Road­side har­vest­ing has up­side

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - ROBERT GUY­TON

Some of the tasti­est ap­ples are those grow­ing with­out fan­fare along­side our coun­try roads. Process those ‘‘wild­ing’’ fruits that have sur­vived the tests of time and de­ci­sions of road­ing man­agers into what­ever form you think will best warm your heart over win­ter.

Cider’s a sure-fire cheer-youup and so is the tangy, flavour­some pulp that road­side ap­ples pro­duce when cooked.

It’s sur­pris­ing how many peo­ple al­ready col­lect ap­ples from the ‘‘com­mons’’, driv­ing out into the coun­try­side ev­ery au­tumn to gather the un­named treats dec­o­rat­ing the wild­ing trees. It’s also be­com­ing pop­u­lar to plant trees in ar­eas that oth­er­wise grow only rank grasses so that oth­ers can col­lect from the wild. Most road­side trees pro­duce gen­er­ous, healthy crops of ap­ples even with­out prun­ing or spray­ing. would ben­e­fit greatly from those who don’t be­com­ing those who do. Many trees grow eas­ily from seed and there’s no short­age of seeds, if you know where to look. Oaks are per­haps the sim­plest trees to grow from seed – acorns in their case – and re­quire no prepa­ra­tion other than set­ting them into the soil. The seeds of many other ex­otic trees need a lit­tle more done to them be­fore they’ll sprout and grow, but the pro­cesses are sim­ple and the like­li­hood of suc­cess, high.

I’m grow­ing hawthorns this win­ter. The hawthorn is a tree that I’ve not taken much heed of un­til now, but hav­ing no­ticed their beau­ti­ful blos­soms over the past cou­ple of years and learn­ing of the heal­ing pow­ers of their haws (hearts re­spond well to the fruits of the hawthorn, ac­cord­ing to both mod­ern medicine and tra­di­tional herbal prac­tices), I’ve wanted to see more of them and the best way to do that, is grow them.

Ripe haws are very easy to col­lect. They are eas­ily stripped from the tree, aren’t messy or smelly, and are sim­ple to pre­pare for plant­ing. Just soak them overnight in wa­ter, mush them up, rinse off the pulp and you’re ready to go! Cleaned hawthorn seed sown straight into open ground, or at least a bed out of doors, and left ex­posed to the el­e­ments will sprout and grow with­out at­ten­tion. Each will be slightly dif­fer­ent from the par­ent tree, giv­ing them some in­sur­ance against disease that might af­fect them all were they a cloned mono­cul­ture. Where you plant them is up to you, but they suit both a hedgerow for­mat, or stand­ing alone in a field. That’s if you’re lucky enough to have it. The tangy, lemony leaves of French sor­rel are a treat to nib­ble on while you are out in your gar­den and when picked and brought in­side for prepa­ra­tion, make a flavour­some ad­di­tion to sal­ads and soups. Grown eas­ily enough from seed, French sor­rel can be even more ef­fort­lessly mul­ti­plied by di­vid­ing ex­ist­ing plants. Find those veg­eta­bles that were planted in sum­mer and are lin­ger­ing some­where out of sight and mind. Our mixed gar­den/ or­chard sys­tem pro­vides plenty of places where broc­coli can hide, sil­ver­beet can pass un­no­ticed and let­tuces can linger, un­seen. Late-sea­son veg­eta­bles tucked in among the This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from New Zealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your in­box ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­ing.co.nz shrub­bery can be slow­er­grow­ing than those in full sun­light and pro­vide a lovely sur­prise when un­cov­ered. Hid­den gems, and here I’m think­ing of bras­si­cas, can look es­pe­cially healthy when they emerge from hid­ing, hav­ing kept out of the way of the white but­ter­flies that spoiled more ex­posed mem­bers of the bras­sica fam­ily ear­lier in the sea­son. Presently, I’m watch­ing a small colony of beet­root. I’ll wait as long as I can be­fore the frosts come, and pluck those leaves and roots for amid­win­ter soup!

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