I’m back to the damp reality of a late Irish spring now after a week in the Greek Islands. It was great to feel the sun on my back and see the olives and citrus being harvested but I need to reacquaint myself with our own seasonal developments now. Our fruit bushes and trees at GROW HQ are all coming into blossom, they were all planted over the last two winters and according to accepted gardening wisdom I should have pruned them down to encourage sturdy growth and waited a few years for anything to harvest. Well I have more faith in trees than most gardening books and feel happier leaving them to it initially, and tidy them up in later years. Trees and bushes are programmed to know how to grow, and how much to grow. If they haven’t got the strength to produce fruit then they won’t. Equally I have never seen the point in cutting off branches on a young bush that will produce leaves to feed the plant. Some gardening books even recommend removing the flowers of strawberry plants in the first year. This all seems to belong to the Victorian school of gardening, tie them down, discipline them and show them who’s boss – this might suit a certain type of gardener but wouldn’t be my idea of fun.
The collection of fruit we are growing is a mixture of the familiar: - gooseberries, strawberries, apples and the less familiar: - joster berries, balloon berries and goji berries. I’m really looking forward to eating them, particularly after JB, the chef at GROWHQ, has performed his alchemy on them, he has a great ability to make food that is tasty and coincidently healthy. Goji berries seem to have acquired that mysterious label of “Super Food” I’m not sure how this status is achieved but the “trials” backing up the miraculous claims seem to be on the level of “10 people ate lots of goji berries for a week and all felt great”. There seems to be a belief amongst some people that if the eat enough goji berries, chia seeds or pomegranates then they will live forever (spoiler alert- they won’t). It’s probably a symptom of “affluenzia” the malaise that people succumb to when they have too much money and not enough sense. It seems such a shame that in a time when we have such a marvellous variety of food available to us that people feel the need to punish themselves through bizarre diets. The most sensible dietary advice I’ve read is “eat enough, not too much and mainly fruit and vegetables”, this seems to be the only advice you really need, eating as a form of self-flagellation might suit a certain type of person but again wouldn’t be my idea of fun.