Monday, 18 September 2017



Summer has just about gone, or maybe we are still waiting for it to arrive, once that rain goes off. However it has been warm enough, so all plant growth has been luxuriant, but we need sunshine to build up sweetness in our autumn fruits
Apple Discovery
before we pick them. Pollination of most fruits was really good as we came through a mild winter to be followed by a brilliant spring so there were plenty of bees around to assist pollen transfer and no late frosts so fruit potential was good. Only my new peach tree, Avalon Pride let me down. Flowers were very late for a peach, but that should have been beneficial as there were plenty pollinators flying around, but maybe with so much flowers to choose from my peach blossom did not impress them. Even though I did my daily hand pollination I still only got one peach, but as it was a cracker this tree may yet prove to be a winner.
Apple Oslin
Apples of every kind were a mass of flowers in spring then branches got laden down with young fruitlets. This got a wee bit of thinning in July at the natural June drop, but after settling down all trees were still packed with fruit so I did a massive hand thinning at the end of July. Trees are still heavy with apples but now with a decent size. The Oslin (also known as the Arbroath Pippin) was ready in August, but suffered badly in the wet summer so brown rot took out a lot of apples. Discovery, my next early variety to ripen up by early September gave a great crop of bright red apples with excellent flavour but lack of sunshine held back sweetness.
Pears ripening up
Red Devil, Fiesta and Red Falstaff will hang on the tree a fair bit longer hoping that at some point a period of prolonged sunshine will fall upon us and provide us with a sweet crop of apples.
Pears fared somewhat sporadically as my tree (Comice and Conference) had also been grafted with the Christie and Beurre Hardy. It seems either they take a fair time to settle down or there could be a compatibility issue as some branches have good pears and others are totally barren. Unfortunately over time the labels have been weathered beyond recognition so I do not know which is the culprit.
Plum Victoria
However to help matters out I grafted some of these barren branches with Concorde which are now growing happily but may be a couple of years before they flower.
Plums seem to be having a good year, with both plenty growth and now heavy crops. My plum Victoria planted in the dormant season failed to grow. Put down to bad choice of supplier, so a new one will be purchased this winter but from a reliable source.
Figs are again cropping very happily and should continue for a few more weeks, despite the wet weather. My first fig was ready at the beginning of August and so far I have had over 130 ripe fruits from one bush of Brown Turkey grown outdoors against a south facing wall. Ripeness is easy to determine as the fruit colours up and then droops so it gets picked before it falls off. It is a great help to have them ripen over a long season, but you still get a glut when Anna needs to cut them in half before a slow roast for an hour, then once they cool down they get bagged up and frozen for future use.
Peach Avalon Pride
Autumn Raspberry Autumn Bliss and Polka still continue to fruit giving us large berries to eat fresh and freeze surplus.
Outdoor grape Brant, Regent and Rondo have all got plenty of bunches of big grapes but really need sunshine to sweeten them up. In the greenhouse Black Hamburg also has a great crop desperately looking for more sunshine. However we still have a few more weeks so fingers crossed.
Spraying weedkiller

Wee jobs to do this week

Weed control has been a big problem this summer due to the wet weather combined with warmth so with good germination and growth of most weeds, it has been hard to keep them under control. They are now slowing down so remove them and dump on the compost heap unless they are perennial weeds. Paths and patios can still get a glyphosate spray if you can get two dry days together, so the chemical has time to get absorbed by the leaves before the rain washes it off. The chemical is not absorbed by the roots.


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