Tag Archives: Fruit

Patch Update…

Happy new year everyone!  We have not heard anything yet from the council regarding our planning application but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.  More trees arrived from Martin Crawford at the end of November and we planted the remaining food forest specimens straight away.  We also got a bunch of shrub and understory soft fruit and various other interesting bushes which we planted too.  Using cardboard we heavily sheet mulched around each tree creating small guilds and covered over with plenty of 15 year old horse poo and then green waste top dressing for mulch.  This should hopefully kill back the grass whilst providing some extra organic material to our sandy soil whilst the fruit trees are establishing.  Work on the roof continued and we’re close to finishing off now. We’ve completed the turfing and put the weather boarding around the outside. A gutter for water catchment is all that’s needed to finish off.  It’s a strange feeling putting in so much work at the patch and to be leaving it all behind but on our return to England we will have some well established fruit trees hopefully.  Best news of all is that Nina and I booked our tickets to leave England and we’ll be heading off on our first leg to Australia by bus to Morocco in 2 weeks!  From there we’ll begin to plan the rest of our journey and we’ll be doing the first of our Wwoof to Oz exchanges.

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Mum’s Medlar Jelly

It’s that time of year again when Mum has an abundance of medlar fruit hanging on the tree in the front garden.  In years gone by she has let friends in the village come and take them away but this year she decided to make some medlar jelly with a little help from me.  You can pick them hard and let them blet but we allowed them to blet on the tree before picking them and also collecting the ones that had dropped to the ground to.  In all we had 14lbs of fruit to play with.

Firstly we washed, rinsed and quartered all the fruit and then placed into a preserving pan and added just enough water to cover (half a pint to each pound of fruit).  We then simmered for 30 to 45 minutes until soft and pulpy.

Next was the fun part of straining.  Mum only had a small jelly bag so we utilised some thick stockings too.  The important thing here is not to squeeze or force the pulp through the nets as this will produce cloudy jelly.  We allowed ours to drip through the night.

Once we were happy that all the juice had dripped through we measured the amount of juice and made a note of it.  Then we poured it into a clean preserving pan and brought to boiling point.  We then added 650g of sugar to every litre of juice we had.  At this stage we added the juice of 3 lemons.

We continued stirring until all the sugar was dissolved (stirring in one direction only reduces foam).  We boiled rapidly until setting point was reached.  To test this we put a blob of jelly on a fridge-cold saucer.  Once cooled we ran a finger through it to see if it cracked.  Mum then carefully poured the jelly into some already sterilised jars and voila!  I think we’ll try it with some roasted pheasant tomorrow.

Forest Gardening by Robert Hart

I’ve just finished reading this amazing and insightful book by Robert Hart.  When learning about designing a food forest I kept hearing about how not to do it like Robert Hart did which intrigued me.  Mostly people have talked about his closed canopy temperate forest garden which didn’t allow much light to the lower layers.    I say that it’s a good job somebody didn’t do it perfectly as it has allowed the rest of us to learn from his non-perfect garden.  In this book however Robert talks in depth about his philosophies and world views with great suggestions and solutions whilst referencing some great work that I had not come across before.  A must read for perma-junkies or indeed anyone interested in world changing!

Foraging and Preserving

Most of our carrots seem to be ready and we’re picking them as we need them at the moment…stacking in time!!!  Nina has been busy foraging hazels, crab apples and blackberries from around The Patch and has made some delicious jam that I’m sure we will eat into the winter!  The green roof has taken well and we are keen to get it finished now.  We’re now on the hunt for plenty of cardboard and organic mulch for the fruit tree’s in the food forest.  We will be creating a guild around each tree with a large area of cardboard covered in some well rottened poo and straw mulch or 18 day compost if we can get some made up soon.  We will then plant some fruit, herbaceous perennials and other supporting plants.  This will create small islands within the food forest that in time will be expanded to form a large and balanced eco-system.

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July – Sudden abundance

The first week in July and already our vegetable garden is producing an abundance of tasty food.  Nina’s medlar has settled in nicely.  Everything is mulched to hold moisture and suppress those volunteer plants.  We seem to have no pests eating anything as Nina carefully chose where to position plants to benefit one another and exploit those niches…

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March – moving ahead

March came and we suddenly had lots and lots to do.  Firstly I marked out where all the trees in the food forest were going to be planted using stakes.  Then a whole bunch of trees were delivered from The Agroforestry Research Trust. The next day the guy came back to move the shipping container with more success than the first time.  We did a carboot sale and got rid of lots of unnecessary possessions.  Such a good feeling to feel lighter.  We erected a fence around the food forest and friends came from London to help plant hedging.  Our first veg box arrived and we saw Barny the owl.  We built a compost bay with free pallets and fence posts that were scavenged…

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