October 2014

(Click photos to expand)

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Apple espalier. In late winter/very early spring cut the tree two or three inches below the level you require the lowest branching (in this case last year). As the tree grows, tie in one vertical and two horizontals. Extra growth ¬†where you don’t need it can either be pinched out early on or left till mid/late summer for a ‘summer prune’, when it can be cut back to a couple of buds (an inch or so) with the hope that next year it will be a fruiting spur. In the second year repeat the process for the next level of branching. The late winter prune encourages vigorous growth and branching whilst the summer prune limits growth (you are removing the solar panels of the tree!) and can help generate fruiting wood for the future. Adjust these ideas as needed to suit different shapes and situations.

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Narrow bed on the side entry: orach, garlic, Egyptian walking onions, tall sugar snap type peas

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New growth on a grape outside the kitchen window

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Fluff monster

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Sweet cicely, lovage and evergreen creeping comfrey beneath Wilson’s early plum

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Lonicera caerulea. ‘Haskap’ berry fruiting in its second year

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Haskap berries under way

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Immature green sweet cicely seeds are delicious, they have an intense aniseed flavour and like the name suggests – are sweet. The leaves are also edible with a similar flavour

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A grape making a start up the wire in its second year

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A bathtub of strawberries with a fitted frame for either a plastic cloche or bird netting. Made from bicycle rims cut in half and scrap wood

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Fan-trained greengage plum above boysenberry and sweet cicely

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Scarlet runner beans regrowing from the lower section. These act as a barometer of sorts to gauge the appropriate time to plant other frost tender annuals like zucchini and tomato seedlings. When the greening appears it’s about that time

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Elaeagnus x ebbingei. Evergreen, fast growing nitrogen fixer and edible fruits. There is some mystery about when and how it fruits. Some suggest it needs the presence of its parents (it is a hybrid of pungens and macrophylla), others claim it can fruit in isolation from both. I am growing some Elaeagnus multiflora as a more reliably self-fertile replacement if necessary. E. multiflora (goumi) is deciduous with tasty fruits as well

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Blackbird

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Aronia melanocarpa flowers. Black chokeberry – touted as a new ‘superfood’, the chokeberry has a long history with some peoples indigenous to North America. The berries are quite dry to the mouth but I think they have an excellent taste. Great for smoothies, juices, stewed fruit etc