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I have always loved greengages and would really like to grow my own. I've been doing some research but, if anyone has any experience or advice to offer: rootstocks, varieties, care and problems, I would value it greatly.
Flo I hadn't actually heard of this fruit before but having read up about it and having a conversation with my Dad today about them, I've decided I'm going to have at least one tree at the allotment.
Can you tell me what it is you liked about them and what's best to do with the fruit (I've read it makes nice jam). Sorry I can't offer you any advice on care or problems. Fingers crossed next autumn that will have changed.
Maybe we can learn along together, Leggi!
I like all sorts of plums - Marjorie's seedling and Victoria especially. Greengages have the plum taste and texture but are usually a little sweeter, softer and smaller. They're not in the shops for long and I haven't seen them in supermarkets (but that may be because I only buy fruit and veg there if no other option). I'm wondering if they only have a short season. I eat them raw like sweeties but there's no reason why they wouldn't make jam, I suppose.
I shall be interested to hear more about your researches and deliberations :- )
They make the most delicious jam in the world, and I use them in crumbles and pies too - wonderful. Yes, they only have a short season and do not transport and store well, hence the reason they're not often in supermarkets and if they are they're under-ripe and tart so people don't know how wonderful they really are!
I buy them from the local farm shop at this time of year. A former colleague had a large tree in his garden and he would bring in buckets full of fruit to the office and I took them home and made jars and jars of jam, and froze what I couldn't cope with at the time to use later.
Colleagues didn't know what they were - someone said they were Goosegogs!
But they ate the jam quickly enough when I took a jar in with some scones
Sadly the colleague with the greengage tree left.
He did say that some years the tree fruited very little and some years there was an absolute glut - probably to do with weather conditions at pollination - probably a bad year this year.
This is a good site for gages etc and they're very helpful http://www.readsnursery.co.uk/products/Cambridge-Gage.html
Wow! Never seen them in there before - don't suppose you noticed if they were ripe or not?
The local farm shop has some Spanish ones at the moment - I'm wondering whether to buy them or risk waiting for some English ones - there might not be many English because of the weather we've had.
Yep, 'cos the onions in the UK are late because of the awful weather earlier, and of course the New Zealand crop will have been in storage since their autumn. The farm shop I visited yesterday had local new crop onions but they were quite small due to the lack of sun earlier this year.
Flo we can lear together.
There seems quite a few different types around which surprised me, I think I'd like to grow one of the American varieties (there's one named after George Washington) and one of the earlier English varieties (but having said that I don't know how easy they are to buy).
This thread has helped me make my mind up that we should use our allotment to grow things that we like and things that aren't commony found in the supermarkets. Oh and I want in on the Greengage Jam!
Leggi, I'm trying to decide whether self fertile will really work out - many other fruits that say they are, are better with a pollinator. I did see that Marjorie's Seedling plum (which I like) is a pollinator for one of the greengages I fancied so that's a possibility. I just don't know if I have a sunny enough spot as there's a lot of tree cover. The thing is I'd like pears as well but I don't think I'll have room for two of those as well!
I'm planning to grow an espaliered Concorde pear on wires between two posts - you could do that along the side of the allotment, or at the end, or as a fence in the middle or similar
That's a worthwhile thought, Dove. The first owner of this garden had 4 espalier apple trees growing down the centre; only two are left and they're not exactly trained now. Concorde is one that I like but Doyenne du Comice is my absolute favourite so I'll have to check out pollinators.
I may well do that Dove, our allotment is a new plot so we can pretty much do what we want with the majority of it (setting it out). We need to have some trees towards the back so we can grow things in the ground beneath that don't particularly like full sun (blueberries, rhubarb etc). The birds are the biggest pest there so we're going to need to put netting up.
Flo as a general rule with fruit I've found having more than one of each gives better results individually, I'm not yet sure on cross pollination so I'm probably not the best person to ask. My garden at home is small and packed with plants already so if it wasn't for the allotment I wouldn't be able to even consider growing any more fruit trees.
Flo, I always understood that the best pollinator for Comice is in fact Concorde. I have both but the Comice still remains a bit of a failure each year with only a couple of pears. I think it doesn't like my sticky clay soil and would much rather have a chalky or sandy bed for its roots.
Regarding gages, yes they are a great fruit with rich spicy aroma. Better than the best of plums, so it surprises me that I've never planted one or two of my own. My mother-in-law's Old English variety is lovely but I can't say which is the frontrunner for flavour, hardiness, reliability etc.