Happy New Year 2020 from Wild Nettle Gardens!

Happy New Year one and all!

The year has started off relatively mildly here in the north east of England and it has really given me the chance to take stock. In late December we moved all the plants from the Shaw Trust in Stockton and this week I have had the urge to group them to make it easier when we move onto the land.

Also this week I have been digging up fruit bushes as an orchard at one of the allotment sites has been given up and so Ken and Gill Haigh have donated around 25 gooseberry bushes, and quite a few raspberry bushes too. There is also a black currant, a fourberry bush and the promise of some apple trees.

It is so interesting to me that I am so keen to grow fruit- I genuinely love it and cannot wait to start producing jams and sauces etc in the summer- when I have never really eaten it. I have always loved juices, but until now avoided fruit in favour of veg and salad. This year I totally fell in love with aronia berries and fresh raspberries off the bush are hard to beat!

So I am devising the plan for the crops which is taking some time- I have that usual affliction that gardeners speak of- so much seed and not enough space to plant. The land that we find will have the final say on what we plant, but it is good to have an idea of crop times, and how far apart each plant needs to be etc so that when we are ready, we can just start.

I also want to take stock of what has survived and thrived and what has perished. On the surface of it, almost everything looks healthy and I am even starting to see some growth popping up through the soil. Again probably because it has been so mild.

I will compile a list of all we have and write a blog about that sometime soon. I am sure I have around 1000 plants and have taken so many cuttings from red, black and white currants, as well as gooseberries and some Worcester berries from Graham Bell’s garden- it will be interesting to see how many take root.

Another thing that I have been doing in readiness for my growing debut is helping out at the local group Food For Thought Darlington. Like many other groups, they collect food from M & S, Aldi, the Coop, and others and redistribute it, thus helping those in need and at the same time keeping it out of landfill. With some foodstuffs, we make jams, fudge, soups and so on and feed those who need it or sell the produce to make money to help pay for the running costs etc. I wanted to get involved in a scheme like this for several reasons- it is a passion of mine to help the environment in any way I can and food waste is a huge issue that contributes enormously to the problems that we are facing. Anything that can be done to reduce food waste is of great benefit- and the fact that it feeds people who need help is a fabulous bonus. Also, when you grow food for a living, it is almost impossible not to have excess crops at certain times of the year, so I am delighted to have found such a wonderful group to donate my excess to.

This is the photo that went in the paper- on the 28th of December we cooked for around 150 people, provided clothes, food, toys and more for everyone to help themselves to and of course, I was in the kitchen. I love to cook and it was a great experience!

So I hope that this year brings you all that you want and need.

For us here at Wild Nettle Gardens, our wish is for land to get the project started, and to get my long suffering plants into the soil.

Once we have the land then the fundraising can start in earnest.

Enjoy 2020 and all she brings us and thank you for supporting us so far!

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