Each summer since we moved into the house we have gradually improved our garden in one way or another, becoming more successful at growing certain veg, and learning a whole lot as we go. This year, for example, our first attempt at growing potatoes has resulted in among the sweetest spuds I have ever tasted, while certain types of tomato plants that have been a hit with bountiful harvests in summers gone by have just not taken. We guess with the odd, untypical weather so far this summer that some plants are confused and decided to just give up. Who knows, but it's all part of the trial-and-error fun of cultivating an ongoing garden.
Although it takes no sewing or tending effort whatsoever on our part, one thing we have yet to cope with, however, is the harvesting of PLUMPOCALYPSE! Hanging over our yard from one neighbour is an enormous plum tree that, without warning, at any given point in late June or early July, suddenly starts shedding HUNDREDS of plums a day, landing on our yard. We are never ready for it, but when it starts we know we're in for a busy time clearing them up, as well as a mess from the ones that split open upon impact. As they have fallen, rolled a bit in dirt and dust, we have thus far been unable to salvage any of the fruit. The huge tree also sheds scores of plums outside our gate, doubling the work, but add to this our own plum tree on the perimeter of our property chucking down its fruit, and we have one hell of a lot of plums...er...plummeting to earth each day.
This is not remotely interesting in itself, I know, but perhaps a little more so is that this situation has had us dreaming up all manner of elaborate plans to combat the problem in future, but particularly to salvage a huge amount of perfectly good fruit that we can use and share. The latest idea is to attach a large tarpaulin to our back fence and neighbour's fence, which are at right angles to each other, using some kind of tripod or elevated thingy at the unsupported corner, allowing the plums to plop softly into its sagging centre, whereupon we can easily collect them every day, and put them to good use. No doubt other kinds of ideas will come our way, but one thing is certain and that is that this is the last summer when the fruit will go to waste. Hell, I've even diarized the installation of some contraption we eventually decide upon for early June 2017! (Colour me organized.)
And then, there is also 'Apple-ocalypse! We have Gravenstein and Transparent apple trees in our side and front yards respectively, and the latter has taken to dropping around twenty-plus apples every day, so that's another bunch of fruit we have to dispose of. In this instance, the apples are not yet ripe, and immediately bruise heavily or split from worm infestation when they hit the ground. Despite our religious spraying of our fruit trees with sulphur and lime, in order to stave off potentially overwintering bugs, we have yet to have a decent, blight-free crop of apples from this tree, so the battle continues. This year, however, for the first time, our Gravensteins are looking amazing, so if they prove to be wormless, that will be a first!
Ah, the challenges of homeownership and fruit tree stewardship!