Monthly Archives: August 2011

Summer bounty

We’ve started to draw the dividend from the work so far on the plot – we’re inundated with tomatoes, potatoes, courgettes (especially courgettes!), beans and peas.

These photos give some impression of the summer bounty – and there’s more to come from parsnips, carrots, runer beans and raspberries.


Blackberry bonus

When we took over the plot last September it was covered almost completely with brambles.  Since then, I’ve been totally focussed on clearing them out.  And, of course, that’s what we’ve done – on about half the land so far.  This is what it looked like last September.

But now, on the bramble bushes that remain at the wild top end of the plot, we’ve got a bumper harvest of blackberries.  In a funny kind of way, this unexpected bounty has been, for me, the best outcome so far.  They are deliciously sweet (apparently this is true for all wild blackberries, compared to the cultivated varieties).  The brambles will definitely remain in this top corner.

According to Wikipedia, blackberries are perennial plants which typically bear biennial stems  from the perennial root system.  In its first year, a new stem, the primocane, grows vigorously to its full length of 3–6 m (in some cases, up to 9 m), arching or trailing along the ground; it does not produce any flowers.In its second year, the cane becomes a floricane and the stem does not grow longer, but the lateral buds break to produce flowering laterals (which have smaller leaves with three or five leaflets).

Unmanaged mature plants form a tangle of dense arching stems, the branches rooting from the node tip on many species when they reach the ground. Vigorous and growing rapidly in woods, scrub, hillsides and hedgerows, blackberry shrubs tolerate poor soils, readily colonizing wasteland, ditches and vacant lots.

Blackberries are good for you: they are high in dietary fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, and the essential mineral, manganese. Blackberries rank highly among fruits for antioxidant strength, while their numerous large seeds contain some oil which is rich in omega-3.

An extract from How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn:

 O, blackberry tart, with berries as big as your thumb, purple and black, and thick with juice, and a crust to endear them that will go to cream in your mouth, and both passing down with such a taste that will make you close your eyes and wish you might live forever in the wideness of that rich moment.