It’s late summer, but it feels like autumn and has done for a few weeks now. Summer has been pants, and my crops are a testament to that. Everything has been lethargic and non-productive. I’ve had to focus far too much on yellow sticker veg hauls at the supermarket this summer to get me through.
I am now focused on what I can grow to help see me through the winter, and what I can grow in larger amounts despite my limited space and pot supply. I’ve put in a second planting of kale and my purple sprouting broccoli is looking good. This year both have come from seeds I harvested earlier this year from last year’s plants, a small number of which I allowed to flower and go to seed. I have enough to last me years! That’s one less out going to worry about.
Autumn is a harsh reminder that winter will be here soon enough and that’s a time of year I really dislike. Yes I like the crisp mornings, the snow and the leaves turning (I’m already seeing yellow hues poking through on the trees). But I hate that it means losing the light by 4pm and hot water bottles strapped to my body under my clothes because the heating isn’t allowed to come on until 5pm. And then there is my relentless desire to snack as I slip into semi-hibernation mode, unable to work on the coldest days and with more time on my hands to look longingly into my kitchen cupboards. I have zero willpower. I always have.
I have been stocking piling like crazy for winter. The blackberry harvest was superb this year despite the weather and I have stocked up 5kg of the berries via jam and canning. I’ve also made some Elderberry cordial, which is the best hot drink in the winter (think Ribena but better in every way).
I also managed to stock pile 5lbs of rhubarb from the supermarket which I magicked into jam and part cooked for the freezer for winter crumbles. If I am going to eat myself stupid through the winter months, it might as well be homemade and a healthier and cheaper version of the disappointing offerings at the supermarket. There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from eating a homemade winter pudding.
I look like I am stockpiling for Armageddon. Maybe I am. The fact is, the news keeps telling us that price rises are here and are going to get worse. I haven’t noticed any rises or empty shelves yet, but I am pretty low maintenance. I need those bills to stay low, and my average of £38 a month for food needs to remain consistent as everything else starts to rise around me. When it’s cold, and I’m home baking soda bread, it’s going to be just fine when I am piling on homemade rhubarb jam.
I have also been experimenting with Rose hips. But more on that in my next post. In the meantime, I hope you have found this inspiring. There’s still time to enjoy foraging outside, so get out there and make the most of it!