Three Plum varieties already ripe for 2017 – Mirabelle Countess, Najdena & Aprikyra

Amazingly we have 3 plum varieties that are being grown outside that are already ripe. Whats even more, is they look very similar.

The 2 photos above are a variety called Mirabelle Countess.

The above 2 varieties are called Najdena

This one is called Aprikyra

They could have all done with an extra week ripening up, but the birds and wasps have begun attacking them.

Najdena – A complex hybrid of Prunus cerasiferaPrunus salicinaPrunus ussuriensisPrunus simonii. Parents being Skoroplodnaja x Desertnaja ready in mid July, medium, 30g, dark purple, yellow flesh.

Aprikyra – Is an interspecific hybrid between apricot and plum, – this results in an unique aroma, reminiscent of cherry, which has not been there in this form before. The variety is self-fertile and due to its blossom – early, but after the apricots – it is well adapted to our climate.

Mirabelle Countess – As with the other 2 varieties this is also a plum hybrid based upon, Prunus cerasifera. It has a sweet taste, and of medium size, especially as its one of the first to ripen. When fully ripe they turn more redder, almost going to purple. But when they are that colour they are far too ripe.

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2017 Persimmon – Sharon fruiting

The Sharon persimmon belongs to the non-astringent persimmons variety. They are cold resistant and will easily grow in the UK without the need for any protection. Tastes a little like an apricot. Harvest September-November.

We are anticipating a good crop this year. The flowers have set and small fruitlets are forming.

Prefers a good deep loamy soil in sun or light shade but succeeds in most soils. Dislikes very acid or wet and poorly drained soils. Requires a sheltered position. Dormant plants are quite hardy in Britain, but they require warmer summers in order to ripen their fruit and wood. A warm sunny location improves the chance of producing ripe fruit. Fruits are frequently produced outdoors at Kew. The young trees require some winter protection for their first winter or two.

Because persimmons leaf out based on number of hours exposed to warmth rather than on exposure to chilling, they can be slower than most. In some areas, a newly planted persimmon may not break dormancy until late spring in warmer climates and summer in cooler climates.

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Very very Rare – Hmong Red Cucumber

‘Hmong red’ is considered a heirloom cultivar. Its scientific name is Cucumis sativus ‘Hmong red’.

A very productive and tasty variety that stays mild even when large. Millions of the Hmong tribe live on the borders of Thailand, China, Burma, Laos and Vietnam, and are a very ancient people.

Ok in truth this cucumber is more of a burgundy brown/red colour, and it was only 15cm long. It should grow to 30cm long, but it was only grown in a 2 litre pot. Only 1 female flower was kept, all the others cut off. It also produces copious amount of male flowers, which were also removed. The actual taste of the flesh was surprisingly good.

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First outdoor Apricots “Ninfa” of 2017 season

First outdoor Apricots “Ninfa” of 2017 season. Well I had to gather them, as we are experiencing gusty winds and they were being knocked off. They look like they another 2 weeks of ripening. So they are now in a bowl in the kitchen waiting for them to ripen fully.

We did not have much in the way of snow or frosts last winter 2016/17. We only had one late frost, that caused some of my walnut shoots to blacken. But obviously not enough to cause a problem with the flowering of this variety.

Details taken from website http://www.provedo.com/apricot-trees-ninfa/

ORIGIN
Released in 1981in the ACD Bologna University. It is an hybrid from Ouardi x Tiryntos varieties.

TREE
Not very vigorous with natural open tendency. High productivity.

BLOSSOM
Medium to early blossom time

FRUIT
Large size (55-60mm). Reddish colour on light yellow background. Round shape. Uniform light yellow flesh.

STONE
Medium-small (7% of the fruit) oblong.

RIPENING
7 days respect to Ouardi and 14 respect to Bulida.

EVALUATION
Very interesting variety for its ripening season with high productivity.

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Looks like a bumper crop of ‘Marigoule’ Sweet Chestnuts this year

Looks like a bumper crop of ‘Marigoule’ Sweet Chestnuts (Castanea Sativa) this year, or I hope it is. This is a small 6 year old grafted tree, that is covered in flowers.

The flowers are long yellow catkins, mostly of male flowers, with female flowers at the base, appearing in June/July. Sweet chestnut is monoecious, meaning both male and female flowers are found on the same tree.

