On Plants and People

Sometimes plants and soil are but a peripheral part of what’s going on here. On Friday,  it was almost a surprise to find myself planting the second wave of raspberries on Raspberry Row. Over the last week I’ve been immersed in all manner of admin, meetings, teaching and recruitment. But this is what it means to be a grower on an urban community market garden, managed by a workers’ cooperative, worked by volunteers. Not for nothing is Hawkwood Nursery’s strap line “for plants and people”.

On balance, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Without people, communities, along the road back to nature, we’d all get lost. Sure, as a result the land won’t be as productive in crops as a purely commercial venture. But the age of  maximum productivity is, as we are seeing, terminal. The task now is surely to approach the optimum. And this entails some sort of fine balance between the social, the economical, and the ecological.

The raspberries are another autumn cultivar, the classic “Autumn Bliss”. Nothing against summer raspberries, but we’re hoping that strawberries will become our “summer fruit”. I like the idea of the “fruit of the season” title being graciously passed on, uncontested, through the year, as well as the practicalities of focused attention and harvesting. Fruit isn’t too much work, except when it’s fruiting. This is not as much an example of Sod’s Law as it sounds, because work isn’t as hard as it sounds.

Last year’s raspberries are showing swelling green buds already, so we’re late pruning: the growing season hasn’t started, and we’re already behind! It’s time to delay some admin and get out there…

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