Thursday, 2 December 2010

Winter garden

Time has flown by; the hop plant flourished, flowered and died back. Unfortunately, it was infested by greenfly and creepy crawlies when I tried to dry the hops, and I ended up adding them to the compost. I more successfully harvested tomatoes, and learnt how to make chutneys, salsa and stews with the unripe, green ones (all were delicious!) The chilli plants produced tiny chillis, the beans in their pots survived the slugs and produced gorgeous veg. I had a bumper crop of gooseberries and rhubarb, but alas the blueberry is still adjusting to being moved from the last garden and didn't fruit.

Next, foraging! I discovered a bumper crop of elderberries by a little visited crag, and made several bottles of elderberry cordial. Elderberries are packed full of nutritional goodness and are also reputed to have an anti-viral action. I make my syrup with ginger, cloves and cinnamon, and have it diluted with hot water as a delicious winter drink, perfect to take with me in a flask for a day on the hill. I didn't make it to the rose hips before the snow came in, but I do know where there is a superb crop to pick from next year. As I ever, I pick a few and leave plenty whenever wild harvesting.