Food from the forest


Cold but beautifully sunny, yesterday was volunteer workday at Old Sleningford Farm in North Yorkshire. We love these days for so many reasons. For me, it is the opportunity to be amongst like-minded people and learn useful facts and techniques about growing (in a permaculture context). For my daughter, it is an opportunity to run around outside with smaller people and get her coat dirtyπŸ˜‰.

It is also the opportunity to pick up a supply of cordials made from the fruits of the Forest Garden. This time it was gooseberry with ginger and elderflower cordials. Absolutely smashing!

Anyway, on with some work…. Basically, it was an afternoon in the aforementioned Forest Garden, where we first cleared out the wood which had been cut from the trees, which will be used for Wwoofers to have a fire. Then we cut down old raspberry and currant canes.

And Rachel, one of the people who runs the farm, offered us some of the canes, so I came home with a black and a red currant. I can’t now remember which is which in the picture below, though.


Anyway, if I remember correctly, the fruit grows on the canes which are three years old, so I’ll be able to tell you then!

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in Gardening, Good for the environment, In the kitchen, Permaculture, Social and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Food from the forest

  1. andy1076 says:

    Best way to spend the day in my opinion, A very fruitful day πŸ™‚

  2. Cynthia says:

    That sounds like a fun and inspiring day. I’ve been reading a lot about permaculture lately. it’s intriguing but I’m a little confused and overwhelmed by some of the methods

  3. Blackcurrant on the left, red on the right – if you rub the stalks the blackcurrant will smell blackcurranty, the red currant doesn’t smell at all. And to encourage them to throw new shoots out and bush out, cut the tops off, leaving about 3 buds out of the ground. Make the cut just above the 3rd bud on an angle. Hope they take!

  4. drofmit4108 says:

    Blackcurrant will be the shorter one with the grey’ish bark!
    Pauline’s just pruned ours and now there are rows of cuttings….
    right down the middle of one of the overwintering onion beds!
    Red, black and goosegog!

    • Helen says:

      Interesting you should say the black currant is the shorter one – maybe your variety is different from Rachel’s?! Anyway, good to know you’ve got more on the go. Hope your onions are doing well😊.

  5. It sounded like a wonderful Sunday outing. It makes me think of early spring preparations. It has been snowing here for 5-6 days.Everything here is heavily flocked with snow. It is spectcular outside. It is perfect powder snow. Spring seems far away….The days are getting lighter. This week is what the states call Spring break here. We call it Sport break( Winter sports activity). It is nice to see what other do in Early spring. We are out in the snow to soak in that much needed Vitamin D from the sun. I can enjoy reading and watching you toiling in the garden. It gives me my gardening fix LOL.

    That was a great way to get cane clippings. I can’t wait to see how they grow and where you plant them. I am like you I would rather be digging in the garden.You are so lucky to have found the Sleningford farm. It sounds like you get so many benefits from it. I enjoy hearing about it.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you appreciate my farm updates, Honey!

      Proper snow would be lovely but alas we’ve just got slush which turns to ice. The lighter evenings are nice though, aren’t they?

      Anyway, as you say, it is nice to know what others are doing in early spring.

      • I am sure enjoying what ever sun that squeezes through the clouds.We are looking to start planting in our Poly tunnel this year. We are not planting as early as we did last year.

        • Helen says:

          Why will you be planting later?

          • We discovered that we planted inside too early for our climate last year. We could definitely see the difference in our corn crop. We planted four batches at different times and ways. It made a huge differences in the crop we received. Planting indoors is advantagious for crops in our area. It allows us to plant crops that otherwise would not have a long enough growing season to reach maturity. Timing is essential.

            we had plants that were ready to be transplanted outside too early for our season. They out grew our containers and we lacked space to adapt to their size. It stunted their growth and harvest. The fact that we planted corn 4 times inside. We had 1 of those crops that was a huge success. The other 3 had various degrees of harvests. We had the best corn crop ever. We are still eating corn. That would not have been possible if we had not planted at four different intervals. The weather is so fickle it is and impossible to predict the best time to plant. We are still having a learning curve.

            We have saved larger containers this year than we had last year. We are going to use our poly tunnel for early planting this year. We are still discussing how to do this.
            This is the fun part of gardening. Experimenting and revising methods of how you grow your food. We also over planted certain vegetables. We plan to plant less lettuce and chard this year. We had planted absolutely too much for our personal use and that takes into account food that we give away. I gave away a lot and we still had too much. We have no soup kitchen for the needy in our area. The nearest one is 100 miles away from us.

            We did not plant enough potatoes this year. We are going to plant them in a bin this year. We had too much of an over abundance in the previous years. Last year we planted too little. We ran out of potatoes Early in December. We have no seed potatoes for next year.

            We get better at gardening every year. It is a big learning curve for us. We planted the earliest ever last year in our enthusiasm to push our growing season.

          • Helen says:

            Well, gardening certainly is a learning curve! The weather is fickle here too but we have a longer growing season, as you’ve no doubt realised.

            I’m going to start my crops off earlier this year to increase the growing season. There is no two weeks in Japan at the start of April, which gives me greater flexibility πŸ™‚

          • I would take advantage of the weather too if I were you. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish this year.

          • Helen says:

            Thank you, Honey. I’m looking forward to getting started πŸ™‚

            Anyway, looking forward to seeing what you achieve, too!

  6. Awesome update Helen thank you for sharing have a blessed weekend

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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