THE MODERN MINT BLOG
Growing fruit is ideal when you want your own produce. It is low maintenance, tastes great and because you are growing it yourself you can choose varieties you just won’t get in the shops.
The best place to start is to read Joan Morgan’s Fruit Forum. We only recently discovered it when we saw a blog post asking ‘Where Have All The English Cherries Gone?’ after buying the tastiest, freshest cherries we have ever eaten and wanting to know more about British fruit.
(Essex, where we now run our garden design studio from, was always a big fruit producing county and apparently the UK climate suits growing fruit, especially for plums which need a winter chilling… although a warming climate may change things!)
Joan Morgan is a fruit expert – you can get her book The New Book Of Apples: The Definitive Guide to Over 2000 Varieties on Amazon, and as apples are likely to be the first fruit you add to your garden it will help you decide exactly which type to grow.
UPDATE: The Apple Book by Rosie Sanders, which garnered a glowing review recently in Gardens Illustrated as “an attractive introduction to the joys of British apples…” also mentioned how superb Joan Morgan’s ‘New Book of Apples’ is. Good to know these books are out there and the information you want is at hand!
Great nurseries to buy fruit from in the UK are:
Grow at Brogdale. They also have the National Fruit Collection.
Orange Pippin Trees. They have lots of advice online.
Keepers Nursery. Where you can find cobnuts!
Places in Essex to learn more about growing fruit are:
Crapes Fruit Farm – near Colchester, they have a regularly updated blog and specialise in lesser known varieties of apples.
Tiptree Jam Factory – this must be world famous by now, surely? We have friends in Paris who come to the UK just to stock up on their jam, and now we live in Essex we won’t buy anything else. They grow fruit for the exact reason you should – because they can get varieties no-one else can provide them. They even have mulberries… a tree we would love to plant more of for our clients.
Clay Barn – a quince orchard no less! Unusual fruit and beautiful trees, an old client of ours has two in their 54 tree orchard and the fruits always felt like a gift when ready to be harvested. For cooking suggestions try Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book (Penguin Cookery Library)
A reader of this blog also sent a link to Oxford Wild Foods. It is a website mapping places you can find food growing for free. Are there any other websites like this? Do let us know via our contact page.
For more information on growing fruit either speak to the nurseries above or buy these books we have added below – mostly by Bob Flowerdew and Mark Diacono – which should give you the confidence and a few tips and tricks to make the best of your garden for growing fruit!
The Nunki weeder has been talked about by Jane Perrone in the newspaper (the Guardian, if you are interested. At the weekend.) She said this about our lovely weeding tool… “Getting on top of annual weeds such as hairy bittercress and speedwell can be tedious. The Nunki weeder has a curved blade that allows for precision work around plants….” There you go – a weeder for precision work, not an avocado destoner as someone once said to me. Take a closer look at the Nunki weeder now.
There has been some great articles around recently, what with the gardening season upon us and the Extinction Rebellion happening. I particularly liked this from Alys Fowler – Turn Your Lawn Into A Meadow “(Most lawns) are biodiversity deserts… and worse still, we pursue this. There are aisles in garden centres promising ever-greener sward, with no moss and weeds. Let there be no misunderstanding; these are chemicals that silence the soil.” Raise your mower height. Don’t cut until June. Then just once a month afterwards. Love that advice. And it is saving petrol for your mower too! This article also …
This piece in the Guardian got me thinking a lot – it shows how an orchestra, a country and a town in Devon have been putting the cost of their carbon footprint at the head of their priority list. Read the article – Carbon Cutters. Gardening is not above this. From refraining from using peat compost to moving to a decent pair of shears, you can easily reduce your carbon footprint. Perhaps you could even make your own compost, so as to enhance life in your garden all the way down the food chain? (For more on that, you can …