July in the forest garden is an abundant time. Soft fruits are the stars of the show. We have plenty of red currants, blackcurrants, raspberries, as well as the last of the strawberries and gooseberries.
Harvesting and preserving are the order of the day. Even in a low maintenance garden like a forest garden, there is still plenty to be getting on with. But it is also important to take some time to simply enjoy the abundant and biodiverse surroundings.
In the foreground, a newer section of my forest garden is becoming established, with a plum tree at its heart. Behind, is a more established section. To the right, shade is cast by mature apple, plum and sour cherry trees. The underplanting in the section to the right still needs more work. But using small, slow solutions, I am building the forest garden in this mature orchard one step at a time.
In the left of the image above, you can see our weather station, which provides us with very useful information to help us plan and prepare.
It looks like this year is going to be a great year for apples. We have a number of different varieties. An established, mature plum tree is also doing well this year. Tomorrow, I’ll write a post sharing how I use thinned and unripe windfall apples, so nothing goes to waste.
Today, I will be taking steps to preserve some of our soft fruits. The abundance of the July forest garden means that we can enjoy the produce we grow for a number of months to come.
I make jams, fruit leathers, syrups, and more. And I also freeze some fruits. By preserving the summer abundance in a range of ways, we can enjoy it over the colder months to come. But while we plan for the future, we also need to make sure that we take time simply to enjoy the present – and truly appreciate the natural world around us.