Wednesday, July 4

Late to the party!

Fruit harvesting seems to be very delayed this year. Last year at this time we had harvested gooseberries, jostaberries,  blackcurrants, redcurrants, whitecurrants raspberries, tayberries and in May we had even picked our first strawberries.
This year the only fruit that we have harvested is strawberries, a few raspberries and a sprinkling of redcurrants. The fruit seems to be sulking due to lack of warmth and sunshine.

We have had plenty of strawberries but we are also finding mouldy fruits which have been spoiled by the rain beating down and the almost permanently damp conditions. The strawberries are lovely much tastier than the supermarket waterbags but they don't seem quite as sweet as fruit that has been picked warmed by the sun. I guess lack of sunshine means that the sugars haven't fully developed.
We have plenty of fruit set on the raspberries ...
... but these are slow to ripen and we are only picking a small number at each visit.
The tayberries also have set lots of fruit but again so far none has ripened. We don't net these fruits which usually ripen in sufficient numbers to satisfy both us and the birds but if they continue to ripen slowly then the danger is that the birds will get there before we do.

The gooseberries are turning the colours that we associate with ripeness - we have both red and green fruits. We test the fruits by first giving them a gentle squeeze - a ripe fruit isn't as rock solid as an immature fruit. Then if there is a little bit of 'give' we pick a fruit and taste it. A ripe fruit should be lovely and sweet. Martyn tried a fruit on our last allotment trip and pronounced them not yet ready.
I hope they don't suffer from lack of sunshine and resolutely refuse to sweeten.

Lots of the blackcurrant bushes have failed to set fruit this year or failed to produce the abundant crop that they usually have. Again the fruit is slow to ripen. Some currants look black but on closer inspection I realised that they weren't quite as black as ripe fruits should be.
Lots of redcurrants are now ripe so on our last dash down to the plot I started to pick some. The first task was to find my way under the netting (Martyn has a good excuse for leaving this job to me as he is too tall to creep into the 'cage'. Although they have produced quite a lot of fruit, the redcurrants don't appear to have developed the long strings that mean you can quickly pick a punnet full. Having established myself under the netting I set to picking only for the rain to start. I carried on in spite of the heavy drizzle but had to eventually admit defeat as the heavens opened. The result barely a full punnet.
I'm sure the blackbird was laughing at me as it chortled from a nearby perch. I'm sure they have managed to steal more by grabbing the fruits through the netting than I did.

21 comments:

  1. Oh my..what a great harvest!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here am I disappointed with what we have picked so far Bren.

      Delete
  2. I'm harvesting strawberries, and I've got some blackcurrants for the first time this year, not many, but still. The thing is, I don't really know what to do with them, they're not a fruit I would usually buy. I'm really looking forward to the blueberries ripening.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can use the blackcurrants in the same way as you would blueberries Jo. We make a compote and freeze them and use them to make fruit yoghurt and also on porridge too. You can make jams and jellies although this is something we don't eat the compote has much less sugar.

      You can make pies, cheesecakes, crumbles, ice cream add them to summer puddings with other fruit. Must admit though we don't mind a slightly tarty flavour.

      Delete
  3. Well, I aspire to ever have a harvest of fruit that looks anything like that! some of our raspberry canes from last year are looking a bit pasty and tired. Is this normal for canes in their second year or is there something we can do about it? Thanks Sue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you prune the canes last year Lee. If they are summer fruiting - fruit now, you need to cut all the canes that have fruit this year down to the ground. This will leave you with new - green canes which will fruit next year. If you end up with too many then thin them out to no more than 9 canes per plant.

      I've a bit about pruning raspberries on my website here

      Two year old canes should look healthy and produce more fruit than when they were young.

      Delete
  4. My fruit situation is about the same as yours - pretty pathetic - I am usually overwhelmed with redcurrants but there are hardly any and the blackcurrants are the same - gooseberries seem to be okay though. This year is definitely a write-off as far as soft fruits are concerned.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's frustrating isn't it - you wait all year and then! At least with the redcurrants we usually have more than enough and eventually take off the net and let the blackbireds in. <aybe not this year.

      Delete
  5. Wow, your harvest puts mine to shame! I've had probably 20 or 25 Strawberries IN TOTAL ! But then I've only got 4 plants. Maybe next year I will go for production in greater quantity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have 48 plants but that haul was mainly from 12 marshmello plants as the plants all fruit at slightly different times.

      Delete
  6. I have to agree. The conditions are too wet for softfruit, we have many strawberries rotting on the ground before we can pick them and you are right about the sweetness too!

    Not good, but better than nothing! :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm actually surprised that more of ours haven't rotted Martin

      Delete
  7. Oh heck, I turn my back for a few days and you have 17 posts for me to catch up on (yes, seventeen, :} )

    Somewhat reassured to read about your strawberries, I too have mouldy fruit and the flavour just isn't what we enjoyed last year. I thought it was probably the weather but you've confirmed that it's nothing I am doing wrong. I guess we are all just terribly lucky that if our crops fail we can go to a supermarket instead (not that I would buy soft fruit from a s/market these days but yo know what I mean).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certainly do know what you mean BW - supermarket fruit is useless - although I have to say we had some really tasty peaches last week.

      Delete
  8. Sorry the harvest hasn't lived up to expectations - weather can be a real pain. I have a great capacity for eating strawberries but even I would struggle to get through all those...perhaps in 2 or 3 sittings....I am willing the birds away from your tayberries. Its difficult in a problem year though isn't it - there probably isn't much of their normal fodder around either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We turn some into compote and freeze so we don't eat all the fruit fresh Liz. If we did we would turn red and freckly.

      Delete
  9. Your harvest looks pretty good. We've had the best fruit ever this year numbers-wise with the raspberries in particular going mad. Later than last year which was good for us as we missed quite a bit whilst on holiday last time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We just lack the sunshine to ripen things Damo - the strawberries are OK but the flavour and size of berries have been affected. Some berries are strange shapes meaning they have only been partially pollinated - OK for eating though. The quantity is there but not the quality. As for other fruit - plenty of fruit on the raspberries but hardly any ripening yet. Early top fruit though has been poor. I guess the photos don't show what is missing - if you know what I mean.

      Delete
  10. At least things are starting to ripen now though Sue...I feared at one point mine were going to stay green forever....I saw some colour when I popped down to water the greenhouse though so maybe soon I can have a fruitful visit (if the weather ever co-operates)!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, Tanya but as far as soft fruit goes sunshine adds sweetness, too much rain increases the water content meaning less flavour which I suppose is why supermarket fruit that is picked unripe is tatseless.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for the suggestions, Sue. I don't have many berries, but I'd like to do something with what I do have.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment - it is great to hear from you and know that there are people out there actually reading what I write! Come back soon.
(By the way any comments just to promote a commercial site, or any comments not directly linked to the theme of my blog, will be deleted)
I am getting quite a lot of spam. It isnot published and is just deleted. I have stopped sifting through it and just delete any that ends up in my spam folder in one go so I am sorry if one of your messages is deleted accidentally.
Comments to posts over five days old are all moderated.