Happily Orkney is receiving some summery weather, and on Papa Stronsay the greenhouse is really flourishing! At the risk of overdoing a good thing, here is a collection of photos taken today to show you all how things are going.
The cherries are back! There are hundreds of delicious juicy cherries on this tree.
A few years ago the greenhouse was infiltrated by Red Spider Mite. This mite is a real pest. It is very small and reproduces rapidly. They feed on your plants and end up killing them; we nearly lost our peach tree as a result! An effective means of keeping the mite in check is the introduction of a predator-mite called Phytoseiulus persimilis. The predator-mite colony arrives by post in these tubes.
The tiny mites and the substance in which they are packaged are spread around the greenhouse. Here you can see some sprinkled on the pear tree. It is on the leaf in the centre of the photo. We do this each year.
Over the past few years we have also been introducing various aphid predators to control the greenfly. This year we are thrilled to find that the predators seem to have settled permanently in the greenhouse. We have not introduced any new ones this year, and the greenfly are completely under control without the use of any sprays!
The grapes are not ready yet, but they are on the way.
The loganberries are delicious this year.
Due to various reasons, we didn't get any tomatoes planted this year. However, God supplied our want: these tomato plants grew of their own accord! They must have grown from seeds dropped by last year's plants.
An upside-down tomato. It grows upside-down out of the bottom of a suspended bucket. Amongst other advantages this keeps the pests away from the plant.
Could these be the only apricots grown in Orkney? I don't know about that, but they are certainly doing well in the Papa Stronsay greenhouse.
They're not ripe yet but they already have a beautiful colour.
The Kiwifruit are still very small. They will not be ripe until the end of November.
Br Jean Marie, F.SS.R. is laying some new sprinkler pipes.
They are simply a plastic hosepipe with lots of small pinholes in it.
The pipes are hooked-up to a tap and the tap is turned on.
This sprays the area around the pipe with a fine, rain-like mist. This will also help in the fight against the Red Spider Mite mentioned earlier in the post. The Spider Mite thrive in a low humidity environment. Using these sprinkler pipes helps to keep the humidity high and create a hostile environment for the Spider Mite.
Br Alfonso Maria, F.SS.R. is transferring seedlings into the ground.
The Strawberry bed has also had a sprinkler hose put on it. The strawberries are a little out of control this year, but their fruit still tastes great!
The peaches are still young.
One of two apple trees.
The plums are still green and thus quite difficult to distinguish from the leaves. However once you start to see them, you'll see that it's going to be a bumper crop.
The Nectarines have a while to go yet before they are ready for eating.
Therefore, neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 1 Cor, 3:7