Triffid (noun), a fictitious plant, characterised as tall, prolific, venomous, intelligent, and mobile. The triffid was the brainchild of John Wyndham in his 1951 science fiction book, The Day of the Triffids where alien triffids run rampant and attempt to take over the Earth after a devastating meteor shower. Triffid is now British colloquial-speak (slang) for any large, menacing looking plant. I have two triffids. The most obvious one is the kiwi vine with its whip-like, furry, rat-tail tendrils that are in constant need of taming. Although grown as an ornamental, it sometimes produces small hard fruit that never seem to completely ripen. Kiwis are dioecious – meaning there are separate male and female plants. Obviously mine is a female, illicitly consorting with a male kiwi somewhere in the vicinity.
The other triffid is the grape vine. Without regular pruning, it is a constant threat to the patio dining area, wanting to engulf anything in its path.
There are numerous benefits to trimming other than keeping the area tidy. For one thing, it lets the light in to the few grape clusters that have formed. If I am lucky, I can expect a harvest of small sour grapes. I usually make a petmezi, a grape must syrup or “molasses” used in Greek and Turkish cooking. However, due to the nature of British climate, the grapes never achieve a true sweetness to produce an authentic syrup. I really must look into alternative uses, such as verjuice.
Another benefit from pruning is the harvest of vine shoot tips and tender leaves. According to Greek custom, I generally pickle the grapevine shoots (see my post Pickles from Pruning) and preserve the leaves for making dolmades – stuffed grape leaves. I use one particular old Greek method of preserving grapevine leaves. First, tender, unblemished grapevine leaves need to be selected. They are trimmed right at the base and wiped clean with a dry cloth. About 10 at a time are stacked and then tightly rolled cigar-fashion. The rolls are then tightly packed in a wide-mouthed jar and the lid placed on. The jar is stored in a cool dry place for up to a year during which time the leaves will dry slightly and lose their bright green colour. Once opened, the whole lot has to be used – hydrated in boiling water and used for making dolmades. It is an unusual way of preserving the leaves and I’m not entirely sure how it works. I’m speculating here, but I think it may have something to do with the high amount of tannin in the leaves combined with a near anaerobic environment (that is, without oxygen) allowing the grapevine leaves to self-preserve. All I know for certain is that it works!
The cherries have all been harvested. It was a lean year with only a handful of sour Morello cherries, which I used to make a chutney (see my post A Handful of Sour Cherries). The berry harvest has also begun. The strawberries are done, although the alpine strawberries will continue to produce for quite a bit longer. With some of the strawberry crop I produced a strawberry shrub syrup, an old-fashioned additive to cool summer drinks and cocktails. The rest were used to make jam.
The loganberries are also producing along with the early raspberries. The blueberries are just beginning to turn. Blackberries have a way to go yet, but are just beginning to take on a little colour.
Both the black and red currants have been harvested.
I have two different varieties of red gooseberries, one smaller slightly oval shape and another larger and rounder, both of which are also producing.
The smaller gooseberry has been completely harvested. Looks like gooseberry jam is on the cards soon.
Tasks to be done:
- Cut back the older raspberry canes that have finished producing, leaving more space for the younger canes which will produce more raspberries later in August and September.
- Prune the gooseberries and currants now that they have been harvested.
- Investigate how is verjuice made to see if it is a viable option for my grapes.
- Jam and jelly making.
|Around My Edible Garden is my monthly diary entry detailing what is happening in my garden this past month, part of the Garden Share Collective (GSC), maintained by Lizzie@strayedtable. A chronological listing of my garden blog posts is listed Diaries in the Menu bar.|