Many people are saying that, what with the cold winter and now the drought, Newburgh plums aren’t going to be putting on much of a show this year. Paul and Sheila have been assiduously watering their plum trees through the drought, and above shows the fruits close up. Small for the time of year, but already beginning to turn yellow. So they’re hoping they’ve saved at least something of a crop.
At NOGs AGM last night we were trying to predict a date for the plum market, but it’s too early to say. Even for a bad plum year. Provisionally, as always, it’s the last Saturday in August, i.e. 25th. Meantime though, there are a couple of things we want to share with you.
- If you have plum trees, please water them. You might think they don’t need watering, but they do. A lot! We had an extensive discussion last night around how much ‘a lot’ means. Oh, a fair bit, they all said. Loads. Eventually we agreed on the equivalent of four buckets of water per tree, per week. That’s about 60 litres per tree, per week. Surprised? I was.
- We’d really like to know how other people’s plum trees are faring. Members present last night were having a very mixed experience. Many of you bring plums to market in the early autumn. Could you get in touch with us please and give us an idea how yours are doing? Many thanks.
Leaving you with a nice image to inspire you. It’s not Newburgh though … it’s California! I believe they also have a strong reputation for fruit growing.
In the last post, we invited you to come and learn how to look after your trees; so we had some good Sunday afternoon sessions and here are some photos for those of you who didn’t manage along. There are still a few weeks of pruning time for your apples; but leave your plums alone for the moment. We’ll come back to you with some plum pruning advice later.
See those long spindly bits poking out of the top of the apple tree? That’s last season’s new growth, and it needs to be cut back by a third, to give the tree its best chance at a bumper crop. Find an outward-pointing bud and cut cleanly, so that when the branch starts growing again, it’s branching out in a nice open shape rather than cupping in and getting all tangled and congested (spot the techy language!)
Here’s one of our visitors clipping merrily away – he and his wife joined us all the way from Auchtermuchty as they have a number of fruit trees in their own garden at home, and wanted to improve their orcharding skills.
David was explaining that in looking after your fruit trees, what you have to do is achieve a compromise between getting the most fruit, and keeping your space manageable. In the case of the community orchard, Fife Council comes and cuts the grass between the trees. So we need to keep the space clear so that they can get in there with their little sit-on mowers. Also, if you let your trees just do their own thing without pruning, it will be harder to harvest the fruit.
Inevitably, there’s a health and safety element to consider … here’s the reminder … USE A LADDER! If you just reach up randomly you might get a branch in your eye, you might slip and trip, and it’s very undignified to find yourself sprawling among the windfalls. Dignity R Us!
Finally, here’s a nice picture of the Bramleys just after their annual clipping. Don’t they look nice under the lowering sky? Drop in and see them a couple of months from now with their frilly frocks on.
I’ve lived in Newburgh for less than a year and am astonished at the way the vegetation just burgeons. I’ve never lived anywhere this verdant. At the first plum market of the season last Saturday we took in QUARTER OF A TON of plums! There are at least two further opportunities to sell your plums and any other fruit, veg, jams and chutneys – so as before, please bring them to Alysia’s garage in Gardens Road, at the foot of Mason Street, Friday night about 6.45pm.
Just to encourage you to think laterally about what you might bring to market, here are a couple of photos from the recent Flower Festival:
And not forgetting …
Wonky veg are all the rage so bring them on!
And finally, further to recent chat about damsons – we went a stroll down the Pow today and saw some positively pendulant examples. They could have been giant grapes, so purple and juicy they looked. However I tried one and – although I have a high tolerance for sourness – had to spit it out. So will be interested to see if we have some rather less challenging samples this weekend.
So don’t forget – PLUM MARKET no. 2 THIS SATURDAY, 2nd Sept, 10am in St Katherine’s Square.
Plums aplenty delivered to Alysia’s garage tonight. All sorted for sale tomorrow morning. There will be more next week but don’t miss the season’s first plums, either for eating or jam-making. Also a few other fruits and veggies, and lots of jam. All top quality. See you tomorrow 10am in St Catherine’s Square!
Favourable conditions have led to early ripening of some plum trees – so, an extra plum market has been scheduled for this Saturday. The fruit intake will be on Friday 1 Sept., 6.30 – 7.30, at 9 Gardens Rd, Newburgh, KY14 6BZ (opposite the bottom of Mason Street). Please don’t bring underripe plums or other fruit, as there are at least two more markets to come.
Newburgh High Street, 9.30 – 12 noon Saturdays
Sept 2nd, 9th & 16th
Fruit growers please bring your fruit
to 9 Gardens Road 6.30 – 7.30 pm on Fridays
Alysia’s comment about her damson crop had me rummaging among my Plum Market photos from last year. I remember buying damsons and making damson gin – a first for me. In my Ayrshire childhood I remember being sent to pick sloes up the braes with my friend Marian, for her mum to make sloe gin. And then she let us taste it! I was amazed at how liberated other people’s mothers could be, as alcohol was pretty much unknown in our house. And the sloe gin was fabulous! [And when I say ‘childhood’, I guess I was near enough seventeen at the time!]
Anyway last year’s damson gin was very good but not recorded in my photos. Here instead is something else that gave me great joy from the plum market:
Here he is, taking a little bow. He is, of course, a Pink Fir Apple potato, and I loved him and all his companions dearly. They tasted absolutely delightful with just a knob of butter and a chive or two. I was told they were grown by Jason and Alison so I’m hoping they’re planning to bring some more to market this year. Where else but Newburgh Plum Market would you get to sample such a delicious, freshly-dug, and sadly rare, species? When I look up this variety on the internet, all the websites describe it as ‘long, thin and famously knobbly’. Mine were knobbly but definitely not long and thin. They were all little action-potatoes with arms and legs – skateboarders possibly!
I know everybody will be raking out their jars and bottles in prep for this year’s harvest; so just for a bit of inspiration – do please send in your pics from anything you enjoyed from previous years! And don’t forget – Friday night, 1st Sept to hand in your goodies, Sat 2nd Sept for the plum market. See previous post for further details.
It seems the plums are doing well everywhere in Newburgh this year, with reports of laden branches and nice colouring up. Everywhere, that is, except in the community orchard … Why? we can’t figure it out. But of course, with a bit of concentrated sunshine, that could all change. This is a picture of the Community Orchard plums at the end of August last year – looking good. Maybe these last few weeks will make all the difference.
In any case, the date for the plum market date has been set: Saturday 2nd September – unless we have exceptional weather and faster ripening, in which case the date might be brought forward a week. Growers will be contacted in all the usual ways. Please bring your plums and other produce to Alysia Leyshon Richards’ home at 9 Gardens Road, on Friday 1st Sept, 6.30pm.
And this is our brand new NOG Blog. We’ll be posting articles on all aspects of orchard activity in Newburgh and beyond. Please get in touch, ‘like’ us and share us, and give us your comments. We are also on Twitter: @Newburgh.Fruit