Jonathan & Denise >
At this time of year, weather permitting, this is what we spend our afternoons doing!
Wellington XXX blackcurrants ; Leveller gooseberries ; Careless gooseberries.
Ribes nigrum Wellington XXX. Fine, juicy sweet flavoured medium to large berries. Vigorous spreading habit, heavy cropper, excellent for freezing. Self-fertile
Ribes uva-crispa Leveller. Mid-season dessert variety. Superb flavoured yellow-green fruit, heavy cropper.
Ribes uva-crispa Careless. A reliable and heavy-cropping Dessert/Culinary variety. Large, smooth skinned berries that turn a red colour when fully ripe. An excellent variety for cooking and jam making.
Ribes grossularia Black Velvet. Vigourous growth. The green berries develop first a pinky blush, and then turn uniformly purple as they ripen fully, when they are medium size, soft-skinned, juicy and with good to excellent flavour and sweetness. The berries are the size of seedless grapes.
Here at The Big Garden, it’s not all about food. Is it, Tilly? What’s that … you just want to play with it? Hmmm.
Tilly’s very good with sheep, geese, hens … but when it comes to chicks, goslings and ducklings … well, her face here says it all!
The shallotts have been our first clear-the-ground harvest of 2017. Gooseberry-picking will continue for several weeks. But, at this time of year, The Big Garden seems to be mostly about weeding!
Jonathan: Here’s the last tray-full of gooseberries from the croft. That makes a total of about 25kg from the croft, and possibly 60kg from croft and garden combined. All the bushes on the croft are of this red desert type – sweet and rich in flavour. It’s called Black Velvet. At home, in the walled garden, we’ve got green culinary gooseberries (Leveller), and a small blushed/red desert gooseberry which we think is Careless. A few kilos of Leveller are being turned into wine, but everything else is for making jams, jellies, chutneys. Right, now to top-and tail these little lovelies, the last of the best. Then into the freezer with them!