Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hedgerow in a Colander

In keeping with the new allotment-fundamentalist philosophy - essentially, get what you can for nothing but your own labour - this afternoon on the way home from Riddrie, I gathered a lot of hawthorn berries (from trees on the edge of Alexandra Park, some rose hips (bottom of Onslow Drive), and some other berries I found on the way (edge of someone's plot at the allotments).

I've done this before. Here's a video, (made using the mobile phone technology of 2006) of our Clare collecting the berries. I stratified the seeds and grew a couple of dozen trees. And then I went back to Libya, and we moved house, and I don't know what happened to them. So, anyway, I know what to do, how to stratify them, and seem to remember I got around 50-75% strike rate with the seeds.

Also, the flesh of a hawthorn berry is said to be good for the heart. Essentially, the procedure is to wash the berries, and then chew on them, spitting out the hard inner seed. I'll do this tonight whilst re-watching last week's episode from Season 2 of Fargo. (One does this with a glass of wine or whatever and the telly because, frankly, it could be a tedious process otherwise: the flesh of the berries may be good for your heart and blood pressure, but they don't taste of much). Then you put the seeds, hard wee pips, into some damp compost in a recycled yoghurt pot or what you will, and put that in the fridge for at least a month. They get a kind of mould on them, and I assume that's a fungus involved in breaking down the seeds' hard outer coating. Then you plant them in a seed tray, et seq...

I've got 400 gorse too. Aiming for several hundred plants for the hedgerow, to be put into place about a year from now. Roses, hawthorn, gorse... Others I want, such as silver birch, I might have to buy. And of course the fruit bushes. The net result will be an Extremely Personal Hedgerow. The only foreseeable mushkila is the need to pot on - i.e. to have enough pots - several hundred wee plants between Spring and Autumn next year. I had a brain wave today, maybe put them in tomato grow bags, couple of dozen per bag, so twenty-something bags?

All of which means the hedgerow starts a year later than planned, but needs must. The Pond and the drainage is likely going to take up all my time this winter, anyway, and the levels won't be right for planting a hedge before spring, when of course it's too late for bought-in bare root plants.

Gorse. Hawthorn. Dog roses. In a few years the allotment will be impenetrable to neds, and I can get a bee hive and chickens.