Della: ‘There are not enough hours in the day to pick and preserve nature’s bounty from our garden. What we don’t use, the birds will certainty appreciate. And because I am a total fruit loop, we are about to take some containers with us on our afternoon walk with the dogs to grab some of the luscious wild blackberries we discovered yesterday. Cream and ice-cream are waiting!
Mini tomatoes for semi-dried tomatoes later in the year.
There was no room on the little table for the nashis and pears and damsons that are also falling in bucketloads. It does seem like the Garden of Eden at times, but then I only have to neglect the gardening for a short while and it turns into Sleeping Beauty’s overgrown forest!
Damsons are tiny, deep purple plums, sour if eaten fresh, but if cooked with sugar make an intensely plummy jam or paste. They certainly grow enthusiastically here in Victoria. We are not in a particularly cold region so I reckon they would grow just as happily in NSW- anywhere that other plums grow. We just got our tree at a local nursery. If you want to grow one and can’t source one, yell out and I’ll save you some seeds. Our’s has self-seeded so that we have several growing nearby now.
We also find ourselves constantly trying to outsmart the birds in the eternal battle for a share of the crop. My only suggestion where birds are concerned is to plant enough trees to feed both birds and man…although we haven’t managed to accomplish this yet…
And yes, we planted it all when we moved here in 1991. The sheep used to graze up to the front door and the only food growing here were some golden plum trees planted in the early years of the 20th century and which are still going strong today- and lots of wild plums which have spread across our valley courtesy of the birds (no doubt originating from the golden plums) over decades. We have moderately good soil, good rainfall and our own creek so the place had all the ingredients we needed. 11 years of drought from the late 90s resulted in slow growth, but now we are really seeing the results of our youthful labour and, with more time now available, we are increasing our forest each year.’
PS: On dehydrating: The mould can be painful after all the work . I hedge my bets by vacuum packaging the dried goods as well. They are still lovely and fresh a whole year later which is an extra bonus!