During the spring and early summer we could see the trees we planted last autumn, had established well and were growing away in the new forest garden. We have watered them a couple of times, but no more than that, and they have survived the high heat of the summer months.
In between the new plantings, the brambles had started to return, so we cut them again and it looks like we will have to continue with that for a while at regular intervals. In the autumn we intend to dig out some of the roots, mulch heavily and look at other ways of deterring their tendency to overwhelm everything else.
We are nearly at the time for transplanting raspberies, and the cuttings, taken last year, of redcurrants, blackcurrants and loganberries.These will form part of the lower shrub layer and should help with shading out the plants we don't want and at the same time give protection to the ones that we do.
On the rest of the farm, and in our existing forest garden, we have had an amazingly abundant year.All our fuit and nut trees, and even previously aged and poor yielders ,have produced vast quantities of tasty, and bug free, fruit and nuts. Delicious and very satisfying!
The main work has been harvesting and processing the produce. Our store cupboards are overflowing with juices jams,chutneys,bottled fruit,vegetables and pate's,solar dried fruit of all types and fruit leathers.
This year we grew quinoa and grain amaranth on a trial basis mainly for getting more seed for next year.It was interesting to thresh and winnow the grain ,and while we know that it can only be on a small scale ,as we do not want to embark on field scale grain crops, we are very happy to have that addition to our diet. We have just sown some heritage varieties of winter wheat and barley,again on a trial basis, which will serve the same purpose and be a small addition to our very varied meals.
The fruit is crushed and then put in our large fruit press where, after it is cranked down, the juice starts to flow.
We pasturise and then bottle it.