This is a time of abundance in the forest garden. Yesterday, we began to harvest some apples. Different apple varieties will continue to ripen in succession over the next month or two.
And the plums are ripening up. They are not ready yet, but will be at some point next month. It is interested to see how much difference there can be from year to year. The weather and conditions make a really big difference to both the yield and to when it is ready for harvest.
One thing that I want to note is that our mature trees definitely are not perfect. In an organic garden, produce does not always look perfect, and leaves may have the odd hole. We ‘share’ with wildlife, and of course, not everything goes according to plan. But this is a time of year when we quite literally see the fruits of our labours.
At this time of year, things are wild. Some things are going to seed, and we let them. Some plants in the forest garden self seed to grow next year, and others provide food for the wildlife over winter.
A forest garden is managed – but loosely. We don’t mind if things look a little chaotic. After the main fruit harvest, the chaos calms down a little. But we will still be left with plenty of food to eat – even in the depths of winter. Above, for example, you can see red veined sorrel going to seed. And the sorrel is great in salads almost all year round.
I tend to chop and drop towards the end of September, to replenish nutrients and protect the soil as the colder weather arrives. But before that, a lot of work awaits as we process all the apples, plums and other fruits from the forest garden.