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OUT IN THE GARDEN: Here comes the plumb king

By Spalding Today Columnist

Things seem to have settled down nicely this week following the recent heavy rainfall. That said, my heart goes out to all those affected by the recent floods whose homes and gardens have been seriously damaged.

As we begin to approach the middle of the year, the majority of major gardening tasks have been completed and now is the time to slow down a little and enjoy the hard work you have put into your garden.

As I have tried to show throughout the year thus far the main enjoyment to be had from gardening is just simply being outside in the garden. There’s the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, the rustle of the tall grasses, the scent of herbs and flowers in the air, the gently trickling of water flowing in my pond plus the sound of birds calling in the tree tops. Then there’s all the other wildlife and insects that have made my garden their home. That’s the joy of gardening.

Plum tree
Plum tree

My garden is my sanctuary and my haven from the world. I’m not looking for perfection, I’m just looking for harmony. Unfortunately my plum tree seems to have become less than harmonious over the past three years.To put it into context my Plum tree is suffering from “Bi Annual Bearing” which isthe irregular production of plum fruit.

It started about three years ago when my first crop of plums was harvested. That year the tree was full of blossom in the spring and come the summer it was bursting with fruit which made hundreds of delicious plum crumbles. The year after there was a noticeable decline in blossom and fruit production which led to a poor harvest.

So here we are three years on and fruit production is back to normal and if I don’t intervene I’ll be sure to be crowned the plum king of Quadring 2019. Except that’s not going to happen because as counter intuitive as it seems the solution to breaking this bi annual cycle is to pick every third fruit of the tree. There’s little point in holding out for “June drop” either as not enough fruit will fall from the tree.

This systematic removal of fruit will allow the tree to produce better quality and larger fruit later this year. There won’t be as much fruit to harvest but the production and harvest of fruit in subsequent years will become more uniform. I can’t control what Mother Nature decides to do each year during pollination time so there may be years where fruit production goes up and down due to these environmental factors but there should be no more major boom and bust years.


Recovering from the downpour


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