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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

The continuing dry spell has greatly reduced our apples and pears which seem much smaller than usual even-though many were pollinated.  After cropping in May, the raspberry canes have withered so we are not expecting the usual second crop.  Oddly enough, after many disappointments our damson crop is good, although the tree itself is looking rather sick.  Here is the fourth tray of picked fruit with some still to come.

Some have been frozen and the rest made into jam.

About seven years ago, we bought a damson tree and when two years later it produced some fruit, they turned out not to be damsons.  The supplier refunded the money and we bought a second tree which has taken until now to really reward us.  The first year, the crop was ruined by pocket disease.  The next year pigeons pecked off all the buds before they flowered.  The next year we tried to net the tree but pollination was poor.  Finally, we have a good year and the pigeons, although more numerous than ever, left the tree alone.  Squirrels seem not to like them thank goodness.

Tags for Forum Posts: damsons, fruit

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I picked a small bowl of blackberries in Railway Fields this weekend - the bushes are dried out and brown, and the berries small and very sweet but rather hard to pick. There are still plenty which haven't made it to maturity. Usually there are many more around this time, and they are bigger. It really made me think about people trying to mature crops in this drought...

I feel your pain.  There are loads of withered black berries hanging over our fence but they are not worth picking.  Happily, our thornless blackberry plant produces big shiny berries that are reliable but are not as tasty as the wild ones.  Being trained and not in competition with other plants is probably the key:

This year my (self-sown) plum tree produced no fruit, but that was probably the result of the severe lopping I gave it last year. My tomatoes have ripened earlier than usual, but are smaller in size, in spite of m attempts to keep them watered. I got two apricots, one of which was taken by a squirrel before it ripened. Raspberry canes have frizzled up. Damsons I get from hedgerows - blackberries too, and although some of the latter have died, there are places where there are plenty of good-tasting berries, again, though, a bit smaller than usual.

Blimey. A 50% rate of attrition by squirrels is dispiriting in the extreme and only to be exceeded in my case by their 100% destruction of my walnut crop!

I tried to plant a tayberry this year (just bought a garden flat). It's just a collection of twigs with roots but a member of the local wildlife has taken objection to it and dug it up twice now.

When I moved in there were some ripe redcurrants on a bush in the garden, enough to make a very small pot of jam 

Both foxes and squirrels routinely dig in soft soil.  When planting anything in freshly dug soil, I try to make it difficult for these pests.  For example, over new bulbs, I often put a piece of netting (wire or heavy plastic) held down with metal pins or plastic pegs.  For new plants, the same thing (but with a hole in the middle of the netting) or an inverted plastic crate, or even a two foot mini fence of wire netting.  Once the bulbs or plants become established, the netting can be removed.  At this time of year especially, squirrels often dig holes to hide food and I often find nut trees coming up where no hazel nut or walnut could possibly have fallen naturally.



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