/ Sloes - hardly any to pick

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Dominion - on 28 Oct 2012
Last year there was a massive crop of sloes

See http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommason/6200470014/in/set-72157627605654105/

This year, that same blackthorn tree has not a single sloe on it, nor have any of the trees / bushes near it.

Is this "climate change" or just purely that the weather was bad at the time that blackthorn was in flower?
Ben Sharp - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: I'm not sure if it applies to blackthorn but some fruit trees don't produce a great crop two years in a row. If the same tree had a really good crop last year it might be the reason it's not so good this year.
Jacob Ram - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: I think it has been generaly a very poor year for most fruit. Last year was very good. This year apples were affected by poor weather during flowering, so no bees active to pollinate, no sloes round here either so maybe the the wrong conditions this year.
Frogger - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

Probably just the weather this year, I reckon

Hence this year I've made a rumtopf instead of sloe gin. And I have to say, I'm a convert!

Dominion - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Ben Sharp:

> ) I'm not sure if it applies to blackthorn but some fruit trees don't produce a great crop two years in a row. If the same tree had a really good crop last year it might be the reason it's not so good this year.


Interesting, I hadn't even thought of that.

But the fruit tree in the photo from last year does not even have a single fruit on it, it's not that it only has a few, it's completely bare.
HikerPunk - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:
same round here, last year nearly filled a 20l rucksack full of sloes in an afternoon, this year aint seen any....

looks like a barren year next year for the sloe gin....
Billy the fish - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to HikerPunk: I've not seen many sloes this year; it's been a lean one for blackberries too. The birds are going to need some help.
Ben Sharp - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Billy the fish:
> (In reply to HikerPunk) I've not seen many sloes this year; it's been a lean one for blackberries too. The birds are going to need some help.

Strangely enough blackberries have had a really good crop this year where I am, was still picking them out of the hedge last week.
Toby_W on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

Drop down our way, there are still a few hundred kilograms of them on the bushes round here along with wild plums (bullace) and every cross in between. Sloe gin here we come, or rather Bullace Gin as I'm lazy and needed to pick and prick less fruit for a very similar effect.

Seems very regional as where we picked loads last year there were not many at all this year.

Cheers

Toby
thebrookster on 28 Oct 2012
This year in general has been very bad for both fruit and veg, due to a) the large amount of rain we have had, b) the slow start to the year, and c) the lack of sunshine.

I have had a small amount of success with stuff in pots, but a lot of gardeners have complained about poor crops.

You will likely have seen the news reports about potato crops failing this year, same thing. Just potatoes in large quantities make headlines, your sloe gin is not quite as newsworthy ;)

If you speak to farmers this winter, I bet they will all be complaining that it is a hard winter for them, as grass has been poor, which will mean poor silage, and hay-making has been non-existent.

And the news reporters and our government are telling us we are out of the recession!! This next winter and year is going to be tough!!
simon c on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

our Damson trees haven't had anything to show this year, however thats not unusual as we sometimes get a dry year every so often and the last crop was bumper one. The bees haven't been as active either. we had a lot of rain in the pollinating period iirc.
skarabrae - on 28 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: as others have said, bad summer, loads of rain, very poor sunshine levels, lack of bee/pollinating insect activity
TryfAndy on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

Got enough sloes here in the Midlands for a few bottles, nothing spectacular this year though. The blackberry harvest has been bumper though.
digby - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

Is there anything you can do with sloes apart from sloe gin?
EeeByGum - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: This year has been a nightmare for all fruit varieties that flowered in late spring since it was so wet that the bees didn't get out and pollination was more or less non-existent. Our cherry bounty was about half what we would normally expect.
brownie mike on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: Most stone fruits need a chilling time, below a certain temp for a fairly sustained peroid of time, it differs from fruit to fruit, but last winter was a fairly warm one as it goes, so chilling requirements were not met in most regions, hence poor harvests. They need chilling to produce the hormones needed to stimulate flower growth. this is laymans terms, but I do have a degree in horticulture.
aln - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to digby: In Andy Hamilton's excellent book, Booze For Free, there's a recipe for sloe wine. Haven't tried it though, as they've been poor round my way and so far I've only foraged enough for one jar of gin. :(
bradholmes - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion: Mmmmm, been pretty poor round this neck of the woods but then a friend hit the jackpot the other day up in the woods. We subsequently now have more than a gallon of sloe gin......... :-). Cider however was not an option, barely 20 apples from an orchard of 40 or more trees.....I'm particularly unhappy about this as I'd arranged all the kit( in advance) in anticipation of a massive amount of brewing this year. If I'd made cider last year I'd have easily managed 10 gallons.......


I don't own the orchard by the way, I'm just lucky enough to work in an amazing place..... :-)

Philip on 29 Oct 2012
Frost killed really affected many wild prunus. Where I live is a big damson area - last year we picked 10 lb in 5 minutes. This year we saw 3 fruit on our hour walk.
Caralynh - on 29 Oct 2012
In reply to Dominion:

Really? You're not far from me, and the hedgerows between Honiley and Kenilworth are loaded. I picked a kilo or so recently and have my sloe gin happily mellowing :)
Toerag - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to brownie mike:
> (In reply to Dominion) Most stone fruits need a chilling time, below a certain temp for a fairly sustained peroid of time.... They need chilling to produce the hormones needed to stimulate flower growth.

Doesn't seem to apply to sloes - we rarely get frosts here and they normally thrive. I go along with the'naff weather at pollination time' theory.
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existing debt - on 31 Oct 2012
In reply to Toerag:

comparing sloes from last year they are half the size this season, still got a enough for a couple of bottles of though.

found some sloe gin that I stashed from 3 years ago, its like rocket fuel now!




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