Sunday, March 6

Giving it my best shot

I may not do as effective job of pollinating as a bee would but I am doing my best.

This year the Flavourcot apricot that now lives in our garden greenhouse has kept me very busy. Last year it had only a few flowers but this year it has lots.

I try to pop into the greenhouse every day to tickle the flowers as new flowers are appearing all the time. It's difficult to decide which flowers I have already pollinated as in this I lack the natural skill of the bee. Some flowers no longer show the yellow pollen laden stamens  and the petals are dropping and so it is fairly safe to leave them now but any that still look fresh are visited.


I use a cotton bud and a soft paintbrush - both of which I hope will simulate bee activity.

Looking closer you can see that pollen has been picked up and I hope some has been transferred to an appropriate stigma.


On my last visit I noticed that both the nectarine - Fantasia


 and the peach - Avalon Pride are beginning to open their flower buds.


Neither have as many flowers as the apricot this year but there are enough to satisfy us if they go on to produce fruit. My bee activity now extends to them too. I think I need a fresh cotton bud so that I can make sure each flower receives the appropriate pollen.

It will then be a waiting game to see whether any fruit sets.

The trees will need feeding and watering. I also hope we have more sunshine as last year the fruits that were produced lacked flavour which I - rightly or wrongly - put down to lack of sunshine.

We also need to be on full alert for spider mites which attacked the trees last year and I wouldn't bet against an adventurous slug shimmying up the tree to nibble any fruits. Maybe I should make some sort of grease band.

Maybe, just maybe my activity will be rewarded with some lovely, sweet, chin dripping fruit!

29 comments:

  1. I think you are right about the lack of sunshine affecting flavour. Last year lots of my crops were nondescript, and I feel they would have done better if they had had more sun. You are artificially replicating the work of the bees with your cottonbuds, so now maybe you can artificially replicate some sunshine! Solar reflectors might be worth investigating...

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    1. I think I much prefer a biome Mark one covering the garden and another one covering the plot maybe then we can replicate a perfect climate.

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  2. Last year my apples were so bland and tiny too, although they ripened a full month earlier. Odd behaviour and I think it is something we can look forward to and learn to adjust.
    I'd say the paint brush would be better than the cotton bud for mimicking a bee.

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    1. I'm using both, Deborah to increase my chances :-)

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  3. I am sure your efforts will be rewarded Sue. Surely we can't have 2 rotten summers on the bounce.

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    1. Who knows, Angie? Let's just hope not.

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  4. I admire your efforts Sue and hope your trees will do well this season. It's a good sign that your apricot has many more flowers this year...I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

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    1. Thanks, Lee maybe toes crossed as well :-)

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  5. Fruit tree flowers are so beautiful. I just planted some new trees last year and I'm fairly sure that I should be taking off any immature fruits this year so that the tree sends more energy into developing a good root system. That will be one difficult task.

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    1. We always find it very difficult to remove any prospective fruit, Margaret. In fact so difficult that we surely do it

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  6. The apricot blossom is glorious, I don't think I've ever seen it before. Let's hope the brush and bud do their job. My peach is outside. It was thinking about opening a week or two ago, but it's holding itself in now it's gone a bit chilly. Hopefully some warm spring sunshine soon.

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    1. Do you protect it from peach leaf curl, CJ?

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  7. Bee-utiful. With all that blossom you stand a good chance of getting an even larger crop this year. Good luck. It would be so nice to get a decent summer too wouldn't it.

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    1. It would be extremely nice, Jessica

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  8. I love apricots. Good luck!

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  9. Beautiful Blossom! That's really a hard work! Hope you're awarded with a lot of fruits Sue!

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    1. Not that had, Malar just a few minutes a day

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  10. I agree with the lack of sunshine affecting the flavour. Wishing you lots of luck for this season xx

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    1. Let 's hope for a bit more sunshine this summer, Jo

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  11. I can imagine you buzzing about like a bee Sue and humming as you go about your work. Are the flowers on these trees appearing earlier this year?

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  12. The blossom is so pretty, does it have a scent?

    One year I had some early bulbs flowering in the greenhouse and the smell was surprisingly strong, it was a lovely bonus of growing them under cover.

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    1. The apricoy has a faint scent if you stick your nose very close

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  13. Oh good luck with the pollinating! You seem to be doing a grand job. Here's to plenty of fruit and sunshine!xxx

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  14. I don't know if you have it there but I use a product called Tanglefoot. I spread it on the trunk of the tree to keep slugs, ants, etc from crawling up. I hope your pollinating takes!

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    1. I've never heard of Tanglefoot, Dave. I'll look it up.

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  15. Good luck Sue, you busy bee!
    Will watch with interest and see how you get on.

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