End of month View – Fruit production this year

This is very late, I have been sick, nothing serious but it meant I didn’t feel my sparkling self and up to writing a post.

Last month in this meme I wrote about the greenhouse and tomatoes, this month I’ll concentrate on the various fruits I grow and what I do with them.

First the failures: I planted a large apricot tree (it cost €150) in the spring of our second year here; the first year because the tree had been in a protected position in the nursery while it was in flower, it had some fruit.  Since then there has always been a frost or a very cold wind just as it was flowering and setting fruit and so no fruit!  I showed images in spring of this year of the flowers turning brown and I knew then there was little chance of any apricots this year.  The options are to try moving the tree, it is probably too large to do this so I will probably buy another tree (a sapling this time) and plant it in the area that is protected from the north and northeast winds that I have been preparing and hope for better things to come.

The other tree hit by the late cold wind was a plum, this tree was already in the garden is probably a wild form, the fruits are always small but usually there are lots and they taste good, this year nothing.  I have tried to grow currants, red and black with no success at all.  There is just not enough water for the blackcurrant and though it doesn’t die it only produces a small handful of currants, not enough even for a summer pudding.

this is the entire crop!

The redcurrant has grown amazingly this year but again with very few fruit I have taken the view that I should grow what is correct for my conditions and not fight nature by trying to grow things that I grew and loved in England.  This week the currants have been removed and will be given to a friend who lives much higher where it is cooler and she has a better water supply.

Blackberries on the other hand grow very well but the variety I’ve planted are strange.  The fruit ripens from the tip back and the black tempting parts are eaten by the birds before the whole berry is ripe, however worse than this is the fact that they aren’t actually very nice blackberries, not sweet and lacking in flower, again I made the decision to remove them and will try to get cuttings from a friends plant that I know is delicious.  There is no point spending time and effort and vitally expensive water resources on plants food or ornamental that don’t give satisfaction.

both images of berries were taken in June

There are 2 walnut trees, planted in the back border; these are what remain of the 6 or 7 walnut trees that were here when we bought the property.  They have always been diseased and produce very few healthy nuts, I should probably remove these too but they give shade to the back border and provide privacy.  It would be nice if they were something prettier – they don’t give autumn colour, have already lost almost all their leaves and I know they put out a chemical into the soil that inhibits growth in other plants.

But it is not all gloom and doom in My Hesperides Garden.  The quince has produced masses of fruit this year.  The quince was the ‘golden apple of the garden of the Hesperides that Hercules had to collect as his 11thlabour so it is fitting that these grow well in the garden.  The blossom is lovely is spring and the fruits glow yellow as they ripen.

Quince blossom is beautiful and would be worth growing as an ornamental

The furry fruits are very attactive too.

The quince is in the triangular rose bed and protected from north winds by the dreaded Leylandii hedge

I have made two kinds of jelly one sweet and the other picante with the addition of chillies to the pan while the fruit was cooking – I serve this Italian style with cheese.  The rest I cooked and have frozen to eat as stewed fruit during the winter.  I love the perfumed flavour of quince and I’ll try it in pies and crumbles this year.

Quince jelly with tomato chutney on the left

Cooked quince ready for the freezer

I love pomegranate juice, especially when I have a cold, the tree hasn’t produced as much fruit as last year but enough, I’ve also been told that pomegranate jelly is delicious so I must look that up and try it.

Like jewels, ready to be squeezed

I’ve spoken about the raspberries on numerous occasions, the crop was large, I tried to eat some fresh every day I harvested them and then froze the rest to make jam, coulee, ice-cream and crumbles throughout the winter months.  The autumn fruiting plants didn’t do as well as last year but I think this was the fault of my pruning, they all fruited together and for such a long time I’m not complaining.  One perfect fruit was even picked yesterday.

There can't be too many raspberries!

In England I lived near a ‘pick your own’ so never bothered with strawberries, it was easier and not expensive to just go to pick when the fancy took me.  Here the season for strawberries to be in the shops is very short and ‘pick your own’ doesn’t exist, so in March I decided to buy some plants which promised fruit over an extended period.  I didn’t really expect too much in their first year but I was pleasantly surprised.  The initial crop which presumably should be the main crop was sparse, but as the summer continued there was hardly a day when there wasn’t a small bowl to enjoy, and for my birthday in September there was enough for a party of 25 (just a small serving each); runners have rooted all around and they have fruited too; certainly I need to do some organising but they have paid for themselves many times over in their first year.

Figs were good, although I felt the birds had more than their share, but I had enough.  I love figs so I’m thinking of growing other varieties to extend the picking season.  This is greedy as they fruit twice a year!

Due to the cold winter last year the crab apple flowered and fruited very well.  I enjoy seeing the bright fruits in the garden during the winter too much to harvest them for jelly.  A second tree that has yellow fruits seems to drop them very quickly so if I have a crop next year I may harvest these to make crab apple jelly (not something my Italian friends have heard of.

I’m a bit undecided about the melons I grew – I love growing them because I can (nearly impossible in the UK without lots of work); and most tasted good although I’m not sure that the shop bought ones weren’t sweeter, they took quite a lot of space and needed masses of water; those I grew in the greenhouse contracted a mouldy growth in their leaves quite early on although they continued to produce ripe fruit with hardly any leaves as I removed the diseased leaves so the mould wouldn’t spread to the tomatoes.

