It’s a pleasure going to the allotment at the moment. When taking a stroll down the country lane I feel only the chill of the late autumn air on my face. My body does not ache in anticipation of a hectic three hour stint weeding / planting / pruning. On arrival I see the plot almost the same as when I left it. The grass on my edging paths does not need strimming. The weeds are not out stripping my seedlings in growth. There is no need to spend the next hour hand pumping water into watering cans. Instead, there is the joy of a line of beetroot, a line of parsnip, and the pleasure of selecting the best specimens for the day’s roast dinner.
I find it easy on days like this to be lazy and suffer from the “I’ll leave it to next week” syndrome. The forfeit for this thinking is to miss the opportunity to prepare for next year’s harvest. Now is an excellent time to be preparing for Spring, and in particular the opportunity to plant fruit bushes whilst they are dormant. Growing fruit is one of the most satisfying, and easy, tasks on the allotment and now is a great time to make the necessary preparations. See more by reading my how to grow fruit guides.
I particularly enjoy growing traditional British fruit that, if frozen, can be made into warming and delicious crumbles or tarts at this time of year.
Although raspberries and strawberries are delicious, it is also true that when my allotment harvest is ready nearly all the major supermarkets are selling cut price punnets on their shelves. I proudly boast that mine taste more delicious (which is of course true!) but the economic argument is undermined. By contrast delicious British gooseberries, redcurrants, white currants and blackcurrants are much harder to come by. They may be slightly out of fashion, and have a reputation for bitterness, but this belies what can be enjoyed. The truth is that these traditional British fruits have enjoyed a transformation in the types and varieties available with many sweet enough to be enjoyed just as they are. See my guides here:
Perhaps best of all, one of the joys of growing fruit is that they are extremely easy to take care of. I surround the feet of my fruit bushes with tarpaulin to keep weeding to a minimum (the permeable woven type to allow the rain to soak through). This leaves the low maintenance tasks of a mulch in the Spring, with a top up watering in particularly dry periods and during the formation of the fruit. From personal experience I’d also recommend some form of netting / bird deterrents – and that’s it – job done!
If you’d like to grow fruit, or perhaps buy a bush as a gift for a gardening friend, there is a wide selection of fruit bushes for sale on Goodies4Gardeners.co.uk, or use these quick links to buy direct from Amazon.co.uk: