Monthly Archives: March 2015

Grafting the mystery apple tree

I have written before about our mystery apple tree and our attempts to identify it. Every now and then I look at the tree and wonder whether it might be worth rejuvenating it with some serious pruning. However, long before we moved into the house, the tree had evidently been hacked back to the main trunk and few large stubs of the original head. As often happens, this was followed by rampant but poorly formed growth. The structure that was left just does not offer many options for rejuvenation. Thus, every time I consider it, I invariably decide to leave it to its decrepitude. However, the apples are quite delicious. On this scrappy old tree, few, if any, develop without blemishes, and most are pretty rough specimens, but the flavour and texture are wonderful. It is a fairly early apple with a short season of use, but during that time we have nothing to compete with it. Continue reading

Time for tickling

It is that time of the year when the peach blossom has burst forth. Peaches and cherries produce arguably the most attractive display of spring. Aside from admiring them, during flowering one must pay a little attention to pollination, or the crop is likely to be rather meagre. Although we have a veritable hoard of honey bees pitched up not so far from the glasshouses, at this time of year they only fly during good weather and seldom seem to find their way into the glasshouses even on mild and sunny spring days. There are few other pollinating insects around at this time, so to ensure that a reasonable amount of fruit sets, they must be hand pollinated. Continue reading

Winter pruning of the cordon apples and pears

Our cordon apples and pears are pruned largely during late summer. However, there is usually some work to do in winter, cutting back secondary growth and thinning spur systems. The latter is not easy to do until after leaf fall, when the structure is more readily observed. With spring around the corner, it was definitely time to check them over. Continue reading

Tidying up the glasshouse fruit

Our two main glasshouses, which are mounted against a more or less south facing wall, are used for various fruits. In the summer they house part of our tomato crop as well as, variously, aubergines, cucumbers, tomatillos, peppers, and such like. Amongst the permanent planting, we have one vine in each, two figs in one, and two peaches trained against the wall in the other. The peach house also has one recent addition, which we will train against the end face, although it remains to be seen exactly how it will be supported. This latest addition came as a free replacement for a supposed pêche de vigne, which was, when it fruited, found to be quite a different sort. With spring around the corner, and the peach buds shortly to open, it was time to give things a bit of a tidy. Continue reading