I probably will grow them again as then I don’t have to go to The lemons and limes I bought in spring have provided most of what I needed.  They don’t like the westerly hot wind during the summer and will be better when they can be in much larger pots.  Now the weather has cooled and the wind dropped there are lots more fruit that I am hopeful will ripen during the winter in the greenhouse. the shops to buy them; I made gelato and granite with them as well as eating them for breakfast or with prosciutto as an anti pasto.

Lemons

and limes

I’d like to add a peach maybe grown as an espalier, a cherry or even 2 and a purple mulberry.  We have a very large white mulberry but I find the fruit insipid so am happy to let the birds devour them.

Sorry Helen for being so late; if you haven’t visited her yet visit the Patient Gardener for her end of month view and to read others bloggers accounts of what is happening in their gardens around the world.

15 thoughts on “End of month View – Fruit production this year

  1. So sorry you’ve been ill Christina, hope you are now back to your usual self.
    Heavens, what an enormous amount of fruit you have grown – who needs black and red currants when you can grow such wonderful exotics, well done you !!

  2. Wow Christina, you have many delicious fruits! I’ve enjoyed especially the quince. I still remember the fantastic sweet scent those quince apples left on my grans kitchen!
    You are right about fussy plants: no need to fight nature, they don’t thrive? Take them away.

    I wish I could step on your storeroom by the way…

  3. Wow such a bonanza of fruit! Indeed, with so many that we can’t even think of growing outdoors in the UK, the lack of currants is not too great a loss – you can always pop back for a taste of seasonal pie or a jar of currant jelly, then return to your olives, citrus fruit, pomegranates and other exotica! Your quinces look very happy though, lovely blossom and strokeable fruits.
    Sad that you apricot has been so blighted though, I hope that the next one fares better in its site – you never can tell what will work though; I would have thought that our battering spring gales and snow would put paid to any chance of peaches from such an exposed tree as ours, but it has fruited every year, though it lost more fruits this summer with our strange wet windy weather.
    Sara

    • Hi Sara, you’re lucky to have found just the right spot for your peach, I hope that where I intend planting will be more successful than where hte apricot is. Christina

  4. Sorry you’ve been ill Christina, hope you are soon better – all that vitamin C from your fruit should help! I’d love to be able to grow lemons and limes without needing a conservatory, picking your own to cook with – or use in a drink – would be wonderful. Shame about your peach. I’ve seen people drape a fleece tent over the blossom to protect it, but it looks really ugly. Starting again somewhere more sheltered sounds like a better plan.

    • The apricot flowers so early and its too big to cover with fleece, peaches flower later and should be more successful but usually need lots of ‘treatments’ which I’m not all that keen on. Christina

  5. Sorry you’ve been under the weather – glad you’re better now. What fruit, though – those quinces, that pomegranate! (I’d definitely give up on the unsuccessful ones if it meant more room for quinces…) Anf a very impressive show of preserves, too…

  6. Loved hearing about all the fruit you grow. The quince blossom is beautiful. I’ve never seen it before. How amazing to be able to grow pomegranates – I love the juice too but it’s really expensive to buy. I definitely think it’s best to grow plants to match your local conditions. I’ve just reviewed a really interesting book about sustainable gardening where this was the general theme. However, I know if I lived in another country I would want to grow the plants I love to grow here in Wales. What is the coldest temperature you have had there? I know people who live in the south of France and I was surprised to find out that they had frosts.

    • Everyone is always surprised how cold it can be in winter here. I think the temperatures are significantly lower than the usual winter temperatures in the South of England. Viterbo, where I live, is at about 300 m above sea level and where our house is actually situated is a bit lower. In winter there is a North wind called the Tramontale (meaning from the mountains); it is one of those winds that blows straight through you. During our first year here it was so cold that my head ached just being outside for a few moments and I had to buy a hat. Last winter which was the coldest sice we’ve been here the temperatures went down to about minus 7 or 8 centigrade; although it was very clear and sunny so for me it was a good winter – I hate grey skies and heavy cloud and it was hardly ever like that.. Christina

  7. I envy you your raspberries, strawberries, quince, lemon, and limes. Your garden is an Eden!

    I too have decided to quit spending energy on plants that disappoint. I am sad that the ‘Fuyu’ persimmon tree I planted is not a “Fuyu ‘ at all, but another variety that is astringent and has to be soft as mush before it is sweet. As my husband said, “Fuyu fooled you!’ I am going to get another, for sure Fuyu to replace the impostor, that was a ‘bargain’.

    • It is so annoying when plants are sold under the wrong name. I have a Persimmon, I forgot to include it in my report as it lost all its fruit through lack of water. Most Kaki (that’s what persimmon is called here, very strange name) are the astringent type here even in the shops to buy as fruit – this is also very strange. Christina

  8. I had high hopes for my quince tree this year, Christina. Membrillo here I come… then all the fruits fell off before they go to any size at all. Now yours are how they should be and jars of quince jelly. Who knows maybe next year…

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