The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: fruit

Blueberry Patriot – Vaccinium Corymbosum

I have bought two roots of Blueberry Patriot from Lidl. They were two for £3 so worth a risk. I have a Blueberry bush that is quite a few years old that I think I got from Wilkos for a couple of pounds and it has paid me back over and over with fruit. This early season variety is said to have large berries and be a reliable and heavy cropper. I am going to plant them tomorrow in a large pot with a mix of all purpose and ericaceous compost. I am a bit doubtful about them as they look quite weak but let’s see what a bit of tender care can do. 11th April – there are signs of fresh growth but not looking promising for this year.

Patriot is an early season variety. It has been developed as a cold hardy variety that will bear consistent crops of large sized fruit, fruits can sometimes reach the size of a 10p coin. Cropping is high, ranging between 10 and 20 pounds when the bush is mature. The berries are dark blue and highly flavoured. Patriot is a low growing, spreading bush reaching a height of around 4 feet. It is adaptable to many soil types and will perform better in moist soils than many other varieties. Patriot looks fabulous in the garden with its showy white blooms in the spring, dark green summer foliage, and fiery orange autumn colours.

Senga Sengana Strawberry – Rambling Cascade

Today, 11th March, I have planted ten Strawberry Senga Sengana bought as bare root plants. I have read good things about this variety and look forward to tasting. I am not sure if I should expect fruit in the first year or whether I will have to wait until next year. I live in hope.

The flavour of this variety is exceptional. The large fruits are sweet and very juicy.  This is the perfect variety of strawberry for growing in hanging baskets or window boxes.  Whilst no strawberry can climb Rambling Cascade can be trained and tied into a trellis. They are of course also suitable for open ground growing and is a fantastic variety for those considering growing in matted rows. Recommended by the RHS to be an excellent attractant and nectar source for bees and other beneficial insects. Senga Sengana is self fertile and can be grown in pots or open ground. Information from Victoriana Nursery.

Pineberry – White Strawberry

I bought five bare roots of these unusual strawberries and after giving them a drink and a rest I have planted them into a wooden wine box to grow on before finding them a final bed in the garden.

Pineberry is an albino strawberry cultivar with a pineapple-like flavour, white colouring, and red seeds. Pineberry is based on the original strawberry hybrids that arose in cultivation in Europe, with recent selective breeding to improve the plants. It is a hybrid of Fragaria chiloensis, originating in South America, and Fragaria virginiana, originating in North America, the same parentage as the garden strawberry Fragaria × ananassa. The first commercial cultivation occurred in 2010 in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Lemon Tree

I have a lemon tree in the garden that I think I bought from Crocus.com many years ago. It used to be in a pot in the porch but at some point I transplanted it into the ground. This year I plan to move it again into a new large pot and am busy reading up about the best soil mix needed.

I have read that Lemon trees can be grown in pots outdoors in summer and brought inside for the winter. The fragrant flowers appear all year round apparently but are especially abundant in late winter. The fruit ripens up to twelve months later so they often flower and fruit at the same time. Although I have had this plant for many years I know very little about how to care for it. Although I have read conflicting information I think my best bet is to wait until Spring to re-pot this lemon tree. Pot and compost are waiting so here’s to Spring.

I bought a pack of lemons from the supermarket last week and just for fun I have put ten collected seeds in some damp kitchen towel and sealed them into a plastic freezer box to try and get them to sprout. Following advice from Lee of Project Diaries on YouTube I have peeled away the outer husk from the seed. It’s Thursday 12th January so I will be recording the germination time. Update 18th January one of the seeds has germinated. It is seven days since I set them. I have put the sprouted lemon seed into a 3″ pot of compost today 19th January. Monday 23rd January and two more seeds have sprouted. I have put them in damp compost like the other one. However the first one put in on 19th has still to show its head above the compost.

The seed must still be moist when it is buried into the soil. Sow the seed about half an inch deep in the middle of the pot.Spray gently with water from a spray bottle.Cover with clear plastic. Place the pot in a warm place until it sprouts. Don’t allow to dry out. After about two weeks, when the leaves emerge take the plastic cover off. Two weeks to wait then. One week on, 29th Jan, one seedling through.

Conference Pears

I have completed harvesting the pears from the garden this morning. This tree had no fruit at all last year but this season has been great with lovely blossom in the spring and loads of fruit. I understand that these pears keep well but I shall be having a look at how I can use them in cooking as there are so many.

Cherry Trees

 

We have two cherry trees in the back garden. One cost over twenty pounds from Ken Muir and is called Sweetheart. The other cost three ninety nine from Lidl and is a variety called Stella. They have both blossomed beautifully this year and because we had next to no frost have fruited well too.  The Stella fruit seemed ready in early July and because it was attracting a lot of interest from the local Blackbirds I took off the fruit when it looked ripe. The fruit was very tasty but I now find that harvesting should have been late July. The Sweetheart tree fruit has looked red and ripe for a while but on doing a bit of investigating on the internet I see that the fruit ripens late August and is very dark. I have already taken some fruit off but the taste didn’t seem right. Now I know why. I hope that I shall remember this next year but who knows. Ken Muir has died this month aged 85. Our condolences to his friends and family.

Plum Jam

This morning I made three jars of jam from some of the fruit collected from my Victoria Plum Tree bought from Lidl. They are really tasty straight from the tree but lovely made into jam so that we can have the taste right through the winter too.

I usually cook large stoned fruit quite well in a little water and lemon juice then when the stones are floating on the top I put the whole lot through a seive and combine it with a little preserving sugar. There is pectin in the stones so no need to add more. Stir the fruit pulp and the sugar until the sugar is melted in then turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring until the setting point is reached, not long with plums, and then pour into your jars using a funnel.

Raspberry Canes

We potted up three raspberry canes yesterday. They were from Lidl so only £2.47 for the three. They look very healthy with a good root system but have no variety on them or any indication as to wether they are Summer or Autumn fruiting. I already have one raspberry plant given to me by my sister. We plan to erect a post and wire row for them all in the Spring.

Raspberries are best in full sun. They produce new canes in the first year and these canes fruit in the second year. First year canes are green and second year canes have a thin brown bark. It is best to prune back the cane after it has fruited. Maybe we will do what we do with the red currants and cut the wood back whilst it is covered in ripe berries. That way you do two jobs in one and the branch can be taken home to remove the fruit then trimmed and used as a cutting for a new plant.

Pear – Pyrus Communis

Surprisingly the pear tree is a relative of the rose and the quince. Of our three pear trees in the garden only one has given us a decent amount of fruit this year. The Red Williams, a Minarette,  did have three baby pears but only one has reached maturity. It is a corker however and we are looking forward to next year when we may see more fruit. The Conference has no fruit at all but is a very healthy tree. The Beurre Hardy has about fourteen fruit all looking great and they should be ready to harvest soon. Late September or October is the time for picking pears I believe so it wont be long now.

Pears are a good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C, potassium and copper. A slow-releasing energy fruit, excellent for helping to balance blood sugar levels.