I love having things in the garden to nibble on as I go about the business of gardening!

In the spring its strawberries and in the autumn I have discovered the delicious Cape Gooseberry (or Ground Cherries to some.)  Not everyone seems to like them as they can be a bit tart, and the taste isn’t that usual sugary sweet flavour generally associated with fruit, but that’s ok, it just means more for me!

The humble Cape Gooseberry
The humble Cape Gooseberry

Last season (or was it the one before?)  I planted a couple in the back of the pepper bed and enjoyed the occasional late season nibble, but the frost got them before I could truly have my fill.  So in the season just gone I got greedy – really greedy.  I wanted more, I wanted enough to gorge myself on and have enough left over to make jam!

So I planned my approach carefully and well in advance.  I sowed half a dozen seeds in the greenhouse in the autumn, instead of spring like you are supposed to and then nurtured and tended them throughout the winter, repotting them several times as they grew.

So easy to grow
So easy to grow

I remember seeing them at our old place in the city, growing as a weed, so I figured they really should have a home of their own so they can self-seed and come back every year, without becoming a weed among the carrots or whatever other vegetable I’m trying to grow in the old gooseberry spot, and the best bit is hopefully going forward – I won’t need to do anything – a no fuss crop, although I have yet to test this theory.  I think their new permanent home became raised bed number 21 or was it 22?

A large bowl of hidden gems
A large bowl of hidden gems

The early start has helped them tremendously as you can hardly see the raised garden for lush green growth.  These things seem to be really easy to grow.  It does my gardening ego the world of good! Over the last couple of weeks or so I have noticed and nibbled on the gooseberries coming ripe one at a time, with their golden little balls contained within their own fancy pre-packaged paper lantern.   They almost look too pretty to break open, and if it wasn’t for the knowledge that such delicious yumminess lies inside, then my approach wouldn’t be to hastily rip them apart!

Golden balls of goodness, some beans and some great dry material for the compost heap
Golden balls of goodness, some beans and some great dry material for the compost heap

This weekend I wandered over to check over the patch and hit the golden jackpot!  There were heaps of the papery parcels hanging from the bush.  I raced inside to get my largest bowl and spent ages picking the ripe ones, careful not to miss any and eating a fair amount at the same time!  I managed to harvest half a kilo – not quite enough to make jam, but this is just the beginning, there are probably ten times more green ones and the bees are still visiting the flowers.  So it is a race against time:  will I get to harvest enough for my jam before Jack Frost comes and destroys all that I have worked all year for…

Come again soon – there is a long weekend coming up, heaps of extra time for gardening!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

11 thoughts on “I love having things in the garden to nibble on as I go about the business of gardening!

  1. I am hooked on these, they are so easy to grow, so long as you don’t mind over-wintering a weedy specimen in an unheated porch. Then, come spring, I put one bush out and let it go wild. It is one of my favourite fruits. I have made jam, but if I am honest, delicious as it is, I like them fresh from the plant best of all. I will be planting out one this week.

    1. Hi there. I found a couple of seedlings that had obviously come from some berries that I had missed, so I dug then up and will nurture them in the greenhouse through the winter to plant out in the spring. Such an easy plant to grow! Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. These grow around our pond like, well, weeds but I never knew they were edible. For a few years now I’ve been trying to replace them with iris – but not anymore. Thanks for sharing this free food source!

    1. Hi There. My Mum told me that she knew them as weeds from when she was a kid living on a farm! They used to use them as “light shades” in their doll houses! But I assured her it was all above board. I bought the seeds from a legitimate seed company. And they are very yummy! Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi There, I have a Stuff-I-want-to-Grow list too. I just need to figure out how to secretly create more garden space without anyone noticing! Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Like you, I love goose berries. (I grew up with them in Africa. My parents worked there until they retired and came back home. We had all sorts of things in our garden including goose berries.) I hope that yours ripen before the first frost!

    1. Hi Sheree, Gooseberries are so yum! So far there is no sign of frost – although it has started to get cooler at night and we have had to find where we put the extra blankets! Cheers Sarah : o )

      1. They are surprisingly resilient, in spite of their exotic appearance. I was picking them well into winter, but it is true that the later ones were somewhat sharper than the fruit produced at the height of the summer.

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