Autumn 2011

March is upon us already and the last few weeks has seen us harvest our first decent crop of fruit in our orchard…… a drumroll for our amazing passionfruit vines!  We have had working bees every thursday morning of term 1 and it has been wonderful to have had classes of children coming down to look around every week and walk away with a passion fruit each. And also a passion for fruit maybe? Ok it’s a bit early for that but I couldn’t resist.

Also fruiting in abundance are the chilean guava berries. Hundreds of them all along the hedge. They are amazingly hardy plants. Half of them get great sun, half get lots of shade, yet they are all looking equally healthy and fruiting well. Lots of the kids have sampled these and it’s fair to say no-one has seen them before. We plan to harvest them all soon and have a session making chilean guava berry jelly. I found a couple of links about them, one for a jelly recipe and one with lots more info on these berries such as the fact that they were Queen Victorias favourite fruit and she had them grown in Cornwall (better climate!) and sent to London.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/13/how-grow-cook-chilean-guava
http://www.edible.co.nz/recipes.php?fruitid=18

All the trees are pretty healthy at the moment, we have feijoas all looking good and the first loquats are beginning to grow, they won’t be ready until september, one of the few fruits around at that time of year.  The banana tres are enormous, but can’t see any fruit growing on them yet. The ballerina apple trees are all fruiting. Not sure when we harvest them so that will be my next reading probably. We did have some grapes growing too but all the little bunches have mysteriously disappeared… small fingers have been busy maybe? Hopefully next year we will have so many we can lose a few and not even notice.

We are still in the application process for the Garden to Table programme, another meeting next week, so will keep you posted on the outcome. Good things take time…..:-)

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