Midsummer trim for an established 'Victoria' plum

Thanks, I suspect, to the wet winter and warm spring, it has been a bountiful year for tree fruit.

Our young trees have surpassed themselves this year, endangering their boughs in some cases and making me wonder whether they will decide to take next year ‘off’.

We have already picked ‘Discovery’ apples, greengages and ‘Victoria’ plums, with ‘Conference’ pears and ‘Jonagold’ and ‘Cox’s Orange Pippins’ still to come.

Prune out any crossing branches that might rub together and damage the bark

Once the plums and gages were picked it was time to prune them. Young plum trees are best cut back in spring and more established specimens are pruned in mid-summer.

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Where we are now, mid-August, is the deadline for pruning. Leave it any later and the cuts may leave the trees open to silver leaf disease, a fungal problem that also affects apricots, ornamental and edible cherries, and almonds.

Symptoms include silvering of the leaves and dark stains developing in the centre of the branch wood. Purplish bracket fungi can also appear on older, dead wood.

Cut out spindly branches that clutter the centre of the tree

Prune them at the right time and trees are less susceptible to the disease and more likely to fruit well the following year.

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Our ‘Victoria’ and greengage are both stand-alone bush trees so simply needed thinning to remove dead shoots, spindly non-productive growth and crossing stems that might rub and damage the bark.

The overall aim is to create an open ‘goblet’ shape that allows good airflow through the tree, and plenty of warmth and sunlight to the blossom and fruits.

Protecting young kale plants with Grazers g2 Slug and Snail deterrent

Other fruit and veg jobs this week have included planting winter kale, weeding the leeks and harvesting this year’s onions and shallots, the latter to be pickled.

Shallots drying in the shed before pickling

The onions and shallots stayed on the soil to dry for a few days and are now stored in the cool, dark outhouse, ready for use when needed. Roll on Christmas when the pickled onions come into play!

 

Let’s keep gardening!

One of the great things about lockdown was that more people discovered the joy of gardening and growing things and we greatly hope that this won’t wear off now that ‘normal’ life has resumed.

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This blog is an insight into what the AG team is up in their gardens, what we like to grow, what we pick and harvest, what’s worked for us and what hasn’t – because like everyone, things go wrong for us too!

John Negus, questions, answers

AG’s agony uncle John Negus is still answering your questions and solving your problms

Our gardening ‘agony uncle’ John Negus is also still working hard. Send him your problems and questions, with pictures if you can, and he will get back to you with an answer within 24 hours, as he has been doing for decades. Contact him using the AG email address at: amateurgardening@futurenet.com

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We already have thriving Facebook page but are also on Twitter and Instagram. These sites are a brilliant way of chatting to people, sharing news, information, pictures and just saying hello –we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Best of all, as gardeners are generally lovely folk, more interested in plants, hedgehogs, tea and cake than political shenanigans and point-scoring, so the chat is friendly and welcoming.

You can find us at:

Facebook: Facebook.com/AmateurGardeningMagazine

Twitter: Twitter.com/TheAGTeam

Instagram: instagram.com/amgardening_mag

So please drop by, follow us, ‘like’ our posts and say hello –we will reply as soon as we can. Happy gardening!