What a wonderful day I had yesterday! Simply glorious. 😀 I managed to get myself a little sunburned (not so good 😦 ) and I achieved heaps in the garden too. And most fun of all I scored an absolute heap of free food! 😀
I started the morning off with digging up a chock-a-block full wheelbarrow load of spent chook straw to help top up and revitalise the soil in 2 of my garden beds. I mixed through half of the load in each bed and gave them each a thorough soaking with the hose. The manures in there (I had been raking the spent goat/sheep bedding in for the chooks to scratch around in) as well as the remaining straw are all going to increase the water holding content of the soil and the nitrogen in the manure will provide much food for the crops planted therein. Once I’d mixed and watered it in I planted peas along 1 side of each bed to climb up the trellis that joins the beds and then in 1 bed I sowed rows of turnips alternating with rows of spinach. The rest of the bed and the other will
meet the same fate receive the same seeds at a later date when I plant successive crops.
After lunch I met up with a friend, L, another permie, who had expressed interest in the idea of picking the wild apples growing all around town. We both headed off armed with buckets, bags and boxes, and in my case gloves (to help me work around my bug phobias) and headed out of town to visit some trees I’d seen and been watching every time we drove in or out of Ballan. Where were the double lines? Where could we park? How close to the road was the tree? Each tree carefully studied and analysed as much as one can when doing 100km per hour. 😉
The first tree provided a goodly harvest although sadly we weren’t able to reach most of the more delectable apples up higher (always the way right 😉 ) although as a consolation there was an impressive tree off the road (and out of sight so I’d not known about it) which we were able to strip reasonably close to bare branches. 🙂 On to the next tree which was on the road to the transfer station (the new glorified name for the local tip 😉 ). We stripped a few more trees of their wild bounty before heading off along a road to see where it went. Not quite where I expected but a nice scenic trip none the less. 🙂
We then headed back towards town to strip the apples from the trees on the other side of the road and stopped to also pick nearly bare a gloriously laden hawthorn shrub of its haws. L plans to make jelly from them. 🙂 We decided to call it a day but we did stop for a quick reconnaissance on another tree which we believe is possibly golden delicious in origin. We’ve targeted it for next time, hopefully next weekend. 😀
Back to L’s place and we split the proceeds of the day 3 ways, some for L, some for her next door neighbours and the rest for us. I’m now planning a busy day juicing apples for raw (unpasteurised) apple juice to put aside and ferment and also to bottle and run through the Fowlers Vacola which will pasteurise it for storage for the rest of the year. 🙂
These wild apples have grown from the cores of apples thrown out of car windows by many on their travels. In many cases there were several trees all growing as one, evidenced by the fertility of the apple seeds. 🙂 Many of the apples are heavily russeted and many have cracks in them, I reckon from the dry summer we’ve had and then the recent rains but for juicing apples I couldn’t care less what they look like really. One of the trees we found had the tiniest apples but with a divine flavour, quite sweet, a little dry and lots of yeast on their skins. I can’t wait to see what the cider is like. I hope it works. 🙂
I came home and spent the afternoon planting garlic whilst Allegra raided and demolished anything even vaguely pink in the strawberry patch. Exactly what I planted it for. Is there truly anything better than pick and eat strawberries, organic and free from the chemical load the shop-bought ones carry, warmed gently in the sun and sweet, oh so very sweet! 🙂
Whilst I was sitting there eating dinner tonight I had a small brain wave which resulted in piling Jasper into the car with clothes over pajamas and heading back to the golden apple tree. We picked another bucket full together which we dropped off a portion of to L. For all up about 3 hours work we have 40 litres of apples. For free! 😀
L and I discussed heading out in early winter to give all the apple trees we can find a prune. We figure that the trees are producing wonderfully as they are but a little bit of judicious pruning and some pruning practice for us can only be a good thing for both parties. 🙂 We could even give grafting a go on these trees as there is no loss if things don’t work. Imagine, a town surrounded by hundreds of wonderful multi-graft apple trees with free to the public, organically raised (but not necessarily organic due to car fumes) apples, free for the taking . 😀
Is there anything in your local area you’ve wild harvested? Do you have a hedgerow of hawthorn or roads lined with seed grown fruit?
This morning I’ve been up since 3:45am and not by choice but by 5:30 or so I’ve been champing at the bit to get out into the garden. Finally around 8am with happy kids watching a movie and eating breakfast I got out into the chook pen to dig up more composted manure straw. It’s now top dressing one of my hugel beds where the garlic is planted. After last nights torrential rainstorm around 3:30am the base of the hugels and paths are all soaking wet, ready to wick up into the hugels themselves. With the compost mulch and nitrogen feed on top it will hold that water much longer and my garlic should, in theory and with a little luck, thrive. 🙂 Today I hope to make a start planting out all the potato onions I have in and around the pumpkin vines still doing their thing and to empty out the trailer of compost I have into the crate gardens to get some more garlic planted out. This afternoon will likely be apple juicing time. 🙂 I swear, Autumn is just as busy as Spring. 🙂