Paul looking forward 2017

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Forage and grow 2017
Last year was strange for me. The only thing I managed to grow was strawberries, but foraged loads more, as time goes on I learn more and more about what is and is not edible. In my experience I have tried everything that I spotted once and out of all these weeds I have had one bad experience. I picked a little bit as per usual tried a bit shortly after the 1st chew it started to sting so that got spat out it sting for about an hour afterwards other than that no bad experience. I don’t count the horrible tasting ones.
This year is different I am more motivated to grow more of my own, with the loss of my mom last year I suppose it’s trying to keep her spirit alive in the homestead, and the polytunnel becomes this oasis of life. A month ago I started by weeding out the tunnel of the heavy weeds. Followed by a drowning of water to revive any plants that were hiding dormant underground some of these are now coming to life with a little heavier weeding I’m now ready to sow some lettuce leaves “cut and come” varieties I’ve no interest in the big heads I won’t have time for them I have also down some cress some garlic chives and some normal garlic in the hopes of having my own. I’ve planted some squash seeds in the ground and some in small pots which can be transplanted at a later date. I picked up some cherry tomatoes with I know I can grow in buckets put a hole in the bottom with a tray of water add warmth and sunlight and they will be happy out, just to spice it up a bit I added basil to the plants as I am led to believe they thrive alongside these tempestuous fruit.
My progress on a berry patch is also underway after the birds thieving everything last year, I am an animal lover and have no issue with small birds of any description I would prefer to have been able to put the berries to use in my workplace or even the homestead, most of the berries needed a few more days to ripen to perfection, as luck would have it, it was 10 days before I got a chance to return home to find no more than a jam jar full of berries. At least the birds will survive I thought next year I will be better prepared. This year I have transferred done of these through small rooting shoots to the centre of the poly tunnel where I can keep an eye on them, less chance of the birds making off with my berries.
As this new season and my second year of foraging begins I look forward to trying different things and exploiting more of nature’s bounty in the first of leaves seeds fruits nuts and vegetables from the shore to the forest and everything in between. I look forward to the people I have yet to meet on my travels around this beautiful county of ours and what she has to offer us over the course of this year from the wild garlic which is with us right now to Dandelion leaves, chickweed, wild cress, wild leeks, sorrel, seabeet, samphire just to name a few that we have plentiful supply of for the year if treated and preserved correctly will ensure a year round supply of nutritious greens, later in the year nuts and mushrooms appear, through careful identification mushrooms can be found year round I am learning these as I go pick, identify have found a handful of mushrooms so far that I can safely eat I hasten to add here I’m NOT an expert at this I need more practice, training before going on a proper mushroom hunting. Through this year I’m going to focus more on growing than my forage and other parts more on the forage than the growing. While I find the balance.
More on my success and failure through this year follow this blog.
Follow me on Twitter @chefpaulc Instagram @chefpaulc
Also we are hosting a forage and talk in ballyseedy woods @10am on the 25th march come join our event on Facebook like the page Traleeculinarygangsters.com 
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