Grow your own

Bother, it’s been ages since I wrote a new blog post; I feel that the inability sometimes to write anything (writers block, they call it), coupled with the fact that I didn’t go to any Hen Harrier Day events (gutted, by the way, spent those days mainly moth-ing and birding), seems to have stopped me from writing about anything new.But you’ll be pleased to know (well I hope you are anyway) that I’m up and ready to go, the idea for this post came whilst I was in the garden. It was a rather dreary day- in terms of cloud cover, but warm all the same, and I was going down to the shed at the end of the garden for materials for my next project (more on that later!), when I noticed that the grapes, although very green and very sour, were still coming out in force- thus prompting me to look at all of the other local produce.

Let me explain; in amongst all of the other plants that seem to have no use in today’s society (what we call weeds); such as the yarrow, wall barley, ragwort, cats ear and so on- we as a family grow a bit of fruit and veg, it’s not as sustainable as we’d have hoped for this year- due to I admit a bit of neglect, but it’s still starting to come out in reasonable clumps and verges.

So after setting my eyes upon the disappointing bunches of tiny, green, sour grapes; I decided to move to something else, and was rewarded by the sight of shiny black gooseberries dangling from firm stems- I say the sight was rewarding, that is all that’s rewarding about a raw gooseberry, unless you cook it- from the taste of an uncooked one it might as well have been one of those awful grapes.

In amongst the throngs of bulging gooseberries (and also some shrivelled ones), nestled what is probably the British favourite of wild fruit- the blackberries, these sweet, soft fruit that are so often the reward of a hard days hiking through nettles and brambles, always look extremely inviting wherever they are- and can be the easiest to grow on account of their hardiness.

So that’s lightened it up a bit, but I was soon to be disappointed again by the lack of vigour being displayed by the wild strawberries- these are often so small that when they come out they mightn’t even be there, in this case they just weren’t there. All I came across were a bunch of wet leaves.

And now it is the turn of the hazelnuts, beautiful nuts, they come out in close knit bunches on the end of glossy, firm twigs- once again I was not to be disappointed, as although the hazelnuts were not quite ready to be picked and eaten, they did display that slight brownish tinge that sort of whispers; we’re still growing. The hazelnut seems to be easy to grow but hard to get to the exact ripeness.

From hazelnuts to spring onions, previously I’ve either been nicely surprised or bitterly disappointed, on this occasion I was…well…not really anything but bewildered, if I’m honest- the fact is that it can be hard to tell if a spring onion is ready to pick or not- it simply looks like a rather thin member of the grass family, but then you go to pick it and find that it isn’t ready!. But for those who grow spring onions properly the rewards can certainly be large, as a spring onion can be superb in taste when ready.

Finally we come to the old man of the crowd- the plum tree- and guess what, there were no plums growing, but before you all groan in dismay (sarcasm), the plum tree is just waiting for the correct time to produce its fruit, as last year it produced fruit later than this and there was more than we knew what to do with. A plum as you all know is extremely tasty when ripe; juicy and succulent with a slight tang to the chewy skin.

All in all I think it’s safe to say that this years harvest is much less pleasing than last years, it may be something we’re doing wrong, or it may just be the weather this year.

Oh dear- I’ve just scanned what I’ve just written and realised that I haven’t exactly sold ‘growing your own produce’. Well what I was trying to say is that even though you may have bad harvests and some days when the fruit or veg is just not doing very well, these will be the minority; and the majority of days that the fruit does very well will prove to be very rewarding- as it means spending less money on food and also contributes to the environment, due to you not spending money on produce that has been sprayed with insecticides, etc.

That’s all for now, hope you enjoy this post.

Here are a few pictures of the fruits and the day:

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