Sal, Nuthurst Community Allotment, July 2021
Well, the Exotic Fruiterie was just a germ of an idea only a couple of months ago. Now it’s a veritable jungle and harvesting basket-fulls of edible exotic-fruiterie-type-things is just around the corner (well, more accurately, it’s probably a couple of years away but it’ll be worth the wait!).
We had an extremely generous donation of fruit trees from Vanucci Pianti which is an Italian nursery in Tuscany which have supplied Architectural Plants for years. We were also given a couple of lovely peach trees from Chris who is one of our Allotmenteers who gives lots of her time planting, weeding and watering and she has also grown lots of pollinator flowers which are going in to the soil throughout the raised beds to encourage as many flying critters as possible. Wendy and Anna have nursed a couple of avocado stones into life and Angus has taken cuttings of a prize fig tree and he has also resurrected a Persimmon tree (which also goes by the names of Kaki or Sharon Fruit) which looked more like a rather large dead twig for quite a while….until it stopped looking like a rather large dead twig and started looking like a rather large slightly less dead twig. Progress!
The Fruiterie is housed on the opposite side of the glasshouse to the veg beds and having the space to grow some fruit trees under glass means we can push the exotic boat out. Here is our roll call so far; Loquat, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Pêche de Nancy (actually an Apricot), Avocado, Calamondin (a cross between a Kumquat and a Satsuma), Peach, Persimmon, Kiwi, Fig. Not a bad start.
We have also purchased some fruit trees from Roots Plants which we have espaliered along the length of the fancy new fencing around the outside raised beds. In March we put a call out to the allotmenteers to suggest their most favourite varieties and we got as many as Pete (the treasurer) would allow us to get! These espaliered trees will flourish outside in this fine county; Gala, Braeburn, Granny Smith, Laxton Superb and Cox’s Orange Pippin (all apples), Green Gage, Victoria Plum, Quince, Blueberry, Hazel, Damson and Grape. Yep, we’re quite excited.
We’ve gone around in the glasshouse being bees; armed with a cotton wool ball on the end of a stick (rabbit tails or paintbrushes would also work), you find a flowering plant and you touch the cotton wool from one flower to the next. The problem with growing anything in a greenhouse is that you don’t have as many insects as outside, so in order to encourage cross pollination without an available beehive to hand, you have to do it yourself.
If you’re desperate for a look at the Fruiterie; our friend Chris (allotmenteer and photographer extraordinaire at The Nuthurst Parish Mag) made videos for both the June and the July edition of the mag (find them online http://www.nplink.org) in which Angus gives a guided tour of the fruit trees. Watch and admire the videos and then come on down to the allotment in real life and have a look around.