Getting into a jam…

One thing I’ve particularly enjoyed doing while living in Wichenford has been to grow fruit: but this wasn’t my intention when I moved in three years ago.

Strawberries & raspberries grown at Wichenford Oak

Strawberries & raspberries grown at Wichenford Oak

My original idea was to grow a variety of fruit and vegetables, so I planted broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots and parsnips, as well as swede and courgettes. I hadn’t taken into account two important factors…

The first was the thick clay soil, which can go from waterlogged to dry and cracked in a few short days. Thus, with the carrots and parsnips a few stunted and warped specimens with a vague resemblance to vegetables emerged, while the swede succeeded only by growing almost entirely above ground.

The second problem was the buddliea bushes. Being conservation-minded, I was thrilled at the number of butterflies that flitted around during the summer. They were thrilled I’d provided so much food for their offspring. The broccoli never had a chance, while the sprouts were at least technically edible – but I didn’t really want to serve them to guests…

But as the strawberries and raspberries thrived, I decided to specialise, and abandoned the idea of growing vegetables. Elsewhere in the garden, there are two damson trees and another bearing Victoria plums, which were growing long before the house was built. This year, we managed to pick enough plums before the insects took over – and had a glut of both fruit. So, over the summer we’ve been doing some more jam-making.

The upshot of all this is that there’s been plenty to give away, whether fruit or jam.

Some of the jam made this summer.

Some of the jam made this summer.

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