Untitled, a photo by nicgee on Flickr.
It's been a stunning day today, spring well and truly in the air (we'll gloss over the rain drumming against the windows this evening!). Ady and I finished off our fruit cage extension which we started yesterday but left with last bits still to do when rain came in. We realised we had sufficient mesh panels to extend our initial cage to double the size so have done so.
The original cage is stocked with soft fruit - black currants, red currants and white currant, gooseberry, blueberry, cranberry, honeyberry and raspberry. If all of the bushes take and thrive we will have a very plentiful supply of soft fruit for our own consumption, selling to fellow islanders and tourists and turning into preserves, juices, jams and so on. Soft fruit tends to do really well growing wild here on Rum - we have masses of brambles, raspberries and there are rumours of blueberries (called blaeberries locally) in secret locations known only to a select few...
The extension is to be home to some fruit trees - we have bought three cherry trees - two sweet and one cooking / sour cherry, two plum and two pear. These were not well researched, carefully selected varieties chosen for their suitability to our soil, climate and location but were cheaply purchased while we were off island last week and therefore worth a small gamble to see if they take. Our longer term plan is to invest in some fruit trees ticking all of those better selection boxes but in the meantime we have made a start.
I have also made the first sowings of seeds down in the polytunnel and also on this weeks job list is fixing the netting on the raised beds now I have a tried and tested in high winds design of arches which seems to stand up well to the elements. Just our little section of fruit cage and raised beds is larger than our allotment back in Sussex, coupled with the polytunnel and our ever increasing meat production on the croft it is starting to feel as though we are heading towards that ultimate goal of as much self sufficient food production as possible. In under two years it does feel as though we are beginning to tame the land and make it start to work for us. Baby steps certainly but steps in the right direction.