Soft fruit makeover (445 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

"Soak well before planting..."

When planning a year of self-sufficiency, it’s only a matter of time before the ‘fruit question’ arises. It would be a pity to develop scurvy. If your fruit trees are too small to be much help – like ours – an interest in soft fruits soon comes to the fore.

Unfortunately my fledgling soft fruit patch is a disgrace:


Even the dog is ashamed...


No, those big things are weeds. The plants got devoured by the weed monster during last year’s gardening crash and burn. This week’s mission is to expand and renovate this area in the hopes of salvaging something which will grow a source of vitamin C. It may be too late, and the bushes might not amount to enough in time for next summer, but I have to try. 

After completing the dreaded clear out of the three pig barns, I’ve spent the morning planting up the upper of the three beds with red and black currants and gooseberries through a plastic mulch. Not easy to concentrate on the matter in hand with this view unfolding in the background.


Mist clearing the valley

In the end I got thirteen little bushes in the ground.


Quite straight planting, for once...

A blatant example of doing the easy bit first: well, it is Monday morning! Tomorrow me has the unenviable task of retrofitting plastic mulch to the other two beds, and somehow getting it over and around a dozen prickly gooseberry bushes. A part of me is hoping for high wind to arrive and get me out of this task! 


The afternoon was so warm and sunny that I couldn’t wait to get outside again, propelled by the pleasant contrast with the stark winter months. It’s been a long, dry spell weather-wise and common-sense suggests it might be summer before the field is this dry again.

Last chance, then, to reclaim a bit more of the field which had reverted to rough meadow. It had been my intention to give over the Rough in its entirety to the pigs later in the year. But, instead of running around after pigs all the time, I’ve been taken by the strange notion to create a decent size lawn in one corner of the field. A lawn! Not really in the rural idiocy manual that one, but it provides a bit of foreground for the pretty picture view. And the kids will love it.

Took a lot of strimming though!


A lawn is born

A lawn is born