The plum harvest was a glorious red tide of fruity goodness. It just wasn’t as long as I thought it might be. Between eating them, freezing them and giving some away the harvest dwindled before I could decide what to do next. I’ll have to continue my plum preserving experiments next year.
The other plum tree is a bit of a disappointment, as it has developed very few fruit. As in, there are four that I have witnessed (well, two minus the two I ate). Why so? The tree is tall and healthy-looking but it never developed many fruit. I believe it is a pollination problem. It’s timing is not in line with the other early plum tree, presumed to be a self-fertile Billington. I suspect that another plum tree that pollinated this tall plum might have been reduced to one of the many stumps around here, leaving this plum without another tree to cross-pollinate the flowers. The only thing I can do if I want a decent crop from it is try to figure out which variety it is and acquire a suitable pollinator plum tree. That’s awkward. I don’t really want a third plum tree. Mind you, I have a third plum tree: my potted Billington. I intend to sell it since I have the other one now, so maybe it can fund me a new tree. Do I want that many plums? Hmm. Yes, I think I do. There’s a bit of a fruit gap right now while I’m waiting for the pears to ripen. These plums are also a yellow-fleshed cultivar, which is a point of difference.
The apricots were a bit of a sob story in January. I only got to eat a handful thanks to the jolly birds. They managed to peck almost every single apricot, opening them up to further attack by flies and ants. Ugh. I’ll have to source some bird netting before next summer.
The next fruit that will be ready soon are the pears. The big pear tree down the back is producing brown pears with a little green and the secret, small, weird, weeping pear tree along the side of the house is producing bright green pears. I really didn’t know anything about growing pears and have just read in my NZ Gardener magazine that they don’t fully ripen on the tree. Apparently I have to pick them when they have reached full size and their colour becomes richer, before they go mushy, and either ripen them at room temperature or keep them chilled until I’m ready to ripen them. They can take from two days to a week or so to ripen. The problem is, I don’t know what ‘full size’ is for either of the pears so it is going to take a few cracks I think. I may have already picked a few too early… I was too much of an eager beaver. I just want more fruit! And so, while the pears are growing and ripening at the pace of a snail it would seem, we’re back to buying more fruit.
On another fruity note, I have been commiserating the loss of my slowly ripening blueberries. Every time a few were just ripe enough to pick they would disappear before I could do so. I suspect the birds. Not the neighbours’ chickens this time; the blueberries are too high. I checked on the blueberries earlier this evening and was surprised and excited to come away with a whole big handful of blueberries. There probably aren’t enough to make something with, but there are certainly enough to… Nom nom nom…