Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Trust Me, I'm A Gardener

Believe me.......My friend Emma has one hell of a beautiful greenhouse 'to play in' here, and next year, if she'll let me, even though I have three of my own that I enjoy 'playing in', I'm confident that I can grow some truly amazing things for her kitchen.  My adorable friend Gloria only introduced me to Emma and her lovely husband just this year, but I'm forever grateful to the both of you for making my life a lot more focussed and special.

We all aspire to wanting to keep a photographic record, as the Seasons evolve, but often, with very many other pressing things happening at once in our lives, it's truly extraordinary how time runs away with you.  Ultimately then, you forget how weedy it was back in The Spring, you forget the changes that have taken place, but you remember the beautiful fruit and vegetables that you've harvested over the months, and the stories that you could tell in between - even to exhaustion with The Sodding Runner Beans or Raspberries that Mother Nature has bombarded you with that need picking on a daily basis!

And I know Emma won't mind me applauding their dedication in getting to grips with what to do with the produce of such an enormous Orchard, because there's only so much Jam a person can make without losing the will to live? isn't that true you two?! 
At which point in my blog I am going to completely 'Big Up' a place called Ragmans Lane Farm, just off the Wye Valley Road near here, which is where Emma's Husband and I took about eight sacks of Apples that we picked last week for them to Juice'n'Bottle for them, and tomorrow, hopefully, Emma and I will be picking a shed-load of Pears and Apples, for Ragmans to juice into 'Papple' Juice for them. Why buy Organic Bottled Fresh Juice at a hugely inflated price for a whole year when you don't have to?  Cool!

On a slightly different 'tack', hard work that you put into reclaiming redundant land this year, for next, allures and charms you, dangling a proverbial Carrot ahead of next years' excitement, with crops that you've dreamed of growing in abundance:  Borlotti Beans, Globe and Jerusalem Artichokes, Sweet Potatoes, an abundance of Salad Leaves, anything is perfectly possible to grow in our climate, and those that are either expensive in the shops, or lose their flavour between Harvest and Plate, are particularly 'valuable'.   Emma is as adventurous as I am, both in 'the growing department', and latterly, where Kitchen Alchemy amalgamate the two.  And when those two things fuse together, well, I just can't help myself - Kid in A Sweetshop?!

 It's one thing to sow seed, and in a straight line is not only admirable, but eminently preferable (!), but what many peoples forget, is 'the aftercare', and it's not then wise to let all the weeds dominate the inbetweenie bits between the rows of stuff you've lovingling sown, because you're potentially 'shooting yourself in the foot' and it's then a complete and utter waste of effort up till now to let it continue as such.

 Don't get me wrong.... I'm more of your 'Sinner' than your 'Saint' Kids?! - but my personal motto is to Mulch, Mulch, and Mulch.  When the soil is free of weeds, every time you mow the grass, put the clippings onto the bare earth.  This deprives the newly unearthed weed seedlings of light, and lessens the chance of any of them germinating - then you don't have to waste precious time spent doing weeding rather than other more important gardening duties, and as the grass clippings rot down into the earth, they encourage earthworm activity, and what's called the 'Humus' content of the soil increases, which ultimately feeds your soil for free.

And when you've added a layer of rotted manure , it's far better to cover the ground than leave it open to the elements over the winter, because the earthworms tend to be way more active with a covering, than not.

Plenty more to say, but insufficient time, and time for bed.

Take care of yourselves.


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