Most of the work we’ve done this week has oddly been to do with fruit. I suppose it’s that time of year, we have given the fruit trees and fruit plants our priority mainly so we can protect the emerging crop.
The strawberry plants on plot one have been flowering for a couple of weeks now and it won’t be long before fruit starts to form. Once the berries start to ripen, the brightly coloured soft fruit is easy pray for hungry birds. To me, netting strawberry plants is essential.
This year we wanted a much more simple and aesthetically pleasing structure than last year. Last year we had a huge ‘very allotment’ cage structure. With the exceptionally strong winds we experienced, it ended up resembling something like the leaning Tower of Pisa! Picking fruit was a challenge as we would get tangled up in the metres of side netting as we entered the cage and it was impossible to stand up. So we found the hoops from last years brassica cage and used those. We placed a fruit ‘grade’ net over the top and pinned it down. This should allow the bees to continue to pollinate the flowers and provide easy access for us. We can simply lift the net, pick the fruit and replace. Not perfect, but it certainly looks better and is much more practical than last years effort!
Last year the fruit trees on the orchard plot produced a lot of young fruit in April/May however, the baby fruits fell from the tree in June. Something known as June drop. The tree literally ‘drops’ any diseased or damaged fruit from the tree. At the time we were new to fruit trees and knew absolutely nothing about June drop. We were horrified that literally 5 pears, and a single plum remained. All the cherries had been eaten by the birds!
In a bid to bring the trees back to health we pruned them in the summer and this year I decided to spray them with seaweed fertilizer. I’m hoping this will help give the leaves and the fruit some ‘organic’ protection against disease and help aid fruit development. I have no idea if it will help, but I don’t like chemical sprays so I thought it was worth a try. We will see if it’s helped come June.
The emerging cherries
And emerging pears
We have finally tied in the unruly tayberries. We removed the old structure, dug the bed, removed all weeds, added larger posts and then piled a large bag of our own compost around the plants roots. Shortly afterwards we had a visitor. A very friendly baby robin.
Before ‘Octopussy’ was tied in
We probably need to put in a better structure next year to help improve the air circulation. But at least we will no longer get snagged every time we pass by! I think we will net the plants shortly.
We also planted our 6 raspberry plants on the orchard plot.
We will build a support structure for them shortly.
This is what a rhubarb flower looks like if left on the plant. I was passing an abandoned plot and saw this magnificent flowering spire.
It’s an extremely tall flower spike, with ‘pomegranate seed’ type flowers that dangle down and glisten in sun. It’s rather unusual, almost out of this world, yet strangely beautiful when seen up close.