At the beginning of this year I decided to keep the garden to a minimum and concentrate on my other activities i.e. pottery for making money. As perverse as I am, I now have the best garden for many years, and the pottery has gone to pot, as it were.
Two things have revolutionised our outside life this year . One is a small open shed, attached to the compost loo roughly in the middle of our 4 acres, which opens to the lee of the wind. David has pegged all around, and all of our long handled garden implements hang within reach to be grabbed as we pass on the way to a job, and returned with as much ease. The wheelbarrows fit stacked up against each other. Though I realise that a garden shed is not a new concept, this simple design, with no door as a physical, if not a psychological barrier, nowhere for clutter to accumulate, is an ergonomic delight.
The other is a net over our soft fruit. Again, this has been done, but even though I have read it many times in John's books for some reason I had always doubted if the small effort of securing a net over fruit really did outweigh the rewards. To have waited all these years for soft fruit is a tragedy, but the satisfaction of eating, day after day, ripe loganberries, tayberries, strawberries, blueberries, jostaberries and blackcurrants has begun to deaden the pain. People assure me that it is an exceptional year for soft fruit and this bounty is not down to skill, but if we have half the amount in future years my happiness will still be as much.
We had already planted all this fruit under an old polytunnel frame, intending to net it as a good idea, but inertia or mistaken belief held us back until this year. Now, nearly at the end of the fruit season, (and I can say that in the confident way that others do now, as one who really does eat the fruit they grow), we have stuffed in as much fruit as we physically can, in smoothies, with yoghurt, cream, and frozen the rest for later. I might make some jam .We are not great jam eaters, but we are nearly out of the 20 jars of blackberry that I made 15 years ago, and it's nice to give away. I have misgivings about taking something so packed with vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients not to mention the nature given sharp-sweet-sour unparalleled burst of flavour, and boiling it up with sugar.