Saturday, 15 November 2008

Review of the fruit year.

Some of the fruit did very well this year, but the frosts at blossom time, followed by so much cold wet weather didn't do any favours. However, saying that, I am pleased with the harvest I managed out of my small space this year, and I've been thinking of how I can improve on it in the coming year.
Cherries - The tree is still relatively young, so it is not giving us a full crop yet. We picked around 25 ripe cherries, but unfortunately due to a period of heavy rain just before harvest, many of these were split. They tasted delicious, and gave us an idea of what to look forward to.
Grapes- I was very pleased with these this year. Despite seeing bunches of mouldy grapes hanging in the local vineyards, mine ripened perfectly. I must curb the tendency to pick too quickly, they didn't really develop a good level of sugar until the 1st week in October. With the forecast of high winds we finally decide to pick the whole lot about 12th Oct, washed and picked them over, before storing on a tray in the fridge. We ate them over the next 3 weeks, with few going off.
Blackcurrants - Ben Sarek and Ben something else! I didn't expect to get many this year, as they were only planted in spring. We should really have pruned them right back, but Dans was desperate for jam. In another post I mention the jam, blackcurrant and blackberry, very nice. I'm looking forward to increased yields this coming year.
Plums - Neither tree produced any fruit this year, the frosts were against us. Fingers crossed for next year. the trees are going much more vigorously than I expected, pruning gets away from me!
Blackberries - Very pleased with the size and taste this year, especially as we only had one fruiting cane. There are more canes this year, so the crop should be a more useful size, although blackberry ice cream featured heavily on the menu.
Strawberries - A dead loss this year, the slugs got most of them despite nematode treatment. The plants look healthy and produced flowers and runners galore. I'm trying containers next year in the hope of getting a crop. The pink flowered ones are still going strong, but I've yet to taste one of those!
Raspberries - The autumn ones are still producing the occasional berry, lovely flavour, we just need more canes. As it was the only one that survived, hopefully I'll be able to propagate more for next year.
The summer flowering ones, Glen Ample, did not live up to their name this year, and were not as sweet as autumn bliss, but we have a lot more canes for next year, so hopefully we will get a worthwhile crop.
Blueberries - Two different varieties are supposed to cross pollinate, so I am hoping that the two bushes in containers will really get going next year. They are in ericaceous compost, watered with rain water and fed with bokashi juice. We got a small crop this year, lovely with Greek yogurt.
Cranberries - I live in hope with these. They were bought on impulse from Woolies, and still haven't flowered in the 3 years I've had them. They are planted at the based of one of the blueberries, and look very healthy, perhaps next year I will be lucky.
Rhubarb - veg or fruit, I treat it as fruit, so here it stays. I feel it's beginning to establish now, after a disastrous 1st year, when it flowered. I think it is important to keep it well fed, and give it enough space. This year it was crowded at peak time with potato pots, so I am going to treat it with proper respect next year.
Cobnuts - I was really surprised to harvest 5 nuts this year, as they had only been in one season. Interestingly they were falling, ripe, to the ground, in the second week in September, earlier than I would have thought. Plenty of catkins showing now, so hopefully a good lot of flowers will develop. The bushes did not put on much top growth, so no need to prune yet.
Lemons - I really mistreated my lemon tree last winter, it stayed outside the whole time, and lost most of it's leaves. I already have it undercover now, so hopefully it will do better next year.
Peach - This is an experiment, as it is a self grown seedling from this year, which is already 4ft tall. Pruned, confined to a pot, and undercover, I am hopeful it will do well, although it may not fruit at all.

No comments: