Grow Your Own Collection - plan your next year Harvest Festival basket today
This year the exceptionally summery weather was relatively kind to us, with a good combination of sunshine, rain and warm temperatures - although it took a while to get going in early summer, hence some of those late season fruit and vegetables that you may see which are ready for picking.
While enjoying the taste of your late season fruits and vegetables, get your next year Harvest Festival basket ready with our latest garden vouchers, garden plant offer’s, and Grow Your Own deals.
My choice for this year has a combination of taste and beauty.
Autumn Harvest Fruit Trees that are suitable to grow in the UK.
Apples. An apple is a staple fruit in the British Garden with the all times classics – Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, the little beauties Crab Apples. My personal favourite Apple ,“Red Love”, is completely unique, producing lovely crisp apples with exquisite tasting red flesh – and it’s now available on special deal from Gardening Express.
Another similar variety is the ‘Tickled Pink’ Apple. One of the finest of the red-fleshed varieties, it is both productive and highly ornamental. These ‘Tickled Pink’ Apple trees are available at Thompson and Morgan.
This year the Apple Harvest is looking particularly good and it is now the perfect time to start planning for your best value bare root apple trees for next year. It takes a few years for the average Apple tree to start producing a good number of fruits – so the earlier you get it in, the faster you get the results. You can order your Apple trees from Thompson and Morgan, Van Meuwen, YouGarden.com, Gardening Direct, and Gardening Express.
Figs. There is only one thing to say – if you’ve never grown your own figs, then you do not know the real taste of this amazing fruit. Fig trees grow nicely in most areas of the UK. All that you’ll need is a south facing wall or sunny patio. I have a few different varieties and my absolute favourite is the “Brown Turkey”. The fruits themselves can grow to quite a large size and have to be left on a tree to fully ripen. You can get Fig “Brown Turkey” from Van Meuwen, from only £7.99 per plant. And if you take into consideration that you would pay at least 50p for an individual Fig fruit from a shop, then you can count the savings for yourself. Shop Figs never taste that good anyway, trust me. Enjoy the true mouth-watering taste of this exotic fruit that’s packed full of goodness.
Quince. Yet another wonderfully unusual fruit that grows happily in the UK. I am very lucky to have an old orchard and so one of our Quince trees is at least 50 years old. The tree is very ornamental in spring and produces masses of fruits every autumn. Quince fruits are very rich in vitamin C and can be used in many recipes. Quince jelly is the classic, but my personal favourite is an Apple & Quince Pie, Quince Cheese (no actual Cheese involved) and Quince Marmalade. It takes a bit of cooking, but worth every effort. You can buy Quince trees from most of Mail Order Plants suppliers and Thompson and Morgan has a Patio size Quince Trees available.
Soft Fruits for September picking.
Raspberries. My late season Raspberries can easily keep going until the first frost. I prefer late raspberries to the earlier ones for the taste and the sheer abundance of the crops. Late season Raspberries are definitely my Jam go to.
Raspberry 'Autumn Bliss’ is available from Thompson and Morgan now for only 1.42 per plant. They’re easy to grow and you can get a few fruits in the first season with good crops even from the second season onwards.
Gardening Tip: Use chicken pallets organic fertiliser, it does wonders to the crop.
Strawberries. I grow A LOT of strawberries. In fact, I very rarely buy strawberries from the shop. My top pick is the Strawberry 'Flamenco'. If you were to choose just one variety to grow – Strawberry ‘Flamenco’ would be The One. Try growing this ever-bearing (All Season) variety to maximise your crop of delicious sweet and juicy fruits over a long picking period. From only 12 mature plants you will be able to harvest a bumper crop of 10kg (22lb) of fruit in one cropping season from mid May until November. Available at Thompson and Morgan as part of the All Season collection and individually from only 83 pence per plant.
Grow Your Own Vegetables for colour.
September brings us all the goodness of the Greens with varieties of cabbages, cauliflowers, sweet corn, courgette’s , runner beans – you name it. My Top Choice for a Harvest Basket full of colour would be Tomatoes and Chili Peppers.
Tomatoes. I usually grow them half and half – half of the greenhouse for cherry tomatoes, and half for the beef tomatoes. It was a late start this year for my crop, but they have all caught up nicely.
I particularly like growing Heritage varieties for the taste and to keep them going for the next generations. These tomatoes will do wonders for flavour and your spaghetti Bolognese will never taste the same after you try your own tomato sauce with it.
Top choices for Cherry tomatoes (tested over the years): “Sungold F1 Hybrid”, “Sweet Aperetif”, “Suncherry Premium F1” and “Black Opal.”
For the Beef Tomatoes: “Super Marmande”, “Ananas”, “Black Russian” Heritage, “Brandywine” Heritage, 'Cuore di Bue' and Gigantomo (the name might give you a clue on the size.)
Chili peppers. In our home we don’t cook masses of hot food, but for the occasions that we do I like to grow Habanero peppers - they are hot and look lovely too. Plus, they make for great Halloween decorations.
You can get similar colour variety “Habanada” from Thomson and Morgan.
And the Chili Pepper 'Joe's Long' (Hot) to add some dramatic colours to your green house.
Don’t miss out on the ‘4 for 3 on all seed’ (cheapest goes free) offer with Thompson and Morgan voucher codes - available now.
If I were to pick only 4 packs, my choice would be Tomato “Black Opal”, Tomato ”Sungold”, Tomato “Brandywine” and Tomato “Super Marmande”.
Other nice things....
And the last touch for my "basket" this year : Hazelnuts and Grapes
As an obsessive gardener (I am not a professional gardener, I just have a passion for it), my top tip would be to consider subscribing to the BBC Gardeners World magazine - buysubscriptions.com has good deals on many BBC Magazines right now. I’ve been a keen subscriber for over 15 years now and the tips and hints I get from it are hard to ignore. The information is very useful for the long term too. Quite often, I will go through my BBC Gardeners World shelf to find particular tips in last year’s editions, or even the earlier ones – and the 10 % discount on most mail order plants suppliers definitely comes in handy.
Check out the full list of VoucherShares' Garden Vouchers and Deals to get your garden bargains.
Enjoy your Garden!
Tanya Larsen, mother of 3, keen gardener, world traveller and a business owner
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