Our Backyard Orchard
A trip up to my favorite garden center, Thyme and Place Garden Center, yesterday resulted in the purchase of two new Loganberry plants (the variety seems to be called ‘Thornless AGM’, rather unimaginatively) for our berry corner. Here they are, newly-planted in; the two pairs of bare brown sticks on the right of this pic:
Berry Bushes and Rhubarb
We have two small bushes are both blackcurrants (not sure of the variety). One was bought two years ago and planted out last year, along with the other, which was successfully grown from a cutting off the first. There was a modest crop last year, most of which went to the birds as I forgot to invest in a fruit-net – not a mistake I’ll be making again this year.
We have a mature rhubarb crown (again, can’t remember the variety, but I think it might be Timperley) is just bursting back into life.
It’s two years old as well; I grew it in a container in year one and planted it out last year: that being its first full year in the ground I didn’t harvest any of the stalks (good advice there from Dad-in-law), in the interests of allowing the crown to establish properly.
This year I’ll harvest lightly, and then next year I might divide the crown. And to the right of that plant, still hidden beneath the winter leaf-mold, are two other new crowns of Rhubarb ‘Stockbridge Arrow’ that I planted back in December. No sign of life from either one just yet, but its early days, so my fingers are still crossed. I definitely won’t be harvesting anything from those two until next year at the earliest.
Our Fruit Trees
1. Apple ‘Discovery’ – bought as a 2 yr old, planted three winters ago. Moderate cropper so far, but still establishing itself.
2. Crab Apple ‘John Downie’ – bought and planted in December as a cross-pollinator for the two apples (and for the crab apple jelly potential).
3. Apple ‘Bloody Ploughman’ – bought and planted at the same time as the Discovery, it’s in the same pollination group, but seems to blossom about a month later than the ‘Discovery’ – and last year didn’t blossom at all – so it’s not as good a cross-pollinator as I’d hoped (hence the new crab apple).
4. Damson ‘Shropshire Prune’ – another new addition last December. I both love damsons, and we’re hoping this self-pollinator will quickly establish and crop well in years to come.
Strawberries and Raspberries
Back in December, I decided to plant up one of our brand new raised beds with a (hopefully) permanent roster of strawberries (a column of ‘Royal Sovereign’ and ‘Cambridge Favorite’) with a half-dozen Raspberry ‘Autumn Bliss’ in the middle to extend the fruit-growing season.
We have a new strawberry planter, which we planted up last year with a dozen plants (variety unknown). They were very tasty indeed, whatever type they are.
We also have a couple of mature strawberry ‘Loran’ in the middle one of the three wall baskets in the background and a couple of spare ‘Cambridge Favourite’ in the right-hand one.
Blueberries and Cranberries
These two Blueberry ‘Goldtraube’ were bought last year and planted in large containers in order to make it easier to control the levels of acidity in the soil (mainly through the judicious addition of much-diluted used coffee grounds, courtesy of Starbucks).
And then in January, I underplanted them with three Cranberry ‘Earliblack’ plants, after refreshing the compost with an ericaceous mix. The theory is that blueberries grow upwards whilst cranberries grow outwards, so with any luck we’ll have a good companion setup there.
And finally, this is a new-planted Blackberry ‘Loch Ness’, a spineless, climbing variety that we hope to train up a nearby trellis. We’ve actually got wild brambles growing over the back fence from the wasteland behind our garden, but their berries aren’t particularly large or sweet – only really edible as stewing-fruit, although that in itself is fine – no luck yet with climbing flowering plants in that spot, so we agreed that we’d see if we could establish a fruiting climber instead.
So, there you go: this year we’re looking forward to harvesting plenty of tasty crumble-ingredients, just so long as I remember to invest in some suitable netting and support materials before the wood doves, magpies, and blackbirds that frequent our garden get at them.
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