Sunday, February 6, 2011


Let's just get one thing clear. I am not - and never will be - a farmer.

I don't have the correct footwear, I'm honestly not a big fan of dirt and I don't like being more than a ten minute drive from the local shopping centre. Just in case I run out of creme fraiche or leopard print shoes. Or something.

The reality is that we live on a suburban block so any farming aspirations I may have are tempered by space and the desire to have a lawn. So in reality, it wouldn't really matter how many pairs of wellington boots I had, we would we limited by space.

We have a (somewhat struggling and messy at the moment) herb garden - mint gone wild (as mint tends to do), lemon thyme, rosemary and chives all flourish when we remember to water them and the days don't top 41 degrees. Occasionally, if we are around in September - which over the past few years has been rare - we plant tomato plants. In 2009 I convinced Mr K to let me buy a raspberry cane along with the selection of tomatoes. It was $10 but I figured that if we got just one punnet of fruit from it, it would pay for itself. My favourite fruit, raspberries are insanely expensive and I often have a bit of hankering for them. It was as much about greed for home grown fruit as it was an attempt to embrace thrift.

The result was woefully unimpressive. Admittedly we planted it late (mid October) and the tomatoes we planted at the same time drowned thanks to torrential late rain. We managed a scant 4 berries from the plant before deeming the experiment an abject failure. We trimmed and pruned the cane and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Fast forward to October last year and we arrived home from our UK/South Africa/Hong Kong trip to find a wonderful surprise. The raspberry cane had self seeded and we had a flourish of growth. Raspberries gone wild!! What started as a sad, lonely plant had exploded to four healthy thriving bushes with blossoms promising an abundance of luscious fruit.

Over the past few weeks we have gradually been harvesting our crop with pride and so far have managed to get at least a punnet of berries so far with many more to come. We get 6-10 berries a day, a lovely, delicious, sun warmed snack that I look forward to every day.

It has surprised me how something can thrive with no care or attention. We've now netted the fruit (I have no desire to share my longed for gains with the birdies) and are researching how we can keep the plants going while we build the house.

Raspberries waiting to ripen!

And not only were the raspberries a happy surprise, we also had some self seeding baby tomatoes this year. Even though the last round drowned, we have a fine crop for Summer 2010-11. They are gradually ripening with the intensely hot weather we are having at the moment and every piece of fruit tastes like sunshine.

The jumbled tangle of tomato plants!

It's so wonderfully rewarding eating something you have grown. This experiment with a very happy ending had given me a renewed enthusiasm for a vegetable patch in our new house.

Now, just to find some room to put it...



Sydney Shop Girl said...

Well done, Kitty!

I'm off to enjoy my first lemon of the season from our tree. It's going into a lemon, lime and bitters.

Have a great week,

SSG xxx

Sydney Shop Girl blog

KittyCate said...

Oh wow, well done on the raspberry growing! They are my fave fruit, and a treat due to the cost - would love to grow my own. I only have herbs growin at the moment xx

Semi Expat said...

Am very impressed with your gardening and your raspberries ! I have 3 tomato plants and some chilli plants but so far NO TOMS just a few chillis though... I live in hope. xo

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Sarah, I find that the less we do to the plants the better they produce. We had a beautiful greek salad tonight with the tomatoes we grew. Bliss. But there is still a heap of unripe fruit on the vines that I am looking forward to.

Cate, I highly recommend giving it a go next summer. The only advice I'd give is get the plant in earlier than us and be prepared to wait at least a season... The reward is worth it though. So satisfying!!

SSG, we managed to kill our lemon tree this year. So disappointing. But when we build the house we'll pull out our grapefruit which is struggling and replace it with a lemon tree. I'm thinking Meyer... Or maybe a lime tree....

TheStylishShoeGirl said...

Loving the self-produce, good work!
Maybe Millie had words with the raspberries last year, close to your arrival back home date and they grew in fear of possible being uprooted on your return?!
I am currently growing finger eggplant - have roasted a few - they're fantastic!

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

SSG II - I think she might have. She loves to look out the window overlooking the plants. She must be the raspberry whisperer!!

Kiki Chaos said...

Wow, I never knew you could grow raspberries domestically. I always thought they'd go crazy and take over the whole garden. I have a date with MIL to go and pick blackberries from the bushes that have taken over an entire paddock, before they get razed down. How do you contain your raspberries?

Anonymous said...

Great work Kitty. Growing raspberry will be music to TLG's ears. I wonder if I can grow some in our little verandah.

Katya said...

The garden I am minding has a raspberry patch. I tend to eat them straight off the plant, along with the blackberries and mulberries. Once or twice I actually managed to get some inside and eat with cream. There is a another crop about to ripen but it will probably happen after I leave, sad for me but nice for my friend's who actually planted them!
Raspberries are great to grow too as they are nowhere near as rampant as blackberries

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

Kiki - we've managed to keep them to just one area of the garden quite easily. Katya is right, they aren't as prolific and insideous as blackberries. Nor do they produce as much fruit. But what my plants do produce is delicious!!

CG - I don't see why you couldn't plant them in a pot. You'll need a couple of tall stakes to tie the plant to but I'd give it a go if I were you. Ditto with tomatoes!