Sunday, 19 August 2007

Fruit from the garden

Our house, which is sixteen years old, is part of a group of houses built on the land of an old house with a big garden. The houses were built quite close together and so we have quite a small garden which is often in shadow from the adjacent homes and also from some large oak trees which border the footpath at the bottom of the garden.

When we first moved in I tried to grow some vegetables but soon found that the conditions were not ideal so I rent an allotment for vegetable growing. Our garden at home is mainly lawn with some flower borders but over the years I have gradually added some fruit. Although it will only ever produce small quantities I am really pleased this year with my little harvest from the garden.

As well as my Crab Apple tree I have two more apple trees.

This is a Bramley. I planted this tree four years ago. For the first two years I had absolutely nothing, last year I had just three apples and now this year it has done really well. A few apples fell of in the bad weather about a week ago and although they are not completely ripe yet, they cooked up very well.

This apple is from my dwarf apple tree. The tree is about eight years old and is around 4 feet tall. It usually has around 20 - 25 apples. I think the variety was Discovery, its an early apple and they are ready now, very crisp eaten straight from the tree.

I have a patch of autumn raspberries all of which come from one plant that I bought from a fruit farm when the children were small. I think it cost me £1 so I've had my money back many times over. Autumn raspberries are very easy to look after as they fruit on the current seasons growth. I cut the canes down to almost ground level in February and then do nothing else but wait. A tip I read a few years ago was that if some of the canes are not cut back completely, but just have their height reduced by half, then they will fruit earlier in the year. I usually do this leaving about a quarter of the canes longer and so extending the season although I only have the one variety.

I have a grape vine growing up the back (west facing) wall of the house. It did very well last year but this year although I had loads of flower, it has only a few bunches of small grapes.

I have lots of these wild or alpine strawberries. I'm not sure where these came from but they have spread throughout the garden and are a nice snack when I'm gardening.

Also growing in the garden is a blueberry bush which I planted in the spring and having almost run out of room in the back garden, last autumn I planted a plum tree in the front but no plums this year.

My allotment hasn't done so well this season with the slugs taking more than their fair share of some of my vegetables but I am really pleased with the fruit harvest.


the flour loft said...

Hi Willow,
It's so nice to see all the fruit you grow at home. The advice on autumn raspberries and prolonging the season is great.. thanks for that... if i can find some room i will try to get hold of some canes.
Thanks so much for the award too. am a bit behind on my posts.. enjoying the holiday pace...but will post about it soon.
best wishes

Moonroot said...

Interesting that we've had a similar experience to yours re crops this year. Our veggies have been pitiful (apart from some nice early broccoli, onions and my amazing blight-proof Sarpo Mira spuds). The endless rain and onslaught of slugs have put paid to just about everything else. However, most of the fruit has been outstanding - both soft fruit and top fruit. Our quince is dripping in fruit for the first time ever, and we have also got our first pears. Lots of apples coming too.
I too have autumn fruiting raspberries and find them much more productive than the summer ones - mostly because by the time the autumn ones fruit, the blackberries are ripe and the birds seem to favour those instead. Perhaps they think the raspberries are unripe blackberries and leave them? Either way I get more of the berries. Yum.

miss*R said...

do you use anything to stop the slugs? I garden organically and there are alot of things you can try to deter slugs and snails.
My strawberries are just starting to flower - it is still winter here in Australia. I have to net most of my fruit to keep our native possums away.

willow said...

Thanks for the comments.
It seems I'm not the only one that had problems wtih veg this year which I find strangely comforting as I was becoming a bit despondent about the fact that after gardening for many years I still couldn't get it right. I suppose nature always has the upper hand.
I agree the Autumn raspberries always seem to do well with little effort on my part and they seem untroubled by pests.
As for slug control, on my allotment I don't do anything and with the gravelly soil I usually get away with it, if the plants are healthy they can withstand a bit of nibbling!- but this year has just been too wet. In the garden I'm plagued by slugs, I've tried eggshells and this year coffee grounds but neither have really had much effect.

Lisa said...

Willow, those apples look devine! I have thought about planting some fruit trees here, but i need to do some garden renovating first! Enjoy your garden :)

Wild Rose said...

Hi Willow,

I love Bramley apples! They are one of the things that I miss living in Canada. I can't make a decent apple crumble because the apples don't have their flavour.

Enjoy your fruits.

Marie x

tash said...

What lovely apples - my mum used to grow Bramleys, James Grieve and Jonagold, we always had lots to put away in boxes.

We had a really good blackberry crop this year, probably because it's the third season for that plant. I'd love to get some more fruit, especially the odd apple tree and raspberries!

Enjoy your harvest!