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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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Yet More Fruit?

I was quietly sitting on my bench one morning, contemplating life and wondering if my Tay Berries were ripe enough to pick, when, I heard a faint rustle. Looking round I saw a tiny mouse scamper out of the undergrowth. It quickly ran from between my feet and headed for a fallen Tay Berry. Munching away, he was totally oblivious to me until something spooked him and then off he went. Obviously he thought they were ready to eat! With that, I tried a couple and was not that impressed. They were lovely big berries, but unless they were very ripe they seemed a bit bland. Still, I suppose they are good for the freezer and cooking. Picking them had to be done carefully as the plants are every bit as spite-full as the Blackberries to which they are related. After picking a bowl full, I looked at the Black berries a few feet away, along the fence. Covered in flowers and alive with the buzzing of bees, I guess they will yield plenty of fruit as well in a few weeks. 

My other popular fruits also seem to have done well. The freezer has several large bags of Gooseberries in it already and as a fiend wanted some, I picked a load for him and then topped up the bucket with strawberries forgetting that his wife has a severe allergy to them. She only has to touch a Strawberry and it is a hospital job, so I couldnít give that bucket full. I wasnít going to take any chances by removing the strawberries and then giving the Gooseberries to him, especially as he is a policeman! So, the next day I had to pick a fresh lot in a clean bucket and by this time I must have picked over 20 lbs pounds of ripe Gooseberries from several bushes leaving the very green ones for another week. However, another friend wanted some green and tart ones for his wife to make jam out of. So, between us we picked another 2 buckets full from just one big bush! And still there were a few more left on other bushes! I then decided to remove a couple of the smaller Gooseberry bushes as I had far too many!
Elsewhere, one of my Goji Berry bushes had won a reprieve last month, but I did remove a smaller one and took it home and potted it to give to someone else at a later date. Also at home I removed a big Goji and then re-planted the hole with an Aca Selowiana (or Pineapple Guava.) I had been trying to think of a good place to plant one for a year, or two as they like warm, sunny and dryish conditions. The plant is evergreen with attractive flowers and the fruit is said to be edible and even quite tasty. It is another little tree that I grew from some special fruit tree seeds that I bought a couple of years ago. I had to dig a big hole though and remove some of the tired soil and replace it, with a mixture of, potting compost mixed with soil, to rejuvenate it and give the plant a chance because the soil must have become very impoverished over the years.
My ordinary Red Strawberries did very well, and although I didnít weigh them, I guess that I picked about the same amount as last year. 
Some people have been picking their Early Raspberries, but as mine were only planted in the middle of last year they have not got established yet. They didnít really have chance to settle in before the winter and put on any fruiting canes for this season. Consequently, I shanít get any fruit from them until next year.
The Grape vines, both on my Allotment and at home have produced phenomenal amounts of lush growth this year and I have had to keep pruning them back time and time again. Hopefully, we will have a warm and dry Autumn that will produce some good bunches of grapes. Several of the new plot holders have already got their eyes on my vines and asked if they produce real Grapes! Some more new friends to be made!

The Birds nearly stripped one Redcurrant bush on my plot, but I have done well on a big one at home picking over 8 lbs from it. The Black Currants seem to be producing bucket loads as well, although the different variety bushes are ripening at different times, which is a good thing, but wasnít planned. I never think about the specific fruiting times when buying plants which is silly, because they are usually detailed somewhere on the labels and such information can be very useful if thought about. That is one of my big faults. I love growing everything, but donít plan things properly, consequently I am forever planting things only to find that they are either an unsuitable variety, or simply the wrong plant in the wrong place.

 

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