Autumnal pleasures

As we start saying goodbye to summer, it’s time to say hello to the bounties outside the door.
An apple and blackberry tarte tatin and one of the sloe gins underway.
A 1990 vouvray is waiting for the tarte tonight.
What do you like about the harvest time?


Picking a mountain of blackberries with the family and making a year’s worth of jam out of them. That was a couple of weeks ago; they’re still going strong in the hedgerows and I’m tempted to go out and pick a load more.

I think a nice mid-life crisis at some point might be to buy a few demijohns and make booze out of nature’s bounty.


Our vine has yielded some fine grapes this year. I picked the best and made some tasty grape juice and left the rest for the birds.
I planted a couple of tomato plants and failed miserably to train them properly or prick out etc. I’ve been rewarded with an amazing crop of tomatoes that are really tasty!

We have apple trees in our garden, our neighbours have blackberries. We share and enjoy. I make plum gin if I can get to the plums before the pigeons. This year I failed. Hey, ho.

Our beans, French and Runner, have been very productive with the French ones the more prolific. Just when we thought they were done for the year more flowers appeared and we are picking once again. Happy days.


I haven’t made plum gin before. Damson gin was a great winner in a previous house with wild damson trees in the hedgerow.


These are really small plums, rather like damsons. Good flavour but small flesh in relation to (normal) size of stone. But the trees are a little too tall so getting at the fruit before the birds is tricky.

This looks utterly delicious, @DrEm!
We usually harvest apples from our apple tree, and make my favourite autumnal treat - stewed apples with cinnamon and sultanas. Alas! Our apple tree seems rather ill this year, and whatever fruit was on it seems to have shrivelled… :confused:
Might have to ask the neighbours for a few of theirs…
On a positive note, have been picking blackberries which are abundant around the back of the house, and made some apple and blackberry crumble. Delicious with some crème fraîche.
Oh, I do love autumn… :maple_leaf::fallen_leaf:

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It would be cheaper, and much more fruitful, than the sort of mid-life crisis involving cars or motorbikes! :wink:


Three years ago I bought a two year bush Apple James Grieve. It was rather battered but I got it for £5 from Poundstretcher.
I decided to prune it as a column . Last year I got eight fruits, this year 12.
It can be used to cook or kept longer when it becomes a tangy crisp dessert


I built a fruit cage last year and planted it with blueberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, gooseberry, blackberry, loganberry and tayberry all underplanted with strawberries. The strawberries produced well this year but most of that lot will be a couple of years more before producing well.

I also planted a plum tree three years ago which is just beginning to produce with about thirty plums this year; which will probably be enough for a couple of jars of jam. It was sold as Victoria plum but as the skins are pure purple it’s certainly not Victoria. I suspect it’s Czar. Regardless, the one I’ve already picked was well tasty!


Previously I’ve made bullace, sloe and damson gin and vodka , but here’s the start of my first effort at plum gin. I used plum Opal.


You did well with that choice James Grieve is a lovely apple sadly not seen these days as the supermarket varieties have taken over.
Difficult year in the garden, the greenhouse has done well with the tomatos, the huge yellow ones Yellow Brandywine have flourished especially well.
But the garden as with so many this year has had mixed results, firstly the worst pest attacks for years with a plague of cabbage white decimating even with sprays all the cabbage and black kale, and the wasps made a huge crop of plums unedible until the later ones came good, and the beans have been a disater area despite copious watering, the runners got second wind after the heat stopped and are producing great runners now but the climbing French beans just withered in the heat and never recovered and have been pulled up.
Carrots, all vars are the best crop for years, courgettes struggled in the heat but have come good now, and lettuce especially the Italian varieties have been non stop all year totally against the presumed love of cooler damper conditions, and the apples are good, big crop.
Percy Thrower would have been proud of my parsnips !
So a very mixed year, but then it normally is in the garden, oh the lawn is buggered in places and will need reseeding.


After losing several complete crops of carrots to carrot fly I have started using enviromesh:

Originally I only got it for the carrot fly which it solved completely with no chemicals. Hooray. But then I started using it to also keep the Cabbage whites off my brassicas which it also does perfectly (doesn’t stop the slugs though :frowning:) As well as using it to keep the sparrows off my peas; they sit there and peck all the growing shoots off; infuriating!

It’s great stuff. I started using it over ten years ago and I’m still using the same sheets I started with. Getting a bit tatty now but not bad for that length of time.

