The Frugal Garden: Goodbye to an old friend

I’m feeling a bit melancholy this week because we’ve had to say goodbye to an old friend and a major feature of our garden – our apple tree. It has had canker for a long time – at least since we moved in nearly five years ago now and no doubt some time before that. Every year since we moved here DJ has said that it would probably be the apple tree’s last year, but still the tree kept going, producing delicious apples. I dared to hope that it would go on forever. But last year it developed a large and dangerous looking crack in the trunk. Beetles moved in and spent a lot of time making the crack even bigger. We attached a ratchet strap, hoping that this would keep it going a little longer and prevent any accidents happening.

Sadly, we came home the other afternoon to find the garden looking rather strange. I did a double take – wondering what it was that was so different. Then I realised – the main branch of the apple tree had finally snapped and collapsed in the windy weather onto the ground. It was still tenuously attached to the trunk and I did hope that it might still be possible for the tiny apples which had formed to grow and ripen. Then, once we’d harvested them, I thought that we could sever it from the trunk and say goodbye. However, DJ decided that, on reflection, it was unlikely the apples would receive enough nutrients, so he took his axe to it. We always knew we would lose the tree eventually, but I feel sad that it’s gone and that we will never again taste its delicious apples in pies and chutneys. The garden looks completely different, too, without it as a focal point and I’ll miss watching the birds sitting in it and feeding from the feeders. Funny how you can become so attached to an old tree.

Anyway, enough of being maudlin, and onto more cheery news. Now that we’re well into June and the fear of frost has gone, the rest of our garden is really getting into its stride. Today we harvested our first Ulster Chieftain new potatoes – grown by yours truly. I’m looking forward to tucking into those later in a nice ploughman’s. I hope they’re good – I’m feeling the pressure slightly now! What if they aren’t as nice as DJ’s crop last year?

I’m also very excited because two courgettes are forming on one of my courgette plants and I also have two fruits forming on the Harlequin squash plant and – most excitingly – a pumpkin. Hooray! They are so tiny right now that if you blink you’ll miss them, but I have high hopes for them, of course. I did get a bit worried earlier, though, when I spotted some black fly on one of the courgette plants, so I will have to keep an eye on that. We’ve also harvested all the broad beans which were really tasty and DJ has cleared the area in preparation for our sweet corn which is about to be sown. I’m really looking forward to tucking into it later this summer as there is nothing more delicious than home grown sweet corn. DJ initially had a bit of trouble with his baby beetroot plants during the hot weather the other week, but it seems to have recovered since. His tomatoes are also looking pretty impressive. 

Do you grow your own fruit and veg? What are you growing and have you been able to sample the fruits of your labour yet this year? Leave a message and let me know.

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3 Responses to The Frugal Garden: Goodbye to an old friend

  1. Rik says:

    Bet you wish you\’d saved some seeds from last years apples now?At the mo, all we\’ve got in this garden, is a plastic (yucky) folding greenhouse, not great by any standards. For some reason not much is doing well in it at all, o.k. the slugs can get in pretty much anywhere round it, but they aren\’t causing too much damage. The tomatoes just don\’t seem to want to grow here, unlike the ones I used to grow in the proper greenhouse, that\’s at the folks\’ house and they\’re using it this year and theirs seem to be fine. Strange indeed!

  2. piper says:

    Yes, I certainly am. How weird about the greenhouse. I wonder what the problem is?

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