Friday, November 18

The fruits of our labour 2016

We grow a lot of fruit on our plot. I guess you could say that the value of the fruit harvested more than covers our allotment rents. Having said that maybe it would be wrong to say that the fruit that we harvest saves us money. In truth we just would never buy the equivalent amount of fruit to that which we harvest so it would be more accurate to say that in growing our own fruit we eat more fruit than we otherwise would. 

The collage below shows just some of the fruit that we grow - I haven't included all the different varieties nor the fruit that didn't produce a crop this year - cherries, kiwi berries, figs and honeyberries. I haven't included the crops that although technically fruits we call vegetables or the fruits that we don't harvest such as medlars, cranberries and crab apples. Even so there is a surprising variety as I'd never considered the whole picture before.
This year's fruit harvest spans six months - that is if you count the rhubarb that technically isn't a fruit at all. 
Each year some fruits perform better than others so let's look at how our fruit has performed in 2016.

It hasn't been a good year for stone fruit.
Despite fruit setting we didn't harvest a single nectarine or cherry. The wood pigeons strip the leaves from the plot cherry every year. Next year we will make a concentrated effort to protect it earlier.

We harvested just one peach and two greengages. Both were a treat to eat but we hope for more next year,

The plum harvest was poor and about 25% of the fruits had been spoiled by plum moth larvae. Plums and greengages do tend to crop well every other year but why do they all chose the same year?

The star of stone fruit category is definitely the apricot that exceeded expectation.

Moving on to the hard fruit. Some of the varieties of apple are best guesses as they were harvested from our inherited apple hedge.
It's been a good year all round for hard fruit, although one apple - Fiesta is missing from the list having failed to produce a single fruit. Discovery was the most productive apple and Invincible was the top pear. We also had a larger proportion of large fruit in spite of our no thinning policy.

It was a bumper year for quince. There are even some fruit sill left on the tree as we just couldn't pick them all before the weather spoiled things.

On to the group that I am going to call the currant family. There are lots of unknown varieties here. The gooseberries mainly came from cuttings we were given and we inherited the red and white currants. When we bought the jostaberry it was just called a jostaberry as at that time I think there was only one type.
The redcurrants always seem to produce a good harvest. We only picked as much as we needed so the amount above could have been doubled.

The whitecurrant only produces very small currants so I am going to thin out the branches to see if that improves things.

Generally speaking I don't think the currant family have had a very impressive year.

Finally on to the berries.
We have been happy with our berry harvest. I posted a full review of our strawberries in an earlier post here. I don't intend to repeat myself, suffice is to say that we were more than happy with the harvest. The alpine strawberries were newly planted this year so I would expect a better harvest next year. After I had made the charts the alpine strawberries produced more fruit which I picked in November but there was no way that I was redoing the charts!

Our Glen Ample raspberry canes suddenly died and I dug up all the Joan J canes as the bed was infested with bindweed. Canes were split and replanted but will take at least until next year to recover. Fortunately Tulameen and All Gold did well. Glencoe never really produces a large harvest for us.

It was our best year for Japanese Wineberries - I posted about them here - and blueberries. The blueberries benefited from extra protection which meant we dared leave them on the bush to fully develop and ripen before picking them prematurely. The blackbirds were less impressed.

The Loch Ness blackberry is a prolific fruiter and we could have gone on picking berries for longer but we had more than enough and left the remaining berries for the birds.

You may have noticed that I haven't reported the rhubarb harvest. The reason is that we picked as much as we wanted but in effect this was only a small amount compared to that which was produced.

I wonder what sort of fruit harvest we will have in 2017. We are thinking of adding a few unusual new fruits, a black raspberry, a pink blueberry and a Chilean Guava. Has anyone any favourites that we should consider?


  1. REALLY impressive, Sue.
    I could only dream of having such a variety. I'm truly envious, but in a very good way.
    I think it must be such great satisfaction to be able to provide such a large amount for oneself. You keep me inspired!
    As for the fruits that didn't produce as well as hoped, I guess we all look at it the same way---some years are just better than others. Something always does "step up" to cover the shortfall of other fruits and that more than makes up for it.
    Happy Fall, Sue

    1. You are absolutely right, Sue. The advantage of having lots of variety of things means that usually we have plenty of things that harvest well.

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    1. Fantastic fruit, it's such a treat to grow something easy that the slugs can't reach isn't it (with the exception of the strawberries of course). I counted a while back that I have fifteen different fruits in the garden and down at the plot, which really amazed me. The only thing not on your list is figs I think. They did well this year. Also cherries, although the birds had some, as well as all of the wineberries. I am giving my allotment strawberries another year, but I barely had two punnets this year from a 3m square plot - the mice (I think) had the rest, they cached them all under the broad beans where I found them in piles gently rotting. This year was a pear year for me; next year I am hoping for a plum year.

    2. Sorry, CJ, I deleted your comment by mistake but I managed to copy it and paste it above. I'm not sure it is possible to grow anything that slugs and snails can't reach. They to make it to the top of tomato plants and have been known to,appear on bedroom windows. We are hoping for a plum year nect year too.

  3. I'm thinking of cutting back on some things to make room for more fruit. Your more than impressive harvest is nudging me closer to this direction. How do you eat it all?

    1. We seem to manage to eat it, Deborah. Lots of it is frozen so we have all year. We also usually have fruit as dessert.

  4. The variety of fruit you grow is just amazing, some of which I'd never even heard of before (Jostaberry & Tayberry). Wow to your Tulameen raspberry harvest - over 17 lbs in a month?

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment on eating more veg rather than specifically saving money on purchasing them. And you can't get fresher, higher quality, better-for-you veg than that which you grow yourself!

    1. You certainly can't beat the taste, Margaret.

  5. Exemplary post, exemplary practice, exemplary results!

    Can I just put in a word for rhubarb? Admittedly not technically a fruit it crops for months. I guess it has a low profile resulting from an embarrassment of riches later in the year.

    1. I don't undervalue rhubarb, Mal it's just that to record the harvest wouldn't do the plants justice as we harvested just a small proportion of what they produced.

  6. Gosh, seen like, the sheer variety, that has to be doing you some good, you're certainly getting your five a

    1. It surprised me too to see it like that, Dina.

  7. A very impressive review, and testament to the hard work that you and Martyn put in all year.

    I'm surprised your blueberry crop ended in August. I was still picking into October, but without going outside (and it is dark and wet and cold!) I couldn't tell you which variety went on so long, I have 3 different types. Email me if you want me to check.

    1. We have four different varieties, Jayne but I have no idea what they are as they were planted when we were not as efficient at recording.


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