Use it for everything as we have a deer problem, but the cabbage whites got in somehow, probably when harvesting and that was that, for aphid attacks you need the smaller mesh enviromesh, the cabbage whites got into the green house through the vents and destroyed the cabbage seedlings, so abandon ship was the only answer.

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Best not to mention cabbage white caterpillars on a family-friendly site. Still, managed to keep them off my latest project, which is a couple of rows of seakale, grown from seed collected by me. They are doing well.

Here are a couple of things looking good at the moment -

Pears - I’m not sure what variety this is - it was here before we were. It only needs a week or so to ripen off the tree. The flavour is quite pungent in the way Williams pears are, but it evidently isn’t that variety.

Hazelnuts. This variety is mostly Lambert’s Filbert, but there are a few of an Italian variety in there, which mostly suffered a crop failure this year.

Eating apples. This is Orleans Reinette, a late ripener that needs storage, but which (according to Bunyard’s “Anatomy of Dessert” is the very best thing to have with vintage port!

Cooking apples. This is good old Bramley’s Seedling. It’s rare to see this much red on it, no doubt brought on by the abnormal summer.

Quinces. These won’t be ready to pick till October (there is still more swelling up ahead of them), but they are just starting to show some yellow. Variety is Meech’s Prolific, which it certainly is in good years. Probably a record-busting crop if all goes well.

Grapes - this a Pinot teinturier clone so it has red juice. Makes excellent jellies etc. but probably looking a bit over-ripe.


By golly, @Ghost-of-Mr-Tallis! This is all looking delicious!
Monty Don’s garden seems dull by comparison :wink: :+1::+1:

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All looking well, in my previous garden the owners before us went mad and planted 6 cooking apples, apple pie for the village, ridiculous so I let them grow the first year to see what they were and five were Bramleys, five and not dwarf stock so took three out and the last was the gem Rev Wilks which is also a dessert apple, still far to manyand there was permanent help yourself at the gate.
And that is the main problem with growing your own, the glut, I am by profession supposed to know what I am doing but however much you sow under glass early and late however much you stagger sowings and plantings ther comes a period when it all overlaps and you are inundated, if you have a large family you can use a lot more obviously but for two impossible, the allotment system makes more sense.
There was quite a good thread on members gardens and what they grew awhile back but I can’t find it or a way of linking to it which I wouldn’t if I can’t find it LOL

Reverend W Wilks

This is the plum already having half it’s crop removed, and one branch was lost to the weight of the plums.



Are they Rocha…?


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Those Rev. Wilks look delicious, @cerberus. But I couldn’t get away without netting my plums. I had an excellent set of Golden Sphere (a mirabelle type) but a week away saw them all taken on my return - every one! We have field pigeons - time to remind myself they are delicious, and I really should set myself up for an extra crop of them.

But you are right about gluts - we freeze some, and have a heavy-duty juicer for the remainder, though I would struggle to make much headway against five Bramleys on their own roots. One thing that helps here though is that the soil is rubbish so we have to grow everything on moderate vigour rootstocks at least.

Afraid not - Rocha is quite a crispy pear and doesn’t have that pungent flavour. It’s hard to see from the photo but mine are much dumpier than Rochas, more like Comice in shape, and more melting texture. The skin colour is very similar to Rocha however.

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For me It really is about seeing the “fruits” of hard work coming into the house to feed family and friends - making some lovely meals …to enjoy with a nice glass of something of course!

It has been a very varied year with some crops not up to the heat and low rainfall and others now just starting to flourish - I ended up with no brassicas, so this years Christmas Day will be shop bought :frowning:

Have had, raspberries (low crop but tasty), red currants (best year!) Black currants (great flavour and ripeness but the skins were thick) and alpine strawberries from the fruit frame

Other Fruit - strawberries (first year of the plants), blackberries, apples, pears and it looks like a few meddlers will survive (the tree is pruned to limit fruit production as we can never get anything to work with them :disappointed: )

Best Crop of tomatoes for years - Cherry, marmonde, plum, etc etc - taste so much better than bought ones

Onions (terrible) potatoes (terrible) parsnips (yet to harvest…don’t touch them until 1st November!) garlic (fantastic) Asparagus (hmmm) Courgette (Marrow mountain!), Pumpkins (looking good for Halloween) Sweetcorn (starting to harvest this week)

…now im feeling hungry!