. I've had it since the start of 2009 and only had one year when it gave a decent crop of cherries so I think I've done the right thing getting it in the ground. I hope it's happier there.

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  3. Wow... lots of berries, Sue! The red cherries look so fresh and healthy! I want to taste it! Beautiful flowers... Really lovely harvest!

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    1. The cherries were delicious, Endah

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  4. Impressive Cauliflowers - they can be tricky to grow to get a good solid curd.

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    1. The varieties, Mayflower and Clapham seen to do well for us SandD

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  5. WOW!!! What impressive harvests! I thought that I was getting a lot of fruit this year, but I see that so much more is possible. Wow. We have just been assigned a permanent allotment, instead of a seasonal one, and so your harvests are helping me dream of what to plant over there.

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    1. Fruit is a really good option, AandR fruit is expensive to buy and although time consuming to pick and maybe need netting for the rest of the year it is fairly low maintenance, (compared to) vegetables especially if planted through weed control fabric and mulched on top,

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  6. Such beautiful fruit and that cauliflower is perfect. How do you go about preserving all of the different fruits - is it a jam-fest?

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    1. No jam. Margaret as we don't eat it, We eat lots as a fresh fruit dessert and the rest is made into compote (less sugar than jam) and frozen,


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  7. Oh so jealous of all that bounty! Love how much fruit you have and that huge cauliflower is gorgeous. Very pretty flowers too.

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    1. Thank you Jenny Growing fruit is very worthwhile,

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  8. Impressive harvest Sue. I bought a copy of Grow your own & ready your article x

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  9. As someone who used to grow fruit as a professional I am amazed by the amount of choice available today and it all seems to be coming together on your allotment. This time of the year reminds me that the show season is now starting and will run for the next six weeks or so to display all your efforts.

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    1. What did you grow Rick? We are hoping for some fruit from the Japanese wineberry this year.

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  10. For me, these are choices that seldom arise! It's more a case of "Shall I pick BOTH Strawberries"!

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    1. Whatever you have will be delicious Mark.

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  11. Such wonderful fruit. I wish I had more fruit to eat fresh right about now. I had to pick the pink currants as they were starting to fall. Which means no more eating them in the garden. So sad. I'll have to wait for my fall raspberries for that. Though now that I think about it, the alpine strawberries are still out there. I often let my townhouse mates pick and eat them as I have so many other things, but as I'm in a lull maybe I'll pick those now.

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    1. You'll have to nip out and pick them before your mates notice, Daphne

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  12. I am impressed by your harvest and I almost should want to have a kitchen garden again. I´m mouthwatering when I see that picture with all the fruit, great!

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    1. We do love our fruit Janneke

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  13. Delicious berries Sue, especially strawberry! I love your vase of sweet peas, can imagine the fragrance...

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    1. I only but sweet peas that have fragrance Nadezda, A sweet pea without perfume isn't really a sweet pea is it?

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  14. Ooooohhh.....all that delicious soft fruit! I'm imagining all sorts of deserts! One day my two cherry trees were laden, the next not a cherry to be seen! Cauli, potatoes and peas, one of my favorite combinations!xxx

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    1. Our desserts tend to de naked fruit, Dina

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  15. That's handful of harvest Sue! Very big cauliflowers! Fresh vegetables are really good! ;)

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