Monthly Archives: June 2015

playing gooseberry….


We have a kiwi fruit and I’m hoping it is Actinidia deliciosa, rather than say,  A. chinensis. I planted it a couple of years ago and it has flowered for the first time this month.   Furthermore, I’m hoping it is a cultivar called ‘Jenny’, but truth is I can’t remember.  Jenny is a self fertile cultivar with pollination by bees.

The fruit might sound exotic, the plant might be classed, (by the RHS), as frost hardy in balmy UK, but  in our veg plot it has started to gain ground, or more accurately, trained wire.

The quandary re. cultivar arises because we only have one plant so it matters whether the plant is male, female or (please, please), self fertile.  If the plant is not self pollinating we won’t get fruit.    From my photo it look like we have female flowers – but at the moment I cannot see any male equivalent.

So I’m waiting ….. and hoping …. and wishing…..





don’t care a fig?

figNot true, I do.  I have a fig I bought from the library for a £1.  I like our village library very much because it is valiant.   Against the massive tide of cut backs and almost certain demise, the staff pitch up with odds and sods to tempt the few who still use the service and to drum up a bit of cash.  Figs; dug up garden bulbs of February Gold; second hand books; old magazines; wares from the local wood turner.  The offerings are many and varied.

Anyhow… the fig; it might be ‘Brown Turkey’, it might not.     It has been in a 3l pot for ever and needs to have a permanent home.   I’m always impressed when I come across a big fig tree because they seem so exotic.  A native of western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, the fig nevertheless seem to thrive in the UK in sheltered positions, particularly in coastal areas.  I’ve remember coming across an incredible specimen in a churchyard on the west Wales coast. The UK even had a bit of a fig industry once upon a time in Worthing.


So I need to find a good spot in full sun.  I’m leaning towards the back of the dutch barn in the old orchard which faces south west.

...needs a bit of work

…needs a bit of work

Figs are supposed to fruit better if their roots are restricted so I’ll construct a ‘brick box’ underground.  With any luck in a few years’ time I’ll be able to feast upon fresh figs, honey and mascarpone for breakfast!

Reading this week: Extra virginity: The sublime and scandalous world of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller


one step beyond….

rat tail radish

Sometimes you think about going out on a limb… trying something new… stepping into the unknown.

In home growing terms this is as simple as picking up a packet of seeds.

Some years back I saw a programme featuring the lovely Alys Fowler; it might have been ‘The Edible Garden’.   She extolled the virtues of rat tail radishes; she sold them as a delicious nibble alongside a cold beer.

Well of course we had to try them, and this year we did. We tried them raw; steamed and pickled.

Nah ….

Won’t be growing them again.