Gardening Blog – A Good Time to Plant Fruit

HH early Feb

This is a good time to of year to look at the condition of our soil. Allotments have been cultivated for generations and so tend to be in pretty good health. Nevertheless, they’ll appreciate the decomposed contents of our compost heaps and leaf bins. Adding well-rotted manure can be helpful, particularly where we plan to plant potatoes.

It’s also a good time to plant bare-root (not grown in a pot) fruit trees. I’d like to train 3 apple trees as cordons and a cherry against the walls in our small garden. The cherry I’ve ordered for the north-facing wall is Meteor Korai.  I hadn’t heard of it before and was taken in by the sales pitch. Apparently the fruit can either be eaten straight from the tree or cooked. If it crops successfully it could be a better option than a Morello – the cherry that is usually chosen for north facing walls. Only time will tell.

Waterperry Gardens is a good and relatively local place to look for apple trees. I was lucky to bump into Chris Lanczak, the Orchard Manager, whose knowledge of fruit trees must be difficult to beat. Chris suggested Orleans Reinette, Pitmaston Pineapple and Lord Lamborne for the cordons. I’ve heeled them in (given them a temporary home in an empty bed) while I prepare somewhere more permanent for them. Chris sent me off with initial pruning instructions but first of all I have to dig the holes. Without Chris’s advice I’d still be dithering about which variety to choose!

Unimpressed with my homemade vegetable cage, my family bought me two rather more sturdy ones for Christmas. They look far more robust than anything I could rustle up. I’ve already planted them with raspberries and blackcurrants so I might treat myself to another one for the brassicas in the spring.  This season’s seeds, seed potatoes and some asparagus crowns are on order – the countdown to the exciting bit has started!

Top tips from the allotments:

  • Sow peas and broad beans
  • Dig if the ground isn’t too wet or frozen
  • Empty the compost heap
  • Continue to harvest leeks, parsnips and cabbage
  • Catch up on your gardening magazines while you can