This week the weather has turned more wintry, and with the evenings closing in, the weekday afternoons I have free seem very short. By the time I’ve had a spot of lunch there is only an hour or so before it is getting too dark to work outside. I have continued to clear the fallen trees by the river. Of course cutting them back is only half the job. The cut branches then need moving through to the tree field, and will want cutting to length. I’m eyeing up some of the nice hazel branches to make something crafty with. Maybe shrink pots, or a wizard’s staff….. I’ve moved some stones to make rather wobbly stepping stones over the worst of the boggy area and still have a lot of cut branches to clear away.
One exciting thing that has happened this week is some seeds that I swapped for some perennial buckwheat seeds have arrived. These are for Akebia – a perennial vigorous climber that should have chocolate or vanilla scented maroon flowers followed by a purple fat sausage fruit which is edible (see https://lassleben.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/autumnal/ for example) The sweet seedy pulp is eaten as a fruit, and the skin, although bitter, can be cooked as a vegetable. These seeds came from a fruit bought at a market in Japan, see https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1321572664620803&set=gm.1739693236041770&type=3&theater&ifg=1. Nominally it can grow outside, but given I still don’t consider I have achieved much shelter, I will hope to plant this (if I get them to germinate) in the polytunnel. You need two different plants to get fruit. Hopefully if I get two plants from these seeds, they will be dissimilar enough to cross fertilise. Apparently chiltern seeds sell Akebia seeds so if the plants grow, and if they don’t fertilise, and I find out whether my seeds are Akebia quinata (five lobed leaves) or Akebia triloba (three lobed leaves) I can get some more seeds and grow some unrelated plants (Phew!, that was getting involved there). According to PFAF, my go-to resourse for germination information, stored Akebia seed is very difficult to germinate, luckily Kim, who swapped these with me, has kept them in damp tissue since eating the fruit, so they should germinate better. They also need light to germinate, so I have pushed them into the surface of some damp compost in a old strawberry punnet with a hinged lid. It is currently in the polytunnel, but I may bring it in, since I think the weather will soon be getting too cold in there, and the temperature PFAF mentions is 15 degrees, which it would gain during the day, but will soon be dropping to near freezing overnight, even in the tunnel. I have kept most of the seeds back inside to dry, since I don’t need dozens of plants (my sad hablitzia plants are a poignant reminder not to sow more than I need – although one or two are hopefully off to good homes this autumn). I may just pop a few in a zip lock bag on a damp tissue as well, as this apparently can work. If I don’t get some Akebia to germinate over the winter, I can try with my stored seeds in the spring, or pass them on again if not required.