Grafted Marigoule variety – Needs deep soil and quite warm climate, fruits in 4 to 5 years or even less from being grafted. Quite a strong grower with large to very large nuts. Buds break early to very early if February is very mild. Does not like spring frosts, avoid frost hollows. Male flowers 18-30 June. Female flowers 20 June – 7 July. This variety is self fertile and it produces lots of pollen, so it is useful for pollinating other varieties that sterile. Marigoule is a chestnut that is highly rated in the fresh product market.

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We are pleased to offer Leicestershire Heritage Apple trees as Bare Rooted

This year we are pleased to offer for sale Leicestershire Heritage Apple trees as Bare Rooted for shipping this coming winter.

We give support to the ‘Leicestershire Heritage Apple Project’ by supplying rootstocks for their grafting workshops and the growing of grafted Leicestershire Heritage trees.

Leicestershire is in the East Midlands of the UK, a slightly cooler climate than in the traditional apple- growing counties of the U.K.

Many varieties such as Annie Elizabeth, Marriage Maker, Prince Charles etc are available.

Annie Elizabeth

Annie Elizabeth

 

Marriage Maker

Marriage Maker

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Greenhouse – Red Spider Mite

One of my customers showed me there peach tree growing in there greenhouse. The leaves were very mottled and were beginning to drop prematurely. The actual fruit did not seem to be progressing to there normal size.

This is one of the traditional signs of Red Spider Mite (Tetranychus urticae). Unfortunately my camera could not focus in close enough on the actual mite. But they form a very fine webbing over a shoot, not a traditional spiders web as such. But this webbing sort of protects the mite. Ultimately this webbing covers many shoots and all gets joined up into a mass of webbing. If not controlled adequately it can kill the plant.

This mite in this instance it was on a peach tree, but they infect virtually any plant. as it is a greenhouse pest it can attack tomatoes, cucumbers etc etc. Being so microscopically small in the early stages they are not detectable. They are typically 1mm long and bright red. Its only when you get the mottled leaves and leaf fall it is noticed.

They love hot dry greenhouses, so dampening down is recommended to keep the humidity up, and also ensure adequate ventilation. Sometimes here in the UK they can venture outside during the occasional long hot dry summer. They over winter in nooks and cranies and start there breeding cycle of laying eggs from March till October.

 

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Bad case of Powdery Mildew of Grapes

This photo illustrates a bad case of Powdery Mildew (Erysiphe necator) on Grapes.

This is one of the most common diseases of grapes. Initial symptoms of powdery mildew appear on leaves, then on the fruit, then on the bark of the shoots.

The mildew survives the winter by laying dormant in the buds. It is only when the spring is damp and temperatures rise that spores begin to get going.

Initially the shoots and leaves of the vine all appear to be growing well in the spring. But all the activity starts on the underside of the leaves, out of sight.

There are a number of fungus chemicals on the market, but its normally too late when the fungus has got a hold, as shown in the photo. Spraying very often is continuous throughout the growing season.

The more effective method, is to reduce temperatures and moisture during the spring, by increasing ventilation and air circulation. The only trouble is that many of the older varieties of grapes are not immune, whereas the newer varieties have an inbuilt immunity.

Remeber that where grapes are normally grown in the Mediterranean countries, where there is not the moisture or humidity, and they are grown outside with full ventilation. We have a tendency to grow them in a greenhouse with sat tomatoes, which is not ideal.

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Possible Outdoor Apricots and Peaches fruiting 2017

I have been asked many times which are the best fruiting varieties of Apricots and Peaches for the UK climate. Well this year is the first year I have started logging fruit set, with the prediction of a harvest.

Our situation as to where these are grown, is on a North facing slope, made up from heavy clay in the heart of the Midlands, UK. Our temperature zone is 8a that being -9.5 deg C to -12.2 deg C

Many of the trees are quite young and not have settled down into a production rhythm.

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This is what is known as a patio peach, they come in a number of varieties

This is what is known as a patio peach, they come in a number of varieties, namely BONANZA, GARDEN BEAUTY, GARDEN DELICIOUS, GARDEN GOLD, GARDEN SILVER,  GARDEN DELIGHT, being Apricots, Peaches or Nectarines.

We will be offering some of these for sale this coming winter, as barerooted. They can obviously be grown in a large pot or tub on the patio. Or even in a greenhouse or conservatory. Please check our webshop

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