Forecasting can be foolish but daydreaming can be delightful. I propose to do both of these things in this article.
So far this year the weather in South Cheshire has been positively Mediterranean. We had a little bit of snow in January, but even this proved to be helpful. The snow was wet and sticky, and as it melted and slid off the roof of our polytunnel it took most of the algal growth and grime with it. This polytunnel is home to our collection of peaches, nectarines, grapes and figs. The improved light levels after the natural cleaning process will certainly be beneficial to the fruit trees’ photosynthesis.
Since the snow, the weather has been mainly bright and dry, with just sufficient rain to keep the soil topped up. Night temperatures have rarely fallen into the freezing zone.
Our fruit trees outdoors started off with the plums producing a record display of blossom. Following quickly on the heels of this snowy display came the pear and then the apple blossom. We held our breath in case a sharp frost robbed the delicate flowers of the chance to continue their cycle. No such frost appeared, and as the year unfolded the likelihood seemed to diminish. Now fruit is setting, and this is where I stick my neck out and forecast a bumper crop of fruit this year.
The dreaming part is delightfully easy. I am already imagining the melting taste of the plums, and all those that we cannot eat straight away going into store in the freezer. A surplus of apples and pears will go into our fruit store and the remainder will be juiced and pasteurised. This way they can be appreciated at their pristine best long after they would have gone sleepy in the fruit room.
I hope that both my forecasting and dreaming become realities. What a vintage year 2007 could prove to be!