Saturday, January 30, 2010

B is for

Before we begin Berries, have you Been to Braidwood (half way Between Bateman's Bay and Canberra)? Of course, it's a long way from our Bioregion But the Old Cheese Factory there offers a great service: you can take apples to be made into juice or cider instead of wasting them! If you produce share 50:50 and assist in the operation it doesn't cost you to have them juiced! Tom Whitton (Megalong Books, Leura) alerted us to this.

Does anyone know of an apple pressing service in our bioregion or a neighbouring one? If so please leave a comment with details.

Now B is for Berries and we have lots of different kinds growing in the Blue Mountains: take a look at the harvest calendar below and please remember that we are trying to update our lists of what is growing where (columns on the left).

Blackberry (Rubus fructuosus) a noxious weed but this time of year, if you can pick some unsprayed blackberries, they make wonderful jams, pie fillings and jellies, especially when mixed with apples. (Including red ones improves the pectin content too.) When you've removed the fruit — you can freeze any surplus — get stuck into removing the canes. However, there are some more contained varieties that you can purchase from suppliers such as Diggers. The blackberry is ancient, a native of three continents and widespread throughout the world today. Ancient Romans used blackberry leaf tea as a medicine. All berries are, in fact, aggregates of drupelets botanically speaking.

Blueberries, like raspberries etc., like sun (filtered, where it gets too hot) and acidic soils (pH of 4.5–5.2) , so they befit from local pine tree mulch. You need to obtain the right species for your location as chilling requirements vary from around 400–1100 hours. Once established they don't seem to require much attention but be sure to net them.

Remember to come to the talk at the Blue Mountains Organic Community Gardens in North Katoomba at 10.30 am on Saturday 6 February, when we will advise people on other activities coming up in the next few months. The apples in the photo for this week come from the community gardens. The photo was taken about ten days ago.

1 comment:

  1. I took the kids blackberry picking on the way home from school today, but it is probably a week or so too early. We got enough to have for dessert with ice cream tonight, but hopefully will be able to collect about a kilo next time for jam making. Strangely, the yield was a lot lower this year than last in our favourite spot - I wonder why?
    I have been on a mission to get rid of the canes around our place over the last 12 months, and have been pretty successful. Just a couple of hard to get too spots left.
    Last year the council sprayed the fungus that selectively attacks the bushes on the verges around here. It is extremely succesful, but you really need to come back a few months later and hunt for any young plants that survived.



We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)