Sunday, 31 July 2011
Enormously surprised to find Beth crop starting to yellow and fall so early. This is still July for Heaven's sake! Ate the first one, not great quality, dry, little juice, none of the usual buttery quality, due to poor sun levels and leaving too long on tree. Picked all those with signs of yellow - 1.8 kg picked so far.
Decided to pick the whole crop a couple of days later, the additional crop was a further 2kg, meaning the total was a bare 4kg. Last year was a bit better 5kg, but way short of the 7 kg in 2009.
The Morettini were also starting to fall, creating a wasp hazard on the pavement outside, so I decided to pick any that were a decent size or flushed. These weighed in at 4kg. Flavour has been poor, due to lack of sun. Will be interesting to see of the ones left on the tree improve in the few days of sunshine.
Friday, 29 July 2011
A terrible year for pear scab, mostly affecting foliage. The usual suspects all succumbed, but to a worse degree, and others varieties suffered for the first time. Worst affected are Santa Claus and Devoe, but Fondante d'Automne and Beurré Gris d'Hiver Nouveau have also showing a lot of yellow/blackened foliage. I think the explanation lies in the very warm spring, which encouraged a lot of soft growth which has succumbed during the colder, more humid months of true summer. Only the fruits of Santa Claus are affected, and only in a particularly dank corner.
Slightly disappointing results for codling moth control. Picked several bored fruits off Pixy and Orlean's Reinette. I've come to the conclusion that the worst affected varieties are those where fruit is bourn in clusters that are very tight, sheltering the caterpillers sufficiently to bore into the fruitlets hidden from predators. I think the nematode treatment was worth doing, as I haven't found any on varieties other than these two yet. In future, I think I'll try spraying these varieties individually, using pheromone traps to identify when the adult moths are on the wing.
This is turning out to be a very strange season. Fruiting times are very unpredictable - some varieties are ripening extra early, catching me unawares. St Edmund's Pippin is a whole month early, as I discovered when my cockerels ate all the fruit they could eat near the ground, plus the blackbirds had made some holes further up. I left Irish Peaches far too long on the tree, with the result that they were all pithy and flavourless when I tried them, with the inedible, leathery skin I'd expect in such a dry season. Meanwhile, my early pear Morrettini shows no sign of ripening yet. Most of the fruit appears undersized, pears in particular, and I suspect will have unpleasant skins. Meanwhile, we picked our earliest ever greengage yesterday, and the crop on both our standard plums is heaviest we have had to date.
Friday, 15 July 2011
Small crop from Vista Bella (having a partial biennial year off), but having any sort of home-grown apple before the middle of July must be a record. Very nicely ripened, considering these were on the shady side. Nice balance of sweetness and acidity, slight 'strawberry' flavour, flesh and skin soft, with no trace of bitterness found in some summer reds.
Not a lot to say other than I always look forward to my desert gooseberries, which come just after the currants and strawberries have finished, and fill the 'hungry gap'. I should grow more desert varieties, I'm sure there are bigger, juicier and even sweeter cultivars than Whinham's, but it's reliable and easy.