Tuesday 28 April 2009


rhubarb flowers
Rhubarb - not a fruit

Although we have a lot of apple and pear trees on the farm, the apples are mostly for cider and too bitter to eat raw, the pears are either hard juicing or baking sorts or else the more succulent varieties are in a bad way from disease and neglect. The plums too, are very old, fickle in their flowering and the fruit is often ruined by moth larvae.

We've been concentrating on maintenance and vegetables and although we have plans for a glorious fruit cage there has as yet been no time or money to implement it.

However, all is not lost. We are researching ways of bringing our old trees back from the brink of the grave and we have managed to slip a few easy or gift fruits into the patch.

Simplest of these is the alpine strawberry which is practically a weed and very easy to grow. Unfortunately, the fruit are small and somewhat jealously gathered by birds but when you can find the odd missed jewel it's almost worth it.

strawberry flowers

The blueberry was a housewarming gift and although I was doubtful about managing its particular requirements for lime free soil and water it's done quite well. Wild bilberries grow in the woods so the soil can't be too alkaline here and a small sack of acid compost each autumn seems to have done the job. Lots of flowers this year so I'm hoping for a bumper crop if the blackbirds don't get there first.


The fig, Brown Turkey, was another gift. This is the first year it's formed fruits. I was surprised to see them after the very cold winter but there they are. With any luck they'll be soft and succulent by the end of summer.

figs - the first fruit

There were a couple of redcurrant bushes hanging on in the back garden of the cider house. Although one of the plants has since succumbed to I don't know what disease the other is bravely doing what it can. A handful of redcurrants can brighten up any pudding in the early summer.

green redcurrants

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