The seasonal lulls between mainstream crops are the perfect time for some less well-known, but equally delicious fruit
Almost everything has been harvested for the year. The grapes are fermenting in the winery, most of the quince are picked, and the apple orchard is bare.
The intensity of early autumn harvesting – when each crop has a short window in which to be picked – has gone. I deserve this hot chocolate with whisky at the end of the garden before I get on with other things.
I spend much of November outside, doing the opposite to October’s picking. It’s bareroot season, when many plants are dormant and happy to be planted. I do it as early as I can while there’s a hint of warmth left in the soil. Even the short time before winter allows them to get their roots settled in. It can also be too wet or the ground too hard to plant in the heart of the cold.
Today I’m filling gaps, not just in the garden but in the seasons. Chilean guava, blue honeysuckle and Japanese wineberries are three of my favourite fruit – I have half a dozen of each, but I’m adding more. Apart from being delicious, they all fruit when I most need them to, in the seasonal gaps between more important crops. Blue honeysuckle give the first fruit of the year, in May, wineberries are most prolific in the lull between the peaks of the summer and autumn raspberries, and Chilean guava can ripen as late as mid November, long after other berries and currants.