‘June drop’ sees fruit shaping up

The Sweetheart strawberry. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
The Sweetheart strawberry. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Fruit crops are shaping up well. The apples and plums are already bending branches, even as nature’s thinning-out process, ‘the June drop’, comes to an end.

The greenhouse peach carried so many fruits that I completed a second thinning last week.

Grape vines are also dripping with bunches and each one should have one third of its fruits removed to improve size and quality. However, time will only allow a handful, at best, to be covered with the pointed scissors.

Strawberry picking started in this garden two weeks ago, Sweetheart being the first cultivar to ripen. There are six varieties planted, enough to provide continuity until autumn, but in keeping with all the other soft fruits just starting to harvest, netting is necessary I’m afraid.

If only blackbirds could stick to a single fruit at a time, we could share, but they don’t.

Currants, gooseberries and raspberries are all netted just in time, and the crops they’re carrying show the importance of a deep organic mulch surrounding the base of each plant.

Fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants being constantly monitored for watering, feeding, pests and diseases, and maturity, is only part of summer’s demanding routine.

There are lawns to mow and treat, and now the main nesting period is over we can make a start on hedge-trimming. This demands an element of safety planning because we’re dealing with cutting blades, electricity and cables or petrol.

Ladders might be involved. Protective headgear, eye shields, gloves and footwear are worth considering too.

And don’t rush into it – that’s when simple, costly mistakes are made.