Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Foraging Locations

I've been out on a couple of walks recently and it's really interesting how my view of the world has changed. I always noticed the nature around me but now I find that I'm really examining the trees and I've seen so much more. There are things I've been waling and driving past for years and just never noticed.
I've found a wonderful walnut tree that I'll be keeping my eye on, but that I have been unaware of, despite driving past it almost daily.

Whilst out on the first of my recent walks I found some great blackthorn hedges so I will be keeping watch on those as everything is ripening way ahead of schedule this year.

I was also really delighted to find some hedges which were almost entirely made up of hazel trees, all of which were fully laden with those beautiful green nuts, now I just have to wait for them to turn the perfect brown shade so I can make them mine.

I feel like I'm very much focused on nuts and berries this year, trying to learn everything would be too much but I'm already recognising more trees than I ever have before.

Whilst on the second of my walks we went through a little copse and within that were all sorts of fruiting trees. I'll be back later for the apples, that's for sure!
I also found a few trees that I thought were cherry trees, but after taking Mum with me to pick a basket full, she tells me they are plums. They're not unlike the Mirabelle plums, but I'm not sure if they are the same or not.
If anyone happens upon this and can tell me the name of them I'd be hugely grateful!

(I've since found out they're Prunus cerasifera 'Myrobalan')
You can see why I initially thought they were cherries:

I also found some really unusual apples, I've never seen their like before but didn't have a camera with me. They're really elongated, almost oblong in shape! I'll be seeing how they taste in a few weeks time!
Mum also gave me the name of a few of the other trees & shrubs that I didn't know, one of which is a Viburnum and has wonderful looking small berries on it, but I can't quite establish how edible they are, or how to determine that as there seems to be a number of different species under that name. Some further investigation is in order!

July 25th


= Lettuce (Salad Bowl Red & Green)

Seedlings also up for Pak Choi, Peas and Beans.

Radicchio has decided to not yet show its face!

July 20th


= Carrot (Early Nantes 5/Purple Haze F1 Hybrid)
= Lettuce (Salad Bowl Red & Green)

July 14th


= Fennel
= Rocket
= Salad Leaves
= Spinach (Bordeaux/F1 Tetona)

Monday, 13 July 2009

This 'n' That

I'm really cross with myself for having missed most of the elderflower. I only got to make one batch of elderflower cordial and I'd wanted to try several recipes. I also have a recipe for elderflower lozenges that I really wanted to try - especially as it had been a royal nightmare trying to find one of the ingredients.

However, for the past week the majority of what I've eaten for my tea has come from the garden. The lettuce, peas, broad beans, cucumber and carrots for my salad have been picked and on the plate within 15 minutes. Those broad beans, when they're thumb nail size, are just delicious picked fresh and eaten raw.

I'm disappointed that I just didn't seem to get chance for most of June to get into the garden and do some planting there, still I'm hoping that with the weather being a nice combination of lovely sunshine and overnight rain at the moment they'll soon be pushing through the ground and be ready to eat in super quick time.

I've finally got tiny baby courgettes beginning to grow which is really good, I know it's going to go from almost no courgettes to how the heck am I going to eat all these courgettes! I'm going to make sure there's plenty of room in the freezer!

The kohlrabi (I'm never sure whether it's kohlrabi or kohl rabi) is now ready and I must remember to find a recipe for it before it goes too far and is inedible as I'm still cross that happened to all my radishes. I decided not to plant any more radishes as I suspect I just planted too many in the first place.

As the season goes on it's interesting to see what I'm pleased I planted and what I'm not enjoying.
I shan't plant parsnips again. I've got two measly parsnips from the seeds I planted and after reading Sarah Raven's feelings about them I'm inclined to agree; they take too long to grow and taste pretty much the same from the garden and the shop.
I would definitely give more room to peas and broad beans, as I'm wishing daily I had more of those.
The amount of lettuce I have growing is proving to be pretty much spot on for my needs - which is a daily salad. I absolutely adore lettuce!
The same is true of carrots, I would like to be able to get some more planted so will pick up some extra compost and get some more of those in.
I wish I'd got more leeks too as I'm sure that once they're ready they'll be used up in no time, but space wise I think they will be something I have to grow in an allotment - assuming I get one of the plots, I still have my fingers crossed for that!
I'd love a strawberry bed too, they're definitely something I can't get enough of and the few small plants just aren't enough!
The alpine strawberries have gone mad and I have dozens of plants that I am going to need to find a home for somewhere in the garden.

Now I just need to concentrate on getting out there and starting some foraging in earnest. I bought some canvas so that I can make a sturdy bag to take with me, that will hold boxes for berries and the like. I've found a huge beech tree so must check my book again to see what it is that I can do with the beech nuts!

July 12th


=Tomato (Alicante)

July 11th


=Dwarf Bean (Cheyenne/Tendergreen)
=Fennel (di Firenze)
=Pak Choi (Red Choi F1)
=Pea (Ambassador/Kelvedon Wonder)
=Radicchio (Palla Rossa Bella)
=Salad Laves/Cut & Come Again
=Spinach (Bordeaux/F1 Tetona)

July 9th


=Pea (Ambassador)

July 8th


=Broad Bean (The Sutton (Dwarf))