Black-currency:

Kitchen Garden Field
Last night I took a trip with my mum and my daughter in tow to a neighbouring village to visit a family friend. Now in her 70s, this family friend has been working land for the last 10 years, turning what was once a portion of grass field pasture into a huge and thriving kitchen garden. It was so inspiring and has really got me thinking about our own little patch and what is really possible. If I can get Rich to let some more lawn go!

The field was once a flat expanse of grass. Today it’s a maze of orchard, soft fruit beds, vegetable gardens, flowers, native woodland trees and everything else in between, including a wildlife pond and hen coop. Small wild birds flit between the gigantic plots, helping themselves to a berry here and there, and the chickens softly cluck away in their run, content to be living in such a peaceful place. From the bottom of the plot, you can see for miles over rolling hills. 

It really is just wonderful. It’s testament to years of hard work and it really invigorated me to pick up my garden tools and make the most of what we have here. 

Blackcurrants - grow your own

Our family friend spends every day up on her field, working away to produce pound after pound of fruit and vegetable. She sent us off home laden with freshly picked courgettes, a homemade blackcurrant crumble and for my mum, her friend of almost 40 years, a jar of honey from the small cluster of hives in the adjacent plot (the blackcurrant crumble was beyond simply delicious). My mum has vowed to go up and spend some time helping her friend work the land, as she’s always so generous with giving away things and never asks for anything in return.

Over the years, this giving of fresh produce is something that mum and I have begun to use as a form of currency, something that, in my frugal years now, I have come to appreciate more and more. At the moment I’m trading gooseberries and blackcurrants in return for a bucket of bird seed, as I can’t justify the spend on a whole sack out of my current spending budget. Earlier in the year, my currency was homegrown strawberries, and soon that currency will change again to homegrown raspberries. We might even trade some Charles Ross and Blenheim Orange apples and homegrown blackberries when autumn comes around.

It’s funny, in a way this kind of trade with homegrown produce makes me feel a little bit rich. Even though I am so very far from the traditional perception of it. I would like to increase the amount of soft fruit in particular that I grow at home. Blackcurrants are top of the list – we only have two small bushes (Ben Sarek and Ben Lomond, I think) that are slightly shaded by the fence. I hope to get some more planted in over autumn and winter, incorporating some flowers to attract pollinators, and maybe even extend my no-dig bed, where the strawberries have gone rampant this year. We have the space, and I hope we can find a way to use it!

Comments

  1. Its so rewarding producing your own food. It can be hard work preparing the land and feeding everything but it’s do worth it.

  2. Wow what amazing black currants, they look delish!

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