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The Fruit Harvest.

Rhubarb was of course the first fruit to be harvested, if you can call it a fruit and mine did well this year with the cool weather in the Spring suiting it nicely. However, I am leaving it now to leaf up and put energy back into the plants ready for next years harvesting. When it dies back, with all the leaves coming off, in the Autumn, I will fork plenty of fresh Horse Manure round the Crowns, but not on them. This mulch will not only suppress the weeds for next year, but will enrich the soil ready for the new seasonís growth.

Of the berries, the Red Currants and White Currants cropped first at home followed shortly afterwards by the Gooseberries. This year, very unusually, there was no sign of Gooseberry Sawfly resulting in a particularly good crop with over 40 lbs coming off just 3 bushes! Plenty for my freezer, and to be generous with, by passing a few bags round my friends and family. I have gone from eating Rhubarb Crumbles to Gooseberry Crumbles!

My short row of Tay berry plants were much better looking this year with the growth of the plants more solid, making a better, fuller looking row and they cropped quite well. Usefully, they are quite an early fruit cropping about the same time as the early Raspberries, although my early Raspberries still arenít doing anything yet, after planting last year.

The Black Currant bushes havenít harvested all at the same time with different varieties having different fruiting times. Some were ready mid July and some I am only picking now at the end of July.

Thinning of my Apples to encourage better fruit is a job that I usually forget to do, but this year it was done. However, I was a little late pruning the trees as the fruit started to develop. Itís a job that should have been a little earlier. The same can be said for my Grape Vines both at home and on my Allotment as I have only just done those as well. As for Apples, and indeed most fruit, bulky growth has to be removed and fruit numbers reduced, although with Grapes it is obviously whole bunches of grapes that you remove. It may seem a bit drastic, but if you leave all the tiny bunches on none of them will develop full sized Grapes.

I have picked the first of the Strawberries, but they are really a waste of time this year with very little growth on the plants since they were moved. Hopefully, the plants will be more mature next year and will fruit properly.

For quite a few years I have had a self fertile Kiwi Vine of the variety ďJenny,Ē at home on the corner of a wall. It was moved a couple of years ago, but put on a lot of new growth, is still quite large and looks well established, but it has never had any signs of fruit on. A few days ago I was a little upset to see a friends plant that had got a couple of dozen fruit developing nicely. I donít know what differences there are in the growing conditions to make his fruit and not mine, but I was quite jealous. To rub salt into the wound, his plant actually came from a cutting that I rooted off mine! It does prove that although the Kiwi is thought of as an exotic fruit, it will happily fruit in the U.K. though.

Speaking of exotic fruit, my Espalier trained Apricot tree that is growing on an East facing wall, is fruiting developing nicely. Some of the fruits are starting to colour up and turn yellowish

The large Fig tree that is also at home has fruit that are swelling, but they wonít be ready until September at the earliest. The 3 small Fig trees on my Allotment are shaping up nicely, but showing no signs of fruit yet, because they are too small. However, one of my Mulberry trees at home has produced a couple of small punnets of its unusual little black berries. They are lovely to eat, but are as bad as Black Currants and Blackberries for staining your fingers!
The various Blackberry bushes have all got embryo fruit developing, but will be a few weeks yet before they are ready as will the Medlars. Both the big Medlar tree at home and the little one on my Allotment are covered in fruit so with most of the other fruit doing well it looks like being a good year generally for fruit.


 

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