Tag Archives: cherries

Garden Update – Fruit

Apples

We planted some new trees two years ago; James Grieve, Egremont Russett and another variety, the label of which has long blown away. We expected some fruit this year and while we do have some very tiny apples we are really disappointed in the size of the trees. One of them has tripled in size but the rest remain the same and the trunks still require some support.

Our two established apple trees (Bramley and Grenadier – both cooking apples) are rewarding us after the hard pruning they had last year.

Our Bramley apples

Our Bramley apples

At the end of last summer a good friend of ours, and fellow cider-maker, was evicted from his allotment. His crime? He dreamed of the old-fashioned allotment experience; the shed as his refuge from the world, sipping ice cold cider from a cool box while he tended his veg, sitting in the sun watching his tatties growing. The reality? Rules and regulations. He let some weeds grow and the committee decided he was undeserving of his sixty square metres and he was promptly evicted.

The irony is, he had just purchased two apple trees so he gave them to us. We plonked them in large pots until we could make space for them and this year they are producing more between them than the whole of last year’s harvest.

The evicted apple trees

The evicted apple trees

Pears

Again we planted two pear trees two years ago, both Conference variety. One suffered a very odd leaf condition each spring and this year, despite both having produced blossom, there is no fruit at all.

Plums

The Victoria Plum tree we planted in 2010 has come into its own this year. It is so laden with fruit that one branch has broken with the weight and Mr Mac has had to fashion a DIY support to stop another branch from snapping. The fruit is just starting to colour so not long now!

Mmmmmmm plum crumble

Mmmmmmm plum crumble

Mr Mac's DIY branch support fashioned from wood and carpet!

Mr Mac’s DIY branch support fashioned from wood and carpet!

Gage

The gage tree we planted beside the plum tree (variety Cambridge) produced four gages in its first year and since then nothing. We had high hopes this year when there was a tiny amount of blossom but there is no fruit at all.

Blueberries

This is my £1 bargain bucket Blueberry Elisabeth plant I rescued in 2011. I brought it home  and planted it in a pot with some ericatious compost and last year it recovered and produced a few blueberries…..not quite enough for a pot of jam though. Maybe if I had not nibbled on them every time I was in the greenhouse……..This year looks more promising.

I must not nibble the blueberries

I must not nibble the blueberries

Strawberries

We originally planted varieties Elsanta, Judibell and Cambridge Favourite but soon realised they were in the wettest part of the garden and strawberries don’t thrive in swamp-like conditions.

This year we bought new plants and put them in a raised bed. However, the badger ate them. We rescued some runners from our old plants and while we did harvest a small crop we only managed three small pots of strawberry jam.

The sum total of the strawberry harvest

The sum total of the strawberry harvest

Raspberries

The rasps have had a great year, even the ones in the swamp that we have not got round to relocating. The variety is Glen Clova and so far we have half a chest freezer full, all ready for the jam pot.

Blackcurrants

Like the rasps we harvested over 20lbs of blackcurrants and, even having given lots away, have produced 48 pots of jam. The variety is Ben Lomond.

There were so many blackcurrants the bush collapsed on to the path!

There were so many blackcurrants the bush collapsed on to the path with the weight!

Gooseberries

Every year, so far, the red and white gooseberry bushes have produced fruit then literally overnight all the foliage would disappear and the fruit would go mouldy. This year we have been pleasantly surprised that this did not happen and a small amount of fruit was harvested.

Needless to say the gooseberry bush growing out of the wall is laden with fruit. I think that bush would survive a nuclear holocaust!

This little bush growing from the wall usually produces about 8lbs of fruit!

This little bush growing from the wall usually produces about 8lbs of fruit!

Redcurrants

Beside the gooseberry bushes, the redcurrants usually suffered the same disappearing foliage fate. I am please to say this year I have picked my first redcurrants. However, I was positive I planted a red and a whitecurrant bush but the bush I though was a whitecurrant is actually a blackcurrant. Very odd.

The redcurrant and gooseberry harvest

The redcurrant and gooseberry harvest

Figs

So far we have two figs left on the tree. They seem quite happy but value for money they are currently the most expensive figs in the universe at £24 each!

The most expensive figs in the universe

The most expensive figs in the universe

Melons

I had two plants which were thriving in the greenhouse then they just went brown and keeled over. When I pulled them out the roots had virtually disappeared. They were in the sunniest part of the greenhouse and oddly enough I think it was too hot for them during the heatwave!

Cherries

We relocated one of the cherry trees to the back wall of the summerhouse which is north facing. All this has done is provide a haven for the birds to eat the cherries undisturbed! Last year we had 5 cherries, this year it looks as if we may be left with 7! Still no cherry pie or cherry jam boo hoo.

DSC06196

Advertisements

Tea Break – Banana, date and walnut loaf

This is a good recipe for using up those old black bananas lying at the bottom of the fruit bowl. It started off as a Mary Berry recipe for date and walnut loaf with an option to swap the dates and walnuts for banana and cherries.

I tried different combinations and came up with this version, which I think works very well. Slice it up and freeze it. When you are putting the kettle on for your afternoon cuppa, stick the oven on low, throw in a slice (or two if you have company!) and by the time your tea is ready to drink the cake will have defrosted and be just warm enough to melt the butter! Perfect.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • 90g butter, plus some for greasing
  • 250g dates, stoned and roughly chopped
  • 150ml boiling water
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 1 egg (medium)
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 90g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1kg (2lb) loaf tin

Method

  1. Lightly grease the loaf tin with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put the dates into a bowl, pour over the measured boiling water and leave for about 15 minutes.
  3. Combine the butter, sugar, egg, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and beat until well blended. Add the bananas, walnuts and dates, plus the soaking liquid and stir to mix well.
  4. Spoon into the loaf tin and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (350 F, Gas 4) for 1 hour 15 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch. It may need slightly longer but the way to tell if it is ready is by inserting a skewer into the middle of the loaf and it comes out clean.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then turn it out on to a wire rack and peel off the paper. Wait until it is completely cool before attempting to slice it – otherwise it just crumbles!

This recipe also works well using gluten free flour.

If you want to try it with the cherries add 125g of quartered glace cherries instead of, or as well as, the bananas, dates or walnuts.

Enjoy!