Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
Fun With Fruit Trees.
When mom was looking after the Greenhouse at home and growing all the plants, before I had my Allotments, she always used to religiously coat the glass on the outside of the Greenhouse with a whitening solution to keep it cool as the Summer heat built up. Sometimes when she reminded me in the following years and I would do it, but it’s a bit like me remembering to put on the Grease Bands in the Autumn, or early Spring. I know it should be done every year, but I just never seem to get round to it. Well this year I remembered to put the Grease Bands on the fruit Trees and the other week I put the whitewash on the Greenhouse glass to keep it cool. That’s probably why we have not been having much of a Summer! We even had a couple of near frosts in the night at the end of July with some very cold days that would have been more suited to Autumn, not midsummer.
However, it is still Summer and I have been doing a little Summer pruning on my fruit trees. I have been tying long Canes horizontally between posts and then selecting, tying and cutting suitable branches, so that the trees grow with their branches spread out like arms. These “Espalier,” trees are mostly grown at home against the gardens fences to make the best use of limited space in the garden. I do have a few smaller trees done like this on my Allotment as well and recently I bought 4 more posts so that I could start training the 2 little Fig Trees that are up there with the other trees that have already been done. It is really the wrong time to prune Figs though, as they will bleed badly when cut at this time of the year. It is far better to prune them in late Winter, before the sap rises, but I did want to start shaping them up before they put on too much wasteful growth.
To go with the little wild Plum tree suckers that are doing well on my Allotment, I dug up some Quince suckers, at Oak Tree, to grow on for hedging, if they take. In years to come they won’t have the big fruits that named varieties would, but they should be good for wildlife and suitable for a wet spot in a hedge somewhere at Oak Tree.
On the subject of Oak Tree and fruit, I planted a small Apple tree there a few days ago that had been growing on in a pot at home and was waiting for a suitable space on my Allotment. It was one that I had tried Grafting, or rather Budding, a different variety onto. The Graft had not taken and as I had too much fruit already on my Allotment, they had it. It is O.K. to plant fruit trees, or indeed any type of tree mid season as long as they have a good root ball on them and they have been grown in a pot and have not been just potted. Even worse, would be to plant trees now if they are Bare Root. It is always best to move them when they are dormant in the Winter though.
As with the Soft fruit, the Apple trees seem to have a good crop coming even though they have all shed so many young fruit in the “June Drop.” I recently had a good picking from my small Cherry tree as well. The variety is “Morrello,” which is a very old and reliable type, but it is an acid type, or Cooker. That means the Cherries are not sweet enough for eating from the tree and are best cooked in pies or jams. Many people don’t realise that both Gooseberries and Cherries have dessert and cooking varieties, the same as for Apples. I didn’t stone the Cherries before putting them into the freezer and hope they will stone easily when they are removed after thawing and they have softened ready for cooking. The Kernel’s of the Cherries do contain Cyanide, but it is a very small amount and you would need to eat hundreds and hundreds of Cherries before you ate enough to harm you. Words of warning though, if you do cook them with the stones in, they are extra hot when you eat them as the stones hold the heat!
I know I am harping on a bit about birds getting caught, but another bird was caught in some Strawberry netting on the Allotments the other day and I had to release it. This time it was only a few feet from my own Strawberries where I had left a few odd berries on the plants just for the birds! That bird was definitely “Bird Brained!”