Growing up, I don’t remember a time when we didn’t have our own fruit and veg in the garden. I remember picking strawberries for Mum’s strawberry jam every year, and purple stained hands from the blackberry harvest. Add to that my Dad’s onion, potato and mushroom growing experiments and the feeble cress contribution I’d bring home from school and our ‘grow your own’ was pretty much sorted. My Great-Grandad (the only Grandad I’ve known) was a fruit and veg hawker. I spent Saturday mornings on my Uncle’s farm, climbing hay bales and collecting the eggs from in between. Home made meals with home grown bits and pieces just makes me happy, I guess it’s in my blood.
I don’t expect us ever to be completely self sufficient in the fruit and veg department, but this year, our garden has given us all sorts for a fairly minor investment.
My Parent’s picked up two bulbs of garlic from a farmer’s market in France last year. We split them in to cloves for planting and in return for less than 2 Euros, we have 16 huge bulbs of garlic to see us through the rest of the year.
Elsewhere in the garden between pots dotted and two belfast sinks sunk in to a wall, we have a good stock of herbs. Bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, lavender, parsley, mint, fennel… These are freshly picked for meals most of the time but this year I’ll be drying them to restock our jars.
Of all the things we planted this year, I wish we’d planted more spinach. I love the leaves in a salad or wilted down in my South Indian Fish Curry, you can see it filling my wrap in my Mojito Chicken and there’s often a handful in my smoothies too! I’m not alone in my spinach worship either, Matt has spinach, bacon and poached eggs every morning without fail. Even if all you have is a windowsill, spinach will grow readily in a pot there with a little care. You can buy 300 seeds for £1.79 including delivery on Amazon.
Our ‘Summer Ball’ courgettes are just starting to be harvested and the beetroot, carrots, beans and peas won’t be far behind.
Are you growing anything? We’re starting to think about what to plant next and I’d love some suggestions.
If you don’t have anywhere to plant up, you’ll still manage a good share of produce from your local area. In my Parent’s field there’s year round foraging for elderflower, elderberries, wild raspberries, blackberries, wild garlic, hazelnuts, sloes, damsons, gooseberries, wild strawberries and crabapples. No upkeep required. I’m sure if you start to look, you’ll see food in hedgerows that you’d never paid notice to before.