Saturday, 23 February 2013

More bargains

The other day I saw on A Whole Plot of Love a post about the supermarket Aldi offering fruit trees for £3.99 each... This was an offer that sounded too good to miss, so I went along to see for myself. The trees certainly looked very good specimens, and at that price it seemed foolish not to buy one. At Jane's suggestion I bought a "Bramley" apple tree, because if in due course it produces fruit this will be the most useful type for the kitchen. I'm sure most of you know that the Bramley is the best cooking apple of all - it "falls" (disintegrates) very well when cooked, producing a lovely smooth puree. Anyway, such things are a long way off still! It will probably be a couple of years before we get a viable crop.

The label says that my tree will grow to between 6 and 10 feet - it must be grafted onto a miniature stock - so I have planted the tree by the fence, over near the minarettes. The tree I chose has a particularly long leader (the main growing stem), so maybe it will eventually be very tall. As you can see in the photo below, the tree is already taller than the fence, and the fence is 6 ft.


New Bramley apple tree in the centre and older Pear tree at left
Here's a close-up. There's not much to see at present, but at least you can see that I have provided the tree with a hardwood stake, to which I have strapped it with a couple of sturdy plastic ties.


Now of course as all gardeners know, it is impossible when shopping to buy just the thing you went out to buy, so I must now admit that whilst buying the apple tree my eye also lit upon some packs of Rhubarb plants which were nearby... At a mere £1.99, how could I resist?


It's a pack of 2 plants of the "Timperley Early" variety. When I say two plants, I mean two chunks of plant evidently sliced with a spade. I'm not complaining though, since they seem very vigorous and are already putting up a couple of lovely strong and colourful stalks. This variety has really bright red stalks - though they will be pale pink if artificially forced.


They have already been planted, so that they have the maximum opportunity to settle in. I'll not harvest any stalks from them this year though. I'll wait until next year, by which time they should be well established.

I never cease to be amazed by the economics of the supermarket. How on earth do they manage to sell a decent-sized, healthy, well-packaged fruit tree for as little as £3.99? How much do you think they pay the grower?

21 comments:

  1. Hi mark

    Love your blog, very inspirational for me as I love cooking on the boat and also plan to have a 'boat garden' this year. I'm eager to get my dwarf green beans, cherry tomatoes, patio peppers and dwarf carrots on the go but I think it's a bit too cold at the moment. Most of my stuff will be planted in pots as not much land next to the boat.

    Love the recipes too - there's a few on our blog too which you might find of interest.

    Keep posting :)

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    1. Hi, and thanks for following! I had a look at your blog this afternoon - lots of interesting stuff. Do you live on the boat, or is it just for recreational purposes?

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    2. Hi mark - Both! It's a home and a good way to enjoy life travelling around etc

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  2. Have you another apple tree in the area as Bramley is in effect sterile meaning it can't pollinate itself so you need pollen from another tree that flowers at the same time (such as Cox, Worcester Pearmain or James Grieve). You may even need two others for Bramley as it is contrary. Flowering crab apples will also act as pollinators

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    1. Sue; I have another apple tree and so does my neighbour, so hopefully I will be all right.

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  3. I hope your bargain apple tree does well...it certainly appears very healthy and your rhubarb plants look sturdy, too. Don't you just love a bargain!!?

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  4. Don't omit to mention the annual and veg seeds for 39p a packet.

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  5. Some good bargains Mark and as you say they look healthy. I've heard quite a few complimentary comments about Timperley Early from growers on my allotments.

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  6. I've been really impressed with Aldi lately. I don't have one nearby unfortunately but these plants do look like real bargains!

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  7. What an awesome score Mark!! There is something tropical about huge rhubarb leaves. They look so beautiful in the garden.

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  8. Hello! I recently just started a youtube Korean food channel, EasyKoreanFood, where you can learn how to make fast & easy Korean food! It would mean the world to me if you could check it out because I'm just starting out! Thanks!

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  9. Seems the problems have been covered - two other apple trees nearby and miniature root stock - confess I was horrified at first to see where you'd planted it. (They can be massive.) How could I have doubted? Now my mouth is watering. I wish I had room for a Bramley. Mega flavour - and I love baked apples.

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  10. Hi Mark, I started vege gardening last year and your blog has provided wealth of information and inspiration! Hence when I saw this competition, I thought you should join! http://northlondon.mastergardeners.org.uk/2013/02/15/tv-show-looking-for-nations-best-kitchen-gardener/

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  11. Your plants look sturdy and splendid value. I too worried for the future of your tree where you have placed it. Bramley is a particularly vigorous variety, your rootstock must be a very special new one if it is to contain its future growth. Best of luck, its a fantastic cooker. You might be doing some root pruning and heavy summer pruning of new growth in a few years time.

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    1. Roger, you've got me worried now! Is it safe to believe the label on a plant bought from a supermarket?? I've double-checked and it definitely says "Height 6 - 10 feet"! Well, in any case, my neighbour's tree overhangs MY garden, so now my tree can overhang HIS! :)

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  12. Bargains indeed. I bought two apple trees last year, both on dwarf rootstock, but I've planted mine in containers for two reasons, firstly because I don't really have any spare ground in which to plant them, but also because even on dwarf rootstock they can grow larger than you want, so the container will restrict the growth. Let's hope we both get apples soon.

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  13. Hi Mark, I'm very interested in your rhubarb plants. I've bought a big one, which I need to break down into two smaller plants. Actually, would I do that with a spade or with a knife? It's just one big rhizome, no earth attached, as in your case. It does have several small red stalks, though, just like yours. For the time being it's in my dark, cool garage; the shoots have grown some since I bought it a couple of weeks ago. I haven't had the courage to plant it yet as temperatures are freezing at the moment. We even had a dusting of snow yesterday. I don't know when to plant it; I thought I'd maybe wait til mid March, or at least for some milder weather; what do you think?

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    1. Hi Miss Bougie; If it were me, I'd cut up the rhubarb plant with a knife. I have an old kitchen knife which I use for such things. The spade might not be sharp enough. Just make sure that each piece is not too small, and that it has at least one good bud. I think it would be a good idea to wait until the ground has thawed a little. If you need to keep the plants going until then you could perhaps loosely plant them in pots or buckets filled with compost.

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  14. Planting trees already!Envious!

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  15. I wish we could grow rhubarb here but the humidity and heat might be too much for the plants. Good luck growing them on your little plot, let us know how they grow.
    *jealous*
    I just purchased a few trees from Fast Growing Trees. The lemon/lime (grafted), avocado and clementine trees will go into pots and the 4 in 1 cherry and 4 in 1 apple will go into the ground. I'm hoping to yield some fruits this year.

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