Tag Archives: pollination

Time to tickle the peaches

The first blossom of peach Early Rivers

The peach blossom has just started to emerge, so it is time to start hand pollinating to try and ensure a crop for the summer. We currently have three peaches: Early Rivers and Bellegarde being fan trained in one of the glasshouses and a Pêche de Vigne being grown as a small bush in the polytunnel. The first couple of flowers have just opened on the Early Rivers and quite a few now on the Pêche de Vigne. As the peach blossom tends to come at a time when there are few pollinating insects about, a helping hand really is needed to have a good chance of some fruit developing. Even though we keep bees, one cannot be sure they will be flying at this time of year – cold and poor conditions will keep them tucked up in their hives more often than not. Continue reading

Pollination of sweetcorn

Polytunnel crop of sweetcorn

Sweetcorn or maize (Zea mays), is likely to be the only cereal crop that the general kitchen gardener will grow. It is a grass, and consequently wind pollinated. Generally, it is a low maintenance crop once established, and can be grown successfully outdoors or under cover. Sweetcorn grows a long stem, which, depending upon variety, is typically five to eight feet tall. Our polytunnel crop this year has grown rather taller than the same variety grown outdoors in the two preceding years. The stem bears some resemblance to bamboo; leaves grow from each node, and the cobs form between leaf and stem several nodes up the stem. Depending upon planting density, one plant can support several cobs, and I would expect to get, on average, 1½ well formed cobs per plant. Continue reading