We have just finished pruning the Black Currents, you have to totally renew the bush over a three year period , it crops along the length of the young wood made the previous summer. You need to promote the production of abundant young wood, after three years you should have removed the entire brunch with a saw at ground level (no wood should be older then three years). we grow ‘Boskoop Giant’, this does not have the thick skin of commercial varieties that need to travel. A bush needs large amounts of organic manure as it is a hungry feeder, this will help to retain moisture in summer, once the area is weeded we will compost.
The only thing to do when it rains for months on end is to fly south, and that is just what I did two weeks ago, I got a flight down to the Gold Coast of Australia to stay with my dear, sweet little sister and her family, I was a little unsure what I was going to find on the Gold Coast, I was sure the only culture was in the dairy section of the supermarket. How wrong I was, and the biggest shock for me was the food and their use of vegetables, we become known at a great little place near the beach front named “BSKT CAFE”, they are part of the raw food movement (a food that helps all movements), not something I have had a lot to do with in the past, a large part of the menu is vegan and gluten free, it has really made me think a lot about the way we use vegetables, and what good raw vegetables can taste like in very different ways, the dish that I am going to miss the most is the “Vegan Paleo Pasta”. spiralled Zucchini, Kale Pesto, fresh Basil and Parsley, topped with Almond flakes and Citrus dressing, this dish I enjoyed the most, the taste was out of this world, it was so good that I not only had to have it the next day but also lifted the dish it was in to my mouth and drink the juice. The place was full of very good looking people who seem to want to eat like this, and they looked great for it, hope it is still there when I next go to the Gold Coast.
We are hosting a symposium here this week, there are eight on the course and six have come on the course before, these people often become good friends and we all look forward to the week, it also means that there is a high chance I am going to get a gift or two which I am always happy about, I love getting gifts and one of the gifts I got this time is so sweet, when I saw it my dear Grandmother came to mind, the bright colours reminded me of her garden, she is old now but still gardening, something that has given us a great bond over the years. It is a rather gay (in more than one way) looking biscuit jar for a vegetable gardener.
We had a row of All Season Romaine Mixed Lettuce (planted 26/08/13, seed from The Cooks Garden) up in the High Garden that I planted in the middle of other salad vegetables, it was the only row left, I had two chooses, either compost them, or to lift the row of plants and plant them into a large pot or two and keep them growing under glass, this is what I have done, I really do not know if it is going to work but I want to keep picking from the plants so it is worth a try, I will keep you up to date with how they keep going, nothing should stop the digging……..
This New Year was not a year where I woke and could not wait to get out in the garden, it was more how the hell am I going to be able to cope if this rain and wind are here for the month like they said it would, I am pleased to say that things have got a lot better this past week, and we may even get a frost tonight, a good sign, it means that the sky is clear which means it is not raining, being on nursery duty this weekend I have covered the double frames as a novel thing to do, not to have to tie them down….and the digging goes on up in the vegetable garden. Well a very good growing year to you all, the first day of the year started with marzipan, the way I want it to keep going, sweet and delightful.
At this time of the year it really is hard to find things to write about and my dear friend Perry has pointed out that he does not really want to read much more about digging but there is is not a great deal happening in the vegetable garden this time of the year, gardening can be a lot of the same work, I do point this out when we have students here. The great news today was that we had a very good frost, I did not want to be working on the soil, so I was able to start something different, taking out the old canes of the Summer Raspberries,we take out all but last years growth, tie in last years growth and cut it back to the same height. A perfect job when the sun is on your back and the soil is too hard to work.
Last week was a good week for digging and has kept going this week, the weather is so mild and no rain so far, it does make the work faster, after so much physical work this past month I was a little surprised in the bath that my body was not look a little stronger, more bubbles and things look better. We have also put a cover of hay over the Rhubarb, I use the hay on the outside of the compost heap, it is a very good use of it, the weeds are not such a problem because of the Rhubarb leaves cover the area and do not allow much light on the hay. The digging has now moved into the fruit cage, watch this space and body……