Late April 2017 and I finally got round to visit some folks in South Hampshire who I’d met at the Walled Kitchen Garden Forum weekend at Croome in 2015! I love enthusiastic people who are willing to take risks…Tim Phillips is one of these…in his own words “His once abandoned 19th century kitchen garden in Hampshire provides a fantastic environment for…Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc vines. The combination of gravel soils, Lymington’s maritime climate and the thermal properties of the walls offer a unique vine-growing opportunity from which both still and sparkling wines are crafted”.. (see http://www.charlieherring.com/)
On the day of my visit, Tim had been up all night keeping his vines from freezing by burning wood fires in the vineyard….this strategy seems to have saved the crop from a complete failure of the 2017 vintage :) This problem wasn’t restricted to England but also famous wine growing areas in France: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/29/in-pictures-french-farmers-use-fire-to-try-to-save-their-vineyards.html
I look forward to returning in a few years to view you sea kale production areas ;)
My first (of many) loads of apples drying over the wood stove!
I’m 100% self-sufficient in fruit and never buy bananas, oranges etc. and don’t use a freezer. When the apples are properly dried, they can be stored for several years (so if there’s a bad apple year next year I also have fruit next year…it’s a good year this year so I dry as much as possible). When fresh fruit isn’t available (typically from February to June), I use only dried fruit. Dried apples are fantastic to eat as they are and are popular with guests as snacks and also a perfect present for family and friends. I eat a home made muesli for breakfast every morning – large organic oat flakes that I buy in large sacks and I mix with various nuts. I soak a mix of dried fruit (apple, cherry, bilberry, plums, saskatoons etc.) and use them on the muesli.
Today there were around 200 waxwings / sidensvans in the garden most of the afternoon and I saw them eating berries on Sambucus nigra, Viburnum opulus, Berberis, Crataegus and, in this video, a white berried rowan, received as Sorbus fruticosa! I’d planted this tree right outside my front door to try to attract waxwings….I was able to sit right outside the front door in full view of the birds and make this little film only about 2-3m away:
In this video we see a bird feeding on a rotten apple still hanging in the tree, a second bird, presumably this year’s young, is seen begging for food, and when a second bird turns up it actually feeds it…a bit late in the year for this!
…and waxwings on hawthorn and Berberis before they are scared up by a passing bus!
…and waxwings on Viburnum opulus (guelder rose / krossved)
I like to cook on the wood burning stove in winter…here’s a scene from the preparation of last night’s home grown veggie curry with Basella, Swiss chard, the two leeks I managed to dig up from the frozen ground, onion, garlic, dried chantarelles and winter chantarelles, apple, chili, coriander, golpar (Heracleum persicum spice) served with onion bhaji and rye (svedjerug) “rice”…it doesn’t get much better
My forest garden continues to be super-productive, my udo is on its way back to the soil and is preparing for next year as are my three devil’s walking sticks, Aralia elata as well as Aralia racemosa and A. californica.
Apple trees in full bloom are a wonderful sight, aren’t they? I’ve seldom seen so many flowers on them as this and the rowans are also flowering well which probably means that the apple tree moth (rognebærmøll), which prefer rowans, will keep off the apples this year! (here’s a page about the moth http://ukmoths.org.uk/species/argyresthia-conjugella )
The rate of growth of Udo (Aralia cordata) from Japan is phenomenal in cool spring weather, even outgrowing Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach)!
The first picture was taken by Christian Odberger during my permaveggies course and just two weeks later the plant is taller than me! The view is or less the same and the apple tree at the back is now in full bloom! The fern is ostrich fern.