We’ve had sunshine and showers through the end of June, with temperatures just this side of summer from spring – in double figures but sometimes just about! Evenings are cool so that’s at least a relief for sleep.
And all the rain does, after all, sometimes bring with it rainbows – not to mention taking the pressure off of having to regularly water the plots.
Early June really was the end of the strawberry harvest, but through June we had small harvests of red raspberries and also logan berries. Apparently we have two types of logan berries – one with thorny prickles on the stems and the other type is smooth stemmed and sans prickles. Next year I will take more notice and prepare a taste test.
In any case, in the success of the spring 2022 berry season from early strawberries, to raspberries and logan berries, it is fitting that as the last of the logan berries come to ripeness we see the start of the gooseberry and blueberry harvest. Yum!
Earlier this year the big guy took the mosquito netting we bought on the market from the habidashery table last summer and propped it up over and around our potted Hinnomaki Red gooseberry, blueberry and white currant bushes all of which we have growing in pots.
Potting these small fruiting shrubs helps to retain an acidic ericaceous soil for those that need it (the blueberries) and makes the other shrubs a moveable feast as we’ve never quite decided where the gooseberry could be planted in permanently…
The netting was put into place once the plants had flowered and were just starting to set fruit. Ideally you’d net when flowering because the birds are quite fond of eating flowers and don’t even wait for fruit buds to start to form before they arrive to ravage the branches and bushes. (The birds behave the same in cherry trees – and who would have known that big magpie and mourning doves were so deliriously fond of cherry flowers and fruit?!)
(Sadly the habidashery chap isn’t always at our local market as he does better trade down at Paddington market and other open air locations around London, as this worked well and makes me think we should have more of the netting to use if we wanted to try growing kale and brassicas again).
Amazingly, if you stop the birds from getting into the bushes, the harvest from the red gooseberry is really rather good!
And for the second harvest I might just go for gooseberry gin – which has to steep for a bit, so takes patience. But it’s going to be worth the wait!
Of course, even when you strain out the fruit after the first month, you can continue to let the gin sit and further mature in taste.
But an immediate perk is that when you strain the boozy soaked fruit from the infused liquid (with the sugar added and the fruity taste the gin becomes syropy like a light cordial), you can use the soft soaked fruit for a tangy quick-cook compote to accompany a meal of grilled mackerel or maybe a roast duck dinner….
Yum! Go Gooseberries Go!