As part of BBC2's Harvest, Gardeners' World celebrates the bounty our gardens have to offer at this time of year.
Carol Klein is out and about gathering a wild blackberry harvest from the hedgerows and discovering a surprising number of more domesticated brambles that we can grow in our gardens. We join a champion vegetable grower in Yorkshire as he prepares for the biggest show of the season and Monty Don is at Longmeadow enjoying the fruits of his labours.
Now is a great time to start thinking about hiring a fruit press as the apple gluts will soon be with us. If you have at least one mature apple tree or can put your fruit together with your neighbours', it’s well worth making juice. You need about 10kg of apples to make five litres of juice.
Monty’s press was hired from a community orchard in Bristol. There are many similar schemes around the country or there may be apple days held in your area where you can take fruit along to be pressed.
Monty only made a small amount of juice so he was able to drink it fresh. If you need to store yours for more than a couple of days, try freezing it in plastic milk cartons or consider home pasteurising.
More information on how to pasteurise at home from ciderworkshop.com
Lots of flowers are edible, though they're not all delicious. Monty adds pinks, nasturtiums and marigolds to his salad but there are many more at Longmeadow he could be eating, including sunflowers, pansies, bergamot, roses and borage. Some of the best tasting flowers are dayliles which have waxy petals and sweet, nectar-filled bases.
Many herbs have edible flowers that taste just as they do so if your herbs bolt, it’s good to know that you can still use them. Monty puts pretty purple chive heads in his salad bowl but basil, fennel, sage and chervil flowers are tasty too.
Some flowers are poisonous so don’t eat anything you’re not confidently able to identify and are completely sure is edible.
To check whether a plant may be poisonous in any way, check the RHS webpage on plants hazardous to human health. If you are in any doubt, don’t eat it.
Garden visited: Barry Clarke's garden
Jobs for the weekend: Pot up mint and bring indoors
More about mint: herbsociety.org.uk
Jobs for the weekend: Harvest dried beans
Climbing beans are rapidly going to seed now but still make a great harvest. Leave green pods on the plants to dry but pick the brown ones now. You can either store these in their pods to husk later or, if pods are fully dry, shell them into an airtight container where the beans can be stored and used as seed for next year’s crop or as a useful ingredient in winter soups and stews.
More about growing beans for storage: veganorganic.net (pdf)
Jobs for the weekend: start planting garlic
It's time to start planting garlic and it's best to begin with elephant garlic as this benefits from an especially long growing season. Plant cloves at least twice their own depth and be generous with spacing to allow them to form good bulbs. Garlic needs a sunny position with well-drained soil. Once they’re in the ground they need very little care through the winter and will be ready to harvest in the middle of next year.
Find out more about elephant garlic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephant_garlic
|Series Editor||Liz Rumbold|