Sunday, 22 February 2009

My little fruit contribution

I looked at the government (Defra) 2007 agricultural statistics for our region today. Here in Yorkshire and the Humber there is very little horticulture. Most of the farming is livestock and cereals. Fruit, vegetables and flower growing accounted for 17,258 hectares, just under 1.6 per cent of the total farmed area of 1,090,900 hectares. Of the small area of horticulture, just 5436 hectares was used for growing fruit in 2007, which is just under 0.5 per cent of the farmed land. Yet this tiny proportion of fruit growing in our region in 2007 was almost double the figure in the 2006 records. Maybe this marks a turnaround?

Yesterday I started to expand my microscopic contribution to Yorkshire’s fruit growing, clearing out the weeds and getting some compost ready for three new raspberry canes. Soft fruit grows really well here. Nearby is a bit of Kirklees called Berry Brow and there are fruit bushes in gardens and wild in hedgerows. One day I would like to find out about the history behind this name. In our garden the fruit grows with little attention, just an annual pruning and feeding with compost, a bit of watering when the fruit is ripening. We live next to a wood but the birds never touch the fruit, so nets aren’t necessary. I even forgot to cut back the gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes last year. There are some buds on them now so it’s too late anyway.

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