This week we almost completed planting the remaining bareroot and pot grown shrubs for the campsites garden. Since starting work on developing an edible campsite here in East Sussex, I have been drawing up a list of the plants that willl be productive at different times during the year, with the ultimate goal of being able to pick something during any month of the year. Currently the wild garlic is just starting to show and it makes a wonderful addition to a winter salad, and soup, or a fantastic pesto to spread onto fresh bread. Soon we will also be able to start picking yourng nettles and start making a simple soup from the tender leaves, although the picking has to be done very carefully to avoid getting a rash all over your hand, gloves are a must.
To compliment some of these wild plants that can to be foraged on and around the campsite we have planted some more unusual edible plants which I have sourced from my friend Paul Barney at Edulis Nurseries in Ashampstead, Berkshire. These plants have been planted and protected from the rabbits and deer which seem to love the Secret campsite, here goes with the list. I have added links to the Plants for a Future website where you can see detailed descriptions of each plant and also which parts of the plants you will be able to eat during your stay with us at The Secret Campsite, depending on the time of year that you arrive. Please be aware that you should consult an expert before eating plants or plant parts, and edibility and palatability are different. Not all parts of plants are edible and you should check to see that the part you are about to eat is palatable, and edible. Some plants might need to be cooked before eating
Lonicera caerulea The blue honeysuckle or Honeyberry and you can eat the fresh fruit
Ribes odoratum The Buffalo currant and the fruits are delicious
Hovenia dulcis The Japanese Raisin Tree grown by the Japanese for the fresh fruit
Viburnum opulus The Guelder Rose the fruits can be made into a preserve unless the birds get them first
Cercis silquastrum The Judas Tree flowers can be added to salads in the spring. the flowers grow on the main trunk of the tree.
Halesia carolina The Silver bell Tree that produce a delicious crunchy fruitready to eat in late June
Cornus kousa chinensis Chinese Dogwood The striking fruit has a bitter skin but a delicious and sweer centre
Elaeagnus umbellata The Autumn Olive The fruits can be eaten raw or cooked
Cornus mas The Cornelian Cherry The fruits are eaten raw towards the end of the summer
Hippophae rhamnoides Sea Bickthorn the fruits are eaten cooked or processed.
Whilst planting these shrubs and trees in The Secret campsites garden, we were visited by the barn owl who has hunting across the newly planted edible tree area most nights during the week, much to the delight of the campersstaying with us this week. More surprisingly, at one point in the afternoon a small bat had dropped onto the ground outside one of the barns at the start of the path over to campsite meadow. We got an awful photo of it on the phone, and then tucked the bat back under the cladding for the barn. I hope he found a better roost after a nights hunting around the campsite.