Apricot

Normally you wouldn’t consider growing apricots in Newstead. They flower and fruit too early to avoid our frost-prone climate. However, given a sheltered spot in our garden and the fact that the seasons are changing, we might hope to get fruit more than one year in eight, or ten, which is the norm for around here. Apricots are worth even the longest wait, in my book. There are no comparisons.

MAIN TASKS:

Autumn – Apply good dose of compost. Weed. Mulch with basalt dust or sow a good bug mix around the base of the tree to create a living mulch and attract pollinators and predator insects.

Winter – Planting or transplanting time. Prune for structure and form, train to a vase shape with four framework arms. Feed with compost. Consider a tree paste application or BD 500 application.

Spring – Sow spring good bug mix around tree as a living mulch. Foliar spray of seaweed and wormjuice each month. Thin fruits if needed in late spring/early summer.

Summer – Keep plants mulched and watered. Harvest. Pick when ripe, by taste. Apricots won’t ripen off the tree, or at least improve flavours. Clean up and compost fallen fruit and leaves to minimise pests and disease. Late summer prune for fruit production.

Generally – Flowers are produced on one year old wood, on laterals and, in older trees, on spurs on older wood, but the spurs are not long lived, producing for only two or three years. Flowers are self fertile; no pollinators needed (apart from the bees and insects!) Take care when pruning to clean gear between trees as apricots are very prone to diseases, esp brown rot, shothole, wilt, and silverleaf.

Eating – pick when ripe. Apricots are high in Vit A (anti-cancer) and other nutrients inc iron, calcium,  Vit B and C, potassium, and sugar so they are a nutritious fruit, moreso when dried.

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