April 07, 2011
I know it looks more like a mud plot right now but believe it or not, this time next week, it will be filled with wonderful fruit such as yellow raspberries, jostaberries, damsons and mirabelle plums.
Last year I took on a second plot thinking it would be great to sow a wildflower patch for the bees but as time went on I started to think about growing fruit to turn into preserves for the farmers' markets instead. So, a preserver's plot you could say. It certainly won't supplement all of my fruit needs, but it's a start and it'll be lovely to be able to grow some of my own.
To help plan the plot I called in some help from the wonderful Mark Diacono, (head gardener at River cottage for those of you that don't know) who runs Britain's only climate change farm www.otterfarm.co.uk. I first met Mark last Spring on a veg patch course down at River Cottage HQ. His advice was really sound and completely transformed the way I thought about growing veg. Thanks to Mark I've grown some truly amazing things on the vegetable plot, which I probably would never have thought of growing before.
After getting past an initial bout of shyness (he's really rather famous now you know - voted 'Hot' in the Guardian recently) we spent a rainy hour surveying the plot and a couple of dry ones back at the house over a mug of tea or two, deliberating which fruits to grow. Mark has a great way of thinking around things and by the time we'd drawn up a simple wish list we had quickly narrowed down the best options based on taste, uniqueness, and yield.
The plants are due to arrive next Thursday - 100 raspberry canes, 12 jostaberries, 4 damsons and 3 mirabelles to be precise! (I'm praying the good weather holds) So watch this space! I'll post some pictures as soon as I get the chance.
Oh, and by the way, you can pre-order 'Fruit,' no. 9 in the River Cottage handbook series (out in August) if you fancy growing some fruit of your own.