A plumb job

by Adam Pasco

What a disappointment! The plums looked lovely, as my picture shows, but they taste of nothing...Is it just me or are plums everywhere particularly tasteless this year?

PlumsAugust's plum time in my garden, with 'Victoria' a firm family favourite. Everyone loves them, especially my daughter Danielle, who strips my single fan-trained plum before even the wasps get a taste!

This has led me to extend my plum picking season by planting an earlier ripening 'Opal' and later ripening 'Marjorie's Seedling', so I'd hoped to be enjoying plums from mid-July until September. My 'Opal' was planted about five years ago, but fruit has been non-existent until this year. Having waited patiently I was rewarded with a bumper crop that started ripening about three weeks ago.

But, oh, what a disappointment! The plums looked lovely, as my picture shows, but they taste of nothing. Lovely size, beautiful soft flesh...but no sweetness or fruity flavour at all. Is it just me or are plums everywhere particularly tasteless this year?

Perhaps the relentless rain and lack of sun have taken their toll, swelling fruits but making them very 'watery'. Good looks aren't everything. It's flavour I want - organic home-grown plums to eat straight from the tree with enough left over to freeze and cook during winter. My 'Victoria' plums are swelling nicely, so I just hope they have the flavour to match their appearance.

Crops have certainly been affected by the heavy rain, so it will be interesting to see what other gardeners have found, and what lessons we can learn for the future. I see from Jane's allotment blog that her spuds are suffering. Well, at least the watercress is loving it!

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Gardeners' World Web User 10/08/2007 at 17:08

I'd put splitting down to heavy rain following a dry period. I'm not sure what part of the country you live in, Dawn, but fruit splitting can be a problem with many fruits, including tomatoes. The fruit's skin grows quite slowly, and if heavy rain causes the plant to take up moisture quickly the fruit swells causing skin to split. I hope this hasn't happened to all your fruits, and you manage to enjoy a few.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/08/2007 at 12:44

I would agree with the you. I was disappointed with my damsons. Very good crop but little flavour.

Gardeners' World Web User 13/08/2007 at 19:53

So sorry you have been disappionted. Our plums have been very tasty and we have had a bumper crop. One thing puzzles me though.... we have an apple tree next to the plum (with a heavy crop), there is a branch which has 2 plums growing on it. - No, I haven't had too much 'plum juice'!. Both trees are more than 15 years old and I have never seen this before. I would be most grateful for an explanation, I can take some pictures if needed.

Gardeners' World Web User 18/08/2007 at 18:30

Best year so far (out of 3 after inhereting my tree during a house move). Last year the (Victoria) plums were plentifull but small and tasteless, this year there was a better June drop resulting in fewer but tastier fruit. Suprising after the tree had its feet in 3" of water for a week during the recent floods!

Gardeners' World Web User 20/08/2007 at 11:47

Sam, please do send us a picture to gwletters@bbc.co.uk as we'd all like to see this. If it is true, I'm at a loss to explain this. Plums belong to the genus Prunus while apples belong to Malus, and while both are members of the family Rosaceae I'm pretty sure you can't get plums growing on an apple tree or visa-versa. I'll get back to you one I've seen your picture.

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