Fruit is a fickle thing isn't it. One year there's a bumper harvest, the next, almost nothing. Or in the case of my pear and plum trees, actually nothing.
A grape vine that grows by the back door has buds on it this year, after two years of just leaves. Although the leaves were in a league of their own, a whole green bin full at least twice during the summer, as if the plant put all of its energy into foliage and had nothing left for grapes. It's a Lakemont Seedless, and really delicious. I wish I'd chosen seedless varieties for all of the vines I planted because the grapes I have tend to be small and the pips tend to be large and plentiful. It's not a good combination.
There are absolutely masses of blueberries, after a year where a hungry blackbird family ate the few that there were. I quite enjoyed seeing the blackbird parents bringing their big blackbird chicks down to feast on the blueberries though, I didn't begrudge them at all. We shall see if I'm that indulgent this year.
Apples are forming, although it seems like only five minutes ago that there was blossom. Peaches were forming, but now most of them seem to have mysteriously disappeared. The golfers and footballers are denying all knowledge of it.
And so on to the bad. Apples again, but the foliage is curling up and underneath there's quite a blackfly infestation.
I sometimes spray with a little dilute Ecover washing-up liquid to deter them. I'll probably wait and see how extensive the problem gets. This particular apple (a Worcester Pearmain) has had aphid trouble before. I'm not sure if it's particularly prone to it or whether it's shadier spot doesn't help.
And now my epic fail of the year. At least I hope this is it and there's nothing worse still to come. Strawberries. Sigh. We do so love strawberries here, but something has gone horribly wrong. I potted up these runners from the allotment last year, and then planted them out at home. They haven't thrived at all, they are just utterly miserable.
You can see in the last picture that just one (out of eighteen) looks healthy. Here it is next to one of the others.
I really don't know what the problem is. The soil at home is very poor, and I wonder if at some stage some manure that had weedkiller in it was added to the beds. Quite often if I plant something it just turns yellow and completely stops growing. I find this particularly with cucumbers and courgettes, which I only ever grow at the allotment now. I think I may dig up the strawberry bed, take the top few inches of soil off and replace it with some new topsoil. Although it's possible that the plants have a virus. Anyway, it makes me cross every time I walk past them. I know I should probably have taken all the flowers off in the first year, but I find that kind of thing really hard to do.
Elsewhere there are a few healthy plants, and a few fruits starting to ripen. A few garden beasties have caught the scent of them though.
Let's go back to the good again.
Herbs, in the biggest boy's raised bed, doing not too badly. And more fresh green salad leaves than you can shake a stick at. Rocket, mustards, sorrel, Greek cress, pea shoots, radicchio and all sorts of lettuce. I never get this successional sowing malarchy quite right, it's all happened at once again.
The tomatoes are recovering for the most part from the cold unfriendly spring. Outside tomatoes are always a lottery so I never have very high expectations. So far so good though.
And look, look what else I have...
Carrots! Teeny, tiny, actual carrots. It's sad that the guinea piggie isn't still around to see them. Really, they were for her. And some celery I have as well, she would have loved that. I shall have to find a small boy to eat it all now instead.
And finally the ugly. Maybe you remember the perfection that was my hosta a few weeks ago? Now they are hideous rags. I think I shall put them in the front (gravelly) garden. To be honest I just don't want to look at them any more. I stand at the kitchen sink washing up, just staring at them. Can't tear my eyes away. I need something pretty to look at. This is not it.
Just to take the taste away, I shall leave you with a strawberry.
Perfection non? I shall be eating it shortly. Assuming of course that I get there first.