Mrs Tristram

William Hebditch - June 16th, 2018.

We are rapidly approaching the end of another Asparagus season. Last cut on mid summers day. That allows the plants to produce loads of foliage to harvest the sunlight to make carbohydrates which are stored in the root system. This is what makes asparagus grow next year so a long hot summer is good for next season.

Actually we are coming into a vital period for next years fruit crops. Most bush and tree fruits are just starting to initiate flower buds,, just where leaves reach the stem, the “axil”. So not only is the plant supporting this years crop but resources have to go to the buds. We hope photosynthetic abilities are at their peak and nutrient supplies are not compromised. In some ways you want high nitrogen levels, to stimulate vegetative growth, but there is a downside to fruit quality, high N gives low fruit sugars and much increased rotting potential. With Blackcurrants those two factors directly influence price. low sugars and high rots mean a big price decrease. So it’s a case of fingers crossed that we’ve supported the bushes well up to now, without an excess of nitrogen to cause problems. All gets revealed when the fruit goes to the factory and quality and Brix (sugar) levels are known. Generally the fruit crops look healthy with strong green leaves but there is quite a lot of fruit to divert nutrition from the buds. I can witter on about such things ad infinitum so I’d better shut up!

For all my growing career, we’ve had a Ribena “temporary field officer” to keep us growers in line. A lovely lady who reaches a very significant birthday this year. The number 9 is involved… We’re off to a party in her honour tonight. It’s a month ahead of the proper date ( which was slap bang in the middle of the currant harvest) as it’s a joint party with her daughter.


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