Being fifty-something, I’ve taken a renewed interest in where our food is sourced, who grows it and how it arrives in my fridge.
We’ve been exploring farmers markets, trying to buy more local produce, frequenting our local green grocer and generally trying to avoid supermarket shopping where we can.
This year we decided to take it a step further and embark on a “grow your own” adventure to re-acquaint ourselves with the process of growing and the effort that goes into tending veggie plants in the urban garden.
I grew up with parents who loved to garden. We had several fruit trees in our garden, a flourishing rhubarb patch and other seasonal crops of silver beet and the like. When I showed an interest, I remember Dad allocating me a single row in the “patch” and showing me how to sow radish seeds. I now know that radishes are quick-growers that provide gardeners with the gratification of harvest within a short 6-week term. Perfect for the kidlets. Even though kids don’t generally enjoy the flavour of radishes.
When our own kids showed an interest in growing vegetables we were fortunate to have plenty of yard space available. So we chose to grow the “dramatic” crops like sweet corn and pumpkins. The pumpkins were a winner and, like the radishes, provided almost instant gratification … you could literally measure their growth from day to day. And we did.
Now, in our house in the city, we have very little yard space. We decided to sacrifice a share of our handkerchief-sized lawn to house these two big wooden veggie boxes and challenged ourselves to see what we could grow in a smallish urban plot. We’ve promised ourselves that nothing will be wasted … we will harvest and eat every single morsel we grow, or gift to family, friends, neighbours, or swap at a local food swap.
So far we have tomatoes, button squash (cute as buttons!), capsicum, zucchinis, spring onions, purple runner beans and lettuces. Some we’ve grown from seed (*high five) and others we’ve picked up as seedlings. We haven’t lost one yet! Everything is flourishing, thanks to some recent local (and unseasonal) rain.
Here’s a snapshot of how our little grow your own adventure is looking right now:
We’re about to head off (to paradise) for a holiday and we’re leaving the patch in the care of Boy Wonder, along with very strict instructions about watering.
Yes, I’ve changed. When it comes to the veggie patch, I’m no longer an incidental gardener. I’m more your standing guard-with-the-threat-of-death-should-you-touch-my-plants gardener.
We’ve even blanketed the patch in a protective layer of pea straw today, just to help keep all the little plants feeling loved while we’re away.
Can’t wait to get back and start reaping what we sowed.