Monday, August 31

The will to survive,

Years ago we had a long row of cordon apples and a pear that were causing problems and were not producing much fruit so we decided that they had to go. They were cut down and most of the stumps were removed but in the limited space behind  the greenhouse the stumps were left. We didn't intend to plant anything else there so it seemed to best option.

Somehow we didn't notice that the stumps were regenerating. Eventually when we didn't get round to doing anything about it and over time we ended up with three trees - a Conference pear, a Bramley apple and what we think is a Peasgood Nonsuch apple. This year it is the turn of the Bramley to provide a good crop of cooking apples. 

We harvested all the apples this week before they either fall onto the greenhouse roof breaking glass or fall to the ground and bruise spoiling the chances of keeping them stored successfully.

Any bruised fruit will be used quicky or pureed and frozen.
Tomatoes are now ripening steadily in both greenhouses and outdoors. We also picked our first aubergine from the garden greenhouse.

Tuesday's harvest
Sadly the wasps have found the ripe greengages as quickly as we have managed  to harvest a few. Wasps have been a big problem with stone fruit this year. So far they haven't homed in on the Victoria plums that we are beginning to harvest but no doubt they soon will.

The sweet peas have been a disappointment. We haven't had the usual abundance of flowers and many have had short stems. Already the plants have mildew and are fading. I don't know whether to put this down to varieties or the weather. Any recommended varieties for next year. I'm looking for good stem length and perfume.
The courgettes are producing steadily and even with twelve plants we haven't had the usual glut. This has been the sort of year that explains why we often seem to grow too many plants.

We picked another peach as something is nibbling them. It still hadn't developed the delicious flavour of the fruit that it produced in its first year.
Thursday's harvest
We thought that the beans would be a failure this year but they have come good to the extent that we have been giving lots away. All three varieties of runner beans - Desiree, Lady Di and St George - have done well. Each variety has a different coloured flower which makes for an attractive display.
There are of course bits and pieces harvested from the garden to eat straight away. Salad leaves from the salad bar and mini cucumbers from the cold frame.
The tomato is Corazon. The bunch of grapes may not look professional but the grapes are sweet and tasty.  Unlike Monty Don of Gardeners' World, we learned years ago that the blackbirds are partial to them and so both door and windows are covered with mesh which also prevents small birds from straying in and being trapped inside. 

As a treat we cut a cauliflower, they are not fully grown yet but big enough for a meal for two.
Sunday's harvest
This year after a very successful harvest of Cobra climbing French beans we decided not to grow any dwarf varieties. We added a purple - Cosse Violette and a yellow - Corona d'Oro. We also cut the number of runner bean plants by a third. Cobra was first to harvest and is producing a good amount of beans, the purple variety has now got going but the yellow one is slow. Yellow dwarf beans were always less productive so maybe this colour bean produces weaker plants. 
After the young plants had such a poor start the good harvest is surprising so we are considering cutting the number of plants further.

As with the apples the will to survive was strong.



35 comments:

  1. You are clearly enjoying delicious harvests this year, although doubtless all the other apples are quaking in their roots in case we all decide that extreme pruning produces mega-crops! We have had problems with wasps and stone fruit too.

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    1. Our other apples are on the plot, Sarah so they will be blissfully unaware there of what happened to their kin.

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  2. Hi, Sue!
    I love your apple harvest, I see all apples are healthy and enough big. What do you plan to do: eat or apple jam? I also was surprised looking at your beans- they are so long! I didn't picked yet beans, they need to ripen some weeks more.

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    1. We don't make jam not Nadezda because it has too much sugar in it but we will puree some of the apples and freeze them the rest will be stored in the garage. We were surprised at our beans we didn't think we would have any this year.

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  3. I have a tiny Bramley tree in my garden now - it was from Aldi at £1.99 or something ridiculous. If it grows (and that is a big IF if you know my record with fruit trees) it will be several years before it produces a worthwhile harvest. Maybe one day it will be as good as yours... :) I would love to have a supply of cookers for making jam with my hedgerow foragings. BTW, glad to see that you have been converted to "Cobra". It really is a great variety, and I'm regretting not having grown any this year. My yellow beans have been pathetic.

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    1. Yes we are Cobra converts, Mark thanks to you. Have you another apple tree or crab apple tree to pollinate your Bramley I actually think it needs pollen from two other varieties.

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  4. I see lots of apple pies and crumbles in your future with that lovely crop of Bramleys. I'm having the same experience with courgettes this year, a steady flow but no glut. My tomatoes though are doing me proud, it's one of the best tomato harvests I've ever had.

