That’ll put the price of apples up! By Debbie Cooke
By: Steve Ott
Oh it’s so British to complain about the weather, are we never satisfied? We need the right kind of rain and at the right time!!!
At the beginning of the year we were complaining about drought and I was urging my clients to get water butts and save all the water they could. Now is the time of year when we should be complaining that we have to water our veg to get the plump harvest we desire. Not this Year! If the forecasters are right it will be September before we get the Summer we’ve all been waiting for.
“But what will this mean for our harvest?”
When one of our ‘Village Elders’ told me recently that top fruit crops are abysmal this year, I had to admit that I hadn’t really noticed. Upon close inspection of my own I realised that she was right.
My plum tree, which has never been very productive, has no fruit at all this year and is generally looking a bit sorry for itself. My espaliered apples, neatly trained across the south facing wall of our stone outbuilding, are usually laden with fruit. This year, however, one wouldn’t even need to take ones socks off the count the yield.
I’m not alone; the usually prolific sweet cherry which grows in front of my in-laws house and makes a great feast for blackbirds and squirrels, is also looking pretty sparse.
“Can we blame the weather? Yes we can!”
After a warm start this year, the weather turned wet and cold, just when we needed the pollinators out in force. The torrential rain last month caused rather more of a ‘deluge’ than the usual ‘drop’ we get in June. No need to thin this year!
What little there is should plump up nicely if the present conditions persist but it also needs some sun to ripen and make it sweet, the forecast should suit the later ripening varieties to a ‘T’.
“What can we do to make the best of a bad situation? “
If your espaliers have gone barmy like mine, summer prune now to encourage them to put their energy into what fruit remains.
Keep them weed free and IF we do get some dry weather make sure they have plenty of water. Now is not the usual time to feed fruit trees but a high potassium feed might just help to strengthen the tree and encourage fruiting.
Keep a close eye on general health and tackle any pests & diseases as soon as possible.
It’s not all bad news!
Apparently the gooseberries are lovin’ it!!! Of course they are happy enough without too much sunshine and all this rain has plumped them beautifully.
Raspberries are starting to ripen but need a lot more sunshine as do the strawberries, that is if there are any left to ripen.
You know that squirrels will find a way in where blackbirds fear to tread. But green strawberries is a new one on me, they are getting under the netting and running off with them!
Let’s hear from you about your top fruit, is it just in my area or are we all suffering from lack of apples, cherries, pears and plums?
Visit Debbie’s website at: www.creativegardendesign.co.uk
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