Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fruit Trees

And after the planting of vegetables and fruit bushes, we now have fruit trees as well. These came from the local Lidl, and look like being excellent. We put in one each of a Golden Delicious apple, a Cox's Orange Pippin apple, a Buerre Hardy pear, a Conference Pear, and an Opal plum.

Here are the hard fruit:

And this, in front of the onion and lettuce bed, is the plum:

And the only problem I ran into is that the handle of the spade I was using snapped. Just plain broke off, right above the metal haft. I'm not THAT strong, so I reckon there must have been some flaw in the wood.

The shovel we have sufficed to finish the job, and I'll look for another spade.

It's immensely satisfying to be coming into the winter with a dozen different crops already lined up for next year!

Autumn Planting: Carrots, Onions, Fruit

My order of seeds came in from Thompson & Morgan, and you can see some of the packets here:

The peas aren't to be planted until late October, but the onions and lettuce were ready to go in straight away in September. So I and Junior Cat started into getting a bed ready for them. Junior Cat's contribution was in tangling up the string I was using to mark the edges of the bed, which I'm sure we all recognise as being a vital effort.

First, I cleared back the sod on an area about 3m by 1.5m. It was a nice sunny day, and the work was not as hard as it might have been - the lawn in this part of the garden is only a few years old, and there's been nothing else there since it was last bare soil, so there aren't many deep roots.

Having put on the edging - which in this case is made of planks intended for decking - it was time to double dig. The soil from the first trench went into the big yellow bag, and we were off.

Half-way down the bed, I was developing strong respect for those people who double-dig whole gardens. This 4.5 square metre plot had a go at completely exhausting me.

But I did, eventually, finish it. This is the plot with onion seeds (left hand end) and lettuce (right hand end). It's got a good load of compost for the onions, and I hope they appreciate it - there were not as many in the pack as I was expecting, so I may fill in the gaps with a spring planting crop as well.

And then it was on to the fruit bushes. Having tried B&Q, and been disappointed, we were amused to find blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries in, of all places, Tesco. So we bought two of the blackberries and raspberries, three blackcurrants, one gooseberry bush, and one blueberry. They're planted in a long row up alongside the shed, and onward to the corner of the house.

The canes are a little frustrating - the other fruits have clearly taken well to their new places, and have some new leaves to convince us. The canes are just sitting there, though, and while I reckon they're rooting away happily, there's no sign of it above the ground. We may have to wait until spring for them to show any action, I suspect.

And finally, here's what the seed bed looks like three weeks later:

The lettuces are coming up in huge quantities, and if you look really carefully (they're probably just not visible in this image) you can see the beginning stalks of the onions. I'm very pleased with the seeds, as it looks like something close to 100% germination. And where the lettuces have not come up, I suspect the paw of cat, rather than the hand of Thompson or Morgan.