THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Aug05

Growing Fruit

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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!

Mar19

Wasting Water

Well worth a read in the BBC today – a note on how wasting water in the UK “as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.” Read the report here. I have written a talk about how we use water in the  garden. It was written when I moved from Hampshire to Essex and found out for myself just how dry this area of the UK is. It completely changed the way I garden. The lack of such a precious resource as water made me question what we can do to save it, store it and …

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Mar14

The Foie Gras That Tastes Like Nature

Ethical Foie Gras? Is That A Real Thing?   Foie gras – can it be ‘grown’ ethically? The video showing how this farmer works suggests it can… We first read about this in a book called The Third Plate by Dan Barber. I loved it and I love how Eduardo the farmer, who farms on the Dehesa in Spain, has a ‘take half leave half rule’. When talking about how the geese eat his olives… “They’re always quite fair. If you make sure the geese are relaxed and happy, you’ll be rewarded with the gift of fatty livers. That is God’s …

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Mar04

Hardy Orchids Via James Wong

Hardy orchids – here is a subject I would love to know more about – so lo and behold, James Wong has written about it in the Guardian! Read the article about hardy orchids here. I love having orchids in the house, just your usual run of the mill buy them in any shop orchids, but it is a pleasure to read about the plants that will grow outside and cope with this weather. (This insane weather! From the hottest days of February on record to Storm Freya, all within a week. Weather is always such a factor in gardening, but …

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