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    1. We've been pleased with our tomatoes to this year, Jo. The ones in the greenhouse have been grown in much better compost than usual. Usually we don't grow any outside but we popped the odds and ends of spare tomato plants directly in the ground and because we have had no blight they've done well too. Maybe next year we will try some blight resistant varieties outdoors.

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  5. Where there's a will ~~~ My great Grandfather tried grafting an apple which simply refused to take. In a fit of pique he tossed the failed graft aside where it lay on the hedge and promptly took bearing good fruit for many years.
    I hope you have one of those apple peeling/coring/slicing gizmos! I could never manage my small harvest without it.

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    1. There's nothing as contrary as a plant, Debs. I do have an apple peeling gizmo it's called Martyn.

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  6. Such goodness from your plot. I imagine your days in the kitchen are quite busy as well-putting away all that bounty. I just love your photos of the harvests.

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    1. We have a system with runner beans, Sue. I top and tail, Martyn takes off the edges, and then I chop them up. It's quite a production line

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  7. Your peach looks scrumptious. I have another one here as well, but mine is nibbled and bruised, so I'll probably only get a half of it. That's a fantastic harvest, this is the time of year that all the hard work pays off isn't it. I'm surprised you don't have a courgette glut though. Give it time!

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    1. This year we avoided peach leaf curl, CJ but the tree got red spider mite instead. Not quite got it right yet. Our peaches were nibbled and spoiled. What do you think has been nibbling yours?

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  8. You are certainly getting quite the harvests now. Too bad about the wasps though. I would be pretty mad at them for stealing my plums. I hope I don't have that trouble when I finally (hopefully) get plums some year.

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    1. Given half a chance the wasps well home in on the apples too, Daphne. If there is a mark on them they so find their way in and actually hollow them out

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  9. Gosh, how surprising that the stumps regenerated and now produce again! It has been a strange year, I don't have the usual courgette glut either, and am finding most of them half eaten. Wasps! This is the time when they become a problem having no purpose in life as the queens have gone, they are all over my plums too and I have been stung for the first time since I was a kid...
    A fantastic harvest, especially those runners, now what will you turn the apples into?xxx

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    1. Some apples will be made into a compote and frozen, Dina and no doubt some of the others will find their way into crumbles and pies etc. We have had a wasps nest in a hole under the root of one of our blackcurrant bushes. I have had to be really careful when picking the currents this year.

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  10. Those are a lot of apples - they look wonderful! That's too bad about the sweet peas - I recall your constant sweet pea pickings from last year - they just kept going and going and going.

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    1. Usually it's almost a full time job picking sweet peas, Margaret. I don't know what has happened this year. Maybe the weather, maybe the varieties, I just don't know.

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  11. Very very lovely harvest! Especially your beans and berries.

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  12. I hope that you have got more than one apple corer Sue. Sweet pea 'Gwendoline' has done well for me this year - long stem and quite scented too. 'Erewhon' too.

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    1. Thanks Anna I'll look at those varieties. I think I have grown Gwendoline in the past

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  13. We have grown Cobra for the first time this year we will be sticking with it, a great bean, our runners are a failure this year, only one meal so far but they are still blooming. The sweet peas had a bad start, we had a hard frost just after they were planted out, they recovered, then we heard Monty say to pick out the leaders for long stems, so we did, we have the longest stems we have ever had and a picking a big bunch every day.

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    1. We pinch out the tops before planting when the plants are small. RiG did you do this after planting?

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  14. They were pinched out while still in their pots, about six inch's reduced to five, planted out a week or so later and then got hit by frost, we thought we had lost them, but a couple of weeks later they started up again, the shorter stems are 12 inches most of them are around 15 inches, I am just wondering if it was the frost as our first year here I planted out the plants ( without pinching out) and they got hit by a late frost just as they had started climbing, they also had very long stems.

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    1. We pinch out in that way and do usually have longer stems but not this year RiN

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  15. The apples are amazing sue. It's always the things we forget about that do the best! Although the rest of your harvests look fab too anyway.
    Haha, I love the apple peeling gizmo.
    My courgettes have been slow too but luckily have a few plants as well so am getting a steady crop.

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    1. We always plant more plants than we need and this year confirms that is a good idea, Lou

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  16. I've had volunteer dill and volunteer parsley, but fruit trees? Wow. I was picking pears today at a friend's, and I gave some serious thought to taking out our mock cherry tree (although it is so pretty in the spring!) and replacing it with apple or pear.

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    1. Volunteer parsley it's quite a good achievement, Daisy. Apples and pear trees are just as pretty as ornamentals but if you do decide to plant one make sure it is self fertile otherwise you will need more than one tree to end up with any fruit

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