Fruit

In the excitement of having, for the first time in my life, the chance to have an orchard, I realise in hindsight that planting 20 fruit trees was complete foolishness.  What on earth will we do with all the fruit if they all produce??
Even if we can’t eat/ give away/ preserve all the fruit, they are still attractive trees. This is the Golden Delicious apple – the first tree I planted 8 years ago.
It is really special to pick and eat fruit from the garden. I’ve just finished reading a book about insects and the effect of pesticides and other sprays and was horrified to read about a study that found 17 different chemicals on grapes in a supermarket.

We’ve just finished the last of the cherries. They were delicious- such fun to stand under the tree and eat them! This is the first real crop we have had  (planted 7 years ago) and very little thievery from the birds, so I have had enough to freeze some, and to experiment with making crystallised cherries for baking. We have three different varieties, but this one (Biggareau Van) is the oldest and so far the only one which has produced.Last year we had an incredible crop of apples, and only a few pears.  This year it is the opposite – masses of pears and fewer (though certainly enough for us) apples.  Conference pear is laden with fruit.The espaliered William Pear is also producing well this year. 
Fewer fruit on the espaliered apples, but that was expected given the severe pruning we gave them in winter.
The grapes, as usual, grow at the most incredible pace. Last year we had a real problem with bees and wasps in the trellis as we could not keep up with all the bunches of grapes that formed. So this year I have pruned really hard – cutting out hundreds of small bunches and leaving only 30
The grape over the little pergola is not such a problem – somehow the wasps did not like this as much and the grapes were delicious juiced – so I have not removed as many bunches.

The first flush of strawberries is just about over – what a fantastic crop we have had this year!  Now the raspberries are starting to produce, so it is good timing.  One of my favourite fruits!

The “thug” in my garden is the rhubarb. Once a year I give it a good dose of manure, then I leave it – very occasionally giving it some water in the driest parts of summer, but nothing else. It is huge!
The fig tree is laden with fruit.  With no late frost this year we  have an enormous crop developing.
The nut trees took a beating from strong winds, but still a reasonable crop on the walnuts. In the foreground are hazelnuts, then three quince trees which I dug up in Sue’s garden in Florence. First few quinces on them this year. 
The bees which are so critical for the production of fruit are certainly not threatened in our part of the world.  Our own hives are strong this year, and there are masses of bumblebees and native bees too.  Poppies, which sprouted in my lasagne (the fill I am creating with compost in the vegetable garden) have been a favourite this year.

 

 

 

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