Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Who’d be an Orchardist

My Mum grew up on an orchard and her birthday is in the middle of October.  She tells the story of how when she was about 10, her mother bought her a new sewing case for her birthday.  On the following morning they had a severe frost and the entire crop was wiped out in one fell swoop.  If Grandma had planned to go to town the next day, Mum would not have received a bought present that year.

Such are the vagaries of being an orchardist.  Of course, it is balanced out by the years with beautiful bumper crops.

On Saturday I had a wander through our few fruit trees to see what, if any, crop we will have this year.  You see, a couple of weeks ago we had a morning with –4.5 degrees.  Not what you want in October and especially not when your fruit trees are in blossom.

We have had frosts nearly every day for the last week, but fortunately not too severe.

Firstly, I checked out the apples.  You can see some slight frost damage, but not too bad.  Thank goodness they are later to flower.

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The bees were very busy, so here’s hoping we will get some apples this year.

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The chooks have free range of our little orchard and love scratching around.  Of course, they are also fertilizing the trees as they go.

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There are still a few late blossoms on the pears.  Here’s hoping we get a few to eat.

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There was still a couple of quince flowers.  I just love their fuzzy leaves.  We’ve never had a good crop of quinces.  We live in hope.

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Next it was on to the Angeline Burdett plum.  I’m getting low on plum sauce, so was hoping for a good crop this year.  Unfortunately, these bore the brunt of the bad frost and just about all the blossoms are frosted, with no fruit coming through.

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Surprisingly, the President Plums, which are a later fruiting variety do have a few tiny, wheeny plums coming through.  Can you see the slight swelling under the blossoms below.  It will only be a small crop, but hopefully I can beat the birds to the fruit and get enough to make a batch of sauce.

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Finally, the Nashi are looking not too bad.  There is quite a bit of swelling under the blossoms.  There is nothing nicer than eating a fresh, crisp, juicy nashi straight off the tree.

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Our nectarine and apricot get frosted every year without fail, so there was nothing new in that.

And just because it is pretty, here is another picture of our apple blossoms.  I do think they are my favourite  of them all.  The colours are so gentle.

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Ali Honey said...

I would!

Love your blossoms. We too hope to get our first plums and nashi and apples. Last year our very first of the plums got eaten when still tiny and the apple broke a branch and the Nashi just did nothing so here's hoping for better crops for both of us.( these are just for our own use. Our main export crops are Kiwifruit and avocados )

Deb R said...

Ohh your blossom pics are gorgeous...you have a great range of fruits Yummmm

Bec said...

Gorgeous photos. We had a few set backs with later light frosts, though haven't lost any fruit blossom.
How many trees do you have and what are they all???
Jamie did an organic market gardening course with Allsun at Gundaroo - amazing. He came home full swing into garden mode and we have planted so SO many packets of seeds I have lost count! The vege patch is looking lovely and tasting nice too. We also planted out 9 or 10 citrus trees. Next year we will get more apples and some pears to espallier, already have 10 old varities espallied and they are going well.