It’s Pomegranate season again in my old Mediterranean jungle garden. It now thrives without any care. There are papayas, apricots, dates, pomegranates and grapes growing alongside wild and planted trees, herbs and shrubs that self-mulch the ground and feed the fruit-bearers for me. There are even self-seeded young pomegranate trees under the canopy that have never been watered or fed even once. Mulch can really do wonders.
The many date palms volunteered from seeds I spat out randomly years ago. They should be making their first crop next year.
It’s somewhat of a guerrilla garden since I don’t own the land it’s on. It was a vacant lot no one was using behind my parent’s house, that I decided to experiment with.
Initially the lot was covered with towering tumbleweeds on compacted and extremely saline soil, with big chunks of concrete and rebar sticking out of it. It’s unrecognizable today.
There’s an aviary hanging into the garden, and the bird manure falls into the garden, supplying even more nutrients.
I experiment with using cardboard boxes as mulch in the orchard and touch on some frugal uses for September’s gifts from the forest: leaf mould compost to start seeds, and moss for rooting cuttings.
I also sample a hearty selection of wild Autumn fruits as I wander the woods. I even come across some tree-cured olives still hanging on their trees many months after ripening.
I stumble onto a strawberry tree that has ripe fruit already; an astounding mutation considering that all the other strawberry trees I’ve seen won’t ripen their fruits until December-January. Just another example of the diversity apparent in wild seedling trees.
Finally, I happen onto another naturally-occurring edible tree guild, and before I head back to the cabin, I take a look at four ancient olive trees that were planted in the same hole. Truly the epitome of efficiency.
Wild plants featured in this instalment:
Golden Oak Tree “Quercus alnifolia” – (Acorns edible after leeching)
Mastic Tree “Pistacia lentiscus” (Edible berries & gum)
Strawberry Tree “Arbutus adrachne” (Edible berries)
Olive Tree “Olea europaea” (Edible after processing)
Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Carob Tree “Ceratonia siliqua” (Edible pods)
Tropic VFN (Heat tolerant variety)
Black Cherry (smoky tasting, my favourite cherry)
San Marzano (perfect plum tomato, good for sun drying)
German Orange Strawberry
Currant Sweet Pea
Principe Borghese (the nipple tomato – great for sun drying)
Ailsa Craig (shared with a mysterious tomato-eating creature)
Gardener’s Delight (a prolific red cherry tomato, makes up the majority of my harvest)
White Wonder / Bianco Lungo
Lungo Verde degli Ortolani
I make good use of some pine trees, and make some quick raw vegan cucumber spiral spaghetti using only things I picked from the garden (tomatoes, sweet peppers, mint, basil and cucumbers), as well a few of the olives I prepared in a previous video.
The tool I use to make the noodles is a Gefu Spirelli Spiral Slicer, but there are much better spiral slicers out there that won’t make your wrists sore. You can also use carrots to make this meal in the winter, or mix carrot and cucumber. Typically, zuccinis / courgettes are used, but they don’t agree with me, and cucumbers taste a whole lot better.
You’ll want to use cucumbers with small seeds, such as the Mediterranean cucumbers I use.
A look at my shipping container home, and some of the re-purposed materials I used to make it. I also go for a walk with my dogs and pick a few wild edibles along the way, including some edible flowers.
The wild edibles I come across this time are: Globe thistle, dandelion, caper blossoms, smooth sow thistle, corn marigold / crown daisy.
The edible green manure plants I feature are clovers and forage peas. Two amazing plants that have the ability to grab nutrients (such as nitrogen) from the air and put them in the soil.