It is the time of year when fruit is abundant and I start thinking of making more jam. One of the favourites is a spiced blackberry and apple jam, it has a lovely taste reminding you of Christmas.
My next jam I wasn’t too sure about because the weather was so difficult in the spring. I have had the fig tree in the garden for more than 30 years and it never disappoints. I pruned it early in the spring as the instructions said, it was getting too tall and some of the fruit on the furthest branches was wasted, I couldn’t reach it even with the picker. I could see quite a lot of little figs and was hoping that a good few of the will ripen. For quite a while it didn’t look like it, I think the cold spring affected it a lot. But the other day I had a very pleasant surprise – I saw a large ripe fig and when I had another good look I saw even more of them. In the end I picked 1,5 kilo of them, enough ro make five jars of jam. This jam is a pure delight.
The last path to be filled with wood chip is ready, the edges are built with planks of wood from a dismantled fencing panel so today I could concentrate on the fruit cage. I’ve had this cage now for a good number of years and it needed sorting out. Some of the blackcurrant bushes were getting too old, they had to go. Blueberries are a super food, I like them and we put them on our porridge every morning so I bought a few new bushes. Early and late varieties and planted them in the cage. I already had some of them there. Now I have two standard red gooseberries, a redcurrant, two white currants and a jostaberry. That is only a cutting, I haven’t had any fruit from it so I live in hope.
I’m always amazed how well the weeds grow – even though I thought I managed to pull them all out, they came back. I cleared them again. That done, I wanted to put pieces of wood all along the bottom. The netting is buried in the soil and pinned down but this is for extra security, in case some little bird or a mouse should find a gap to get in.
Spring is here, I just hope my Asian pear tree isn’t bursting into flower too soon – we might get some late frosts.
After my visit to the allotment yesterday I decided to harvest some of the squashes and perhaps something else, depending on the weather.
I wasn’t disappointed. I got a number of different squashes, found some courgettes, picked apples and took a couple of blueberry bushes there from a nursery. Thanks to this I came in the car – any other day I always walk to my allotment, it is so near. Today I was glad of the car, the haul was rather impressive.
The soft fruit on the allotment is well organised and ready for the spring.
Raspberries have been planted on a separate plot, in double rows and the paths between the rows lined with a membrane to (try) to stop the weeds from invading. It has been great, I had hardly any weeds there! The canes are contained in the rows by some wire and that is holding them back, all this makes picking them much easier.
Rhubarb crowns are resting , if next year’s harvest is as good as this one was I’ll be happy. There are three young fruit trees beside the rhubarb – a plum, a pear and a cooking apple. All had some fruit this year so I’m hoping for much more next year.
A large part of one plot is taken by a fruit cage, this is a must on our site as we have a large number of pigeons and they would strip the fruit off before we know it is there. I found out the hard way during my first year there – I had a red currant bush in the middle of one plot, an obviously mature one and very soon I started noticing some currants, they were just turning pink. Next day – nothing! That drove me to getting the fruit cage and moving all fruit bushes there – red, white and black currants, gooseberries, fourberries and blueberries. It was worth the effort, the harvest was great this year. All the fruit is either frozen, eaten fresh or made into jams.
Last but not least are the strawberries. It is quite amazing how much can be harvested from jus three beds. When I first started gardening on my plot I was given enough plants to make one bed – the original plants multiplied and this summer I had 30 kg of sweet juicy strawberries. Delicious!