October 23, 2017

Gardening Tip – For the week beginning 20.03.17

Thinning the fruit barrier.

Fencing between gardens is often bold and solid but between allotments we usually go for a more relaxed type of fence the purpose is primarily just to specify a  boundary but not to keep out the neighbours’ eyes as we all live as one happy family on the allotment, don’t we? A common divider is a low growing fruit hedge –gooseberry is quite a common choice;  or to avoid the thorns – black or red currant- these hedges  will double up as a fruit supply as well . Since blackcurrant shrubs tend to have a wider framework , many allotmenteers  prefer  red currants as a boundary between them and their neighbours. A common problem with these bushes as the years pass, is due to their tendency to be classed as totally non-maintenance bushes, after years of neglect the annual crop diminishes to a meagre amount.

overgrown hedgeI have such a row of bushes (pictured above) planted years ago by my predecessor – every year I intend doing something about it, but being a time consuming job it gets pushed of to the next year. The bushes have grown wide and tall, the brambles have rooted between the currants roots and have left me with a wide bush stealing growing space from my allotment with few currants within reach as they hide under a mass of spiny bramble leaves. This past week I finally decided to take on the challenge.

Armed with a pair of my geared loppers for the thicker branches, secateurs and  my new telescopic battery hedgecutter that I recently acquired (see my article last week), I took on the ‘battle of the bramble and currant bushes’. This last piece of equipment was a fantastic scratch saver from the spiny attackers, as I had the advantage of attacking them from a distance without being even slightly scathed through my gloves.

pruning overgrown hedgeAfter an hour of hard work  the hedge has  been successfully thinned to a third of its width, it should also be cut down to half its height  but if I were to do that now, I would be cutting off every fruiting possibility, instead I will leave the height for this year and I will remember to prune it after it has fruited. By that time, fruiting  spurs will have grown out as side shoots and the pruned taller shoots will also have enough time to produce new fruiting shoots for next year as red currants fruit early in the summer. At least the small amount of fruit I expect this year will now be easily accessible. The only job that still remains is to dig out the roots of the brambles which have now been exposed, it is interesting to see how there are only a few roots for such a mass of growth that enveloped the currant bushes.

live on left dead on rightI now removed the cut material on the left and prepared it for the next bonfire, I also placed some black sheeting on the area to keep it free from weeds until I have time to manure the area and dig it over for the forthcoming planting.

I have now added a few extra square metres to my allotment at no extra cost!!

Good Gardening to you all

Boris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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