Monthly Archives: September 2014

Taming the rampant raspberries


In our fruit cage we have four beds of raspberries, one each of early, mid, and late season summer fruiting sorts, and one for autumn fruiting varieties. Each is around 9 by 5 feet, with a double row planted down the centre, around 2 feet apart. Some already have strawberries along the outside edge and all of them are intended to have them in due course. The raspberries vary in vigour but some of them are quite rampant, spreading out to take over the area reserved for the strawberries. Something needed to be done to keep them under control. Continue reading

St Edmund’s Pippin


Amongst our collection of traditional apple varieties, St Edmund’s Pippin has done particularly well this year. It is an early to mid season russet that keeps for just a couple of weeks. During that period, it is a remarkably fine dessert apple. It takes its name from Bury St Edmunds, where it was raised by a Mr Harvey. The exact date appears not to be known, but it is reckoned to be shortly before 1875, in which year it was introduced and received a first class certificate from the RHS. That makes it one of the youngest of our varieties, but it is doubtless one of the finest. Rather more recently, in 1993, it was awarded an AGM, so a good indicator of its generally reliable characteristics. Continue reading

Roasted beetroot and shallots

We are both very keen on beetroot. It is an easy crop, reliable, taking up little space, and offering a harvest over a long period; all great qualities for the kitchen garden. The ubiquitous harshly pickled stuff is nasty and really does no justice to the sweet earthy roots. We most often treat it rather simply, boiling until tender, removing the skins, chopping or slicing and dressing lightly whilst still warm. This is ideal served as a side dish or as an ingredient in salads. However, they are equally good raw and great when roasted. Continue reading

Tidying up the fruit

Over the last couple of weeks we have been tidying up some of the fruit in the kitchen garden. Whilst our orchard trees will be grown as bushes or half standards, along with full sized specimens of chestnut, walnut, and mulberry, all of the fruit in the kitchen garden is trained in some sort of restricted form. Various fruits were in need of attention – the cordon apples and pears were overdue for their summer pruning, the figs in the glasshouse had become rather large and unlikely to be productive next year, and training wires, which should have been in place before planting, are missing in various parts of the garden, some of which we have now fixed. Continue reading

Flowering cherry

I know the weather has been a bit odd of late, but I was more than a little surprised to find a handful of flowers on one of our cherry trees. These were planted a couple of years ago along the boundary fence of the fruit cage, where the netting would keep the birds from stripping the crop before we could get to them. They are still small trees and need a couple more years to develop their complete framework, but the growth that is present is, for the most part, healthy and vigorous. Continue reading