Why the oldies are the good­ies

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Growing -

Many of the best home gar­den va­ri­eties are her­itage va­ri­eties from the 19th cen­tury.

Pears are grafted onto two root­stocks. Pear root­stock pro­duces vig­or­ous large trees that need space. Quince root­stock pro­duces smaller trees which can be bought pre-pruned into pyra­mids, es­paliers and fans, and even dou­ble worked with com­pat­i­ble pol­li­na­tors.

We chose dwarf her­itage va­ri­eties on quince C root­stock, which only grow 2.4-3.5m high. We wanted va­ri­ety in a small space and didn’t fancy climb­ing lad­ders to prune and pick. While they need strong stakes, dwarf trees have the ad­van­tage of fruit­ing ear­lier and lower, and are very pro­duc­tive in a small space.

Pears are only par­tially self-fer­tile and most crop much bet­ter when paired with other va­ri­eties known as pol­li­na­tors that flower at the same time. We had to choose care­fully, given our lim­ited space, to make sure we gave our trees the best pos­si­ble pol­li­na­tion odds.

Other con­sid­er­a­tions are spreading har­vest time, the in­tended use of fruit (dessert, pre­serv­ing etc) and keep­ing qual­i­ties.

We wanted gourmet pears, com­pat­i­ble pol­li­na­tors, and a range of uses, so we chose: • Buerre Bosc • Wil­liam’s Bon Chre­tien (green and red va­ri­eties) • Tay­lor’s Gold • Win­ter Cole • Doyenne du Comice, a fab­u­lous dessert pear

Tay­lor’s Gold pear.

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