Just one month left of the current twelve. Surprisingly, our rainfall total for the preceding eleven coincides very closely with our long term average for this time. Of course, the actual pattern of rainfall since the beginning of 2019 has furrowed brows, during the first five months in particular.

It is good to see plenty of earthworm activity once more now that the land is slowly rehydrating. Some evidence of moisture shows occassionally at the drain outlets, but still no flowing drains or ditches here.

A reminder that we have now sold out of our apples and only a few handfuls of Medlars remain. As a result a much earlier start on pruning has been possible.

 

These used to be the last fruit to be picked here, early in November, reflecting the wait for some frost on them first. Not so , these days with a  ‘white’  frost early in October (6th), and another , this morning (28th).

Medlars blossom just after the apples have finished blooming. This season that stood them in good stead as rain late in May will have helped the young fruitlets off to a good start. Prior to flowering the unopened buds are well encased within  protective layers, protecting well from the earlier frosts.

Medlars are now available, unbletted, here at the farm and they can be sent anywhere within the U.K.

Please note that there are no apples left to be ordered, and, only a handful of low grade fruits left in our shed.

October has also been a usefully wet month!

Rainfall, in quantity, has featured during the first week of this month. We will see an indication of how things are deeper underfoot when wormcasts are once again evident, soon hopefully.

Just a few hours of picking left to do of the latest varieties. All the perfect (also the not so perfect)  fruit is sold, so no further orders for any apples can be accepted.

I expect to pick the Medlars towards the end of this month  – we did have a considerable frost here on the morning of 3rd October.

Much quieter than usual here as there are no apple pickers other than the two existing pairs of hands. We shall need some fresh footwear by the time we have finished trekking around gleaning our 2019 crop.

For, the second time since Common Ground initiated Apple Day we shall not have our usual display of apples here – there are too few to collect together. 1997 was the last year there was no display.

We are not supplying other Apple Day events with apples for the same reason.

It is very doubtful whether any further enquiries for the  best quality  apples this season can be met. Some wise enthusiasts have ordered ahead during July, some may yet be disappointed.

Despite some rainfall, the water table continues to fall. Our 12′ well is now below the  2′ level. Had the trees carried a normal crop on this light land they would have struggled for some years ahead.

A wet winter with some slow thawing white stuff is the only way our sub soil will slowly rehydrate.

The second week of August always  keeps us watching both the Victoria plums and Discovery apples as to the best time to pick over for the earlier ripening fruit. It being the 12th today, neither is ready. Apple colour is intensifying, even on later varieties, enhanced by the cooler night temperatures now. Colour does not fairly represent flavour or edibility!

Patience for the next few days will be worth it. The Victoria plums may be first!

For the first apples of a new season.

It would appear that our picking dates can be modelled on those of 2017. Fortuneately some 20mm of overnight rain arrived just ten days before the end of July, and before the onset of some hot July days which are now  sending us all for cover.

My Grandfather had some ancient Beauty of Bath trees , long since grubbed , though now we have some younger trees of  Crimson Beauty of  Bath to finish this month with. They are notorious for their short lived crispness but still have a following by locals.

Come what may with the weather, our Discovery usually reach an edible state during the week of 14th August, becoming sweeter as the month progresses.

Our Early River’s Plum will just last until the end of July.

A visitor to Crapes Fruit Farm, observing the nearest two apple  trees by the yard would assume that,  come the Autumn, a busy time is ahead. The top trees of both Ribston Pippin, and Greensleeves, are showing a plentiful crop of, now swelling, fruitlets.

Move a short way from the shelter of buildings and hedges and the picture is less inspiring, some trees sporting barely a handful of apples.

Varieties which are obvious include, Discovery, Worcester Pearmain, some Sturmer Pippin, some Ribston Pippin, Red Ellison and some Cox, these mainly on the very old trees (1959 plant). Our collection of lesser known varieties, also, show very  few fruits.

Of particular disappointment are the lack of Arthur Turner,D’arcy Spice, Kidd’s Orange Red, Laxton’s Fortune, Michaelmas Red, St Edmund’s Russet and Sunset.

It seems that the fruit which has set was on flowers blooming during the last week of April. (As mentioned previously the Worcester Pearmain bloomed most unusually early).

The June drop is happening now. There are some fruits which have cracked – these often do not have an even distribution of pips within. There is some russetting which can be attributed to cold during early May.

Virtually  100mm rainfall has arrived during the last four weeks, a good start to rehydrating the subsoil in time for fruit bud formation ready for 2020 blossoming.

Our Plums look more promising, Quince are showing now and the Medlars, which flower mid May, should have benefited from rain at fruit set.

If February had of lived up to its folklore reputation ‘February fill dyke’ instead of  dehydrating everything, the picture might well have been different now.

Our Friday delivery round incorporating Colchester has begun . Watch Facebook ‘Crapes Fruit Farm’ for availability details of our fruit and vegetables, normally posted  during Wednesday.

Nocturnal pests include deer, Roe and Fallow –  particularly fond of self pulled beetroot!