26 May 2007

The soft fruit has started to ripen

Our favourite small fruits are wood strawberries - they really are a very "strawberry" strawberry.

It takes patience to gather them because they're tiny but once in a while we come across a patch which could have been pollinated by neighbours' commercial strawberry fields and they are much bigger than normal wild strawberries. We live near Vergt, the "Strawberry Capital of France".

We're really lucky to have big patches of wild strawberries in the woods at the back of the house. I give them a helping hand by mulching a bit and feeding them with rotted goat compost in early spring.

Over time, the chickens scratch the mulch up and clean the patch looking for bugs. Fortunately, it's always after the strawberries are past their best and we've picked most of them. The chickens clear the ground of dead and diseased matter and any strawberry plants or little runners healthy enough to have a really good root system grow again next year.

Our raspberries are up at the top of the garden right next to the compost heap and we've blackcurrants and redcurrants in the main plot but most of our fruit comes from the woods, the neighbours' cherry trees, or the giant compost heaps we made when we cleared the garden. (Now strictly controlled bramble patches where a few snakes and thousands of other creatures live.)

The snakes still make me scream sometimes when they surprise me slithering back to their home for safety, but I throw weeds and other compost material into the middle of the heap, and when there's enough to make a cushion they stay up on their platforms basking in the sun.

7 comments:

WENDY BANDURSKI-MILLER said...

I just wanted you to know that your blog makes fantastic reading and is inspiring in the least...... keep on with the fantastic work i have more than enough here to come back again and again........

amazing stuff........

Irene said...

Thank you so much for your comment Wendy, I've just had a look at your paintings and they are wonderful. Your website is very colour-rich too.

The link on your site to your blog isn't working, but when it is i'll have a look at that too.

Katie said...

the strawberries look lovely! We have wild strawberries around here too~ and snakes in the garden :).

Have a nice week~~

mrsnesbitt said...

The strawberries look wonderful. I was thinking of France today...we are having some sunshine but fog is forecast!

What a surprise!

Dx

Val Grainger said...

Irene..........can you let me know who spins your fleece?

Desiree said...

Great blog! Though you left my mouth watering for strawberries this time!

sally's chateau said...

Your soft fruit pic is divine. I used to be a soft fruit grower in England, now I just have the 250 seedlings to plant out tomorrow. (weather permitting) !!

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