Friday, August 14, 2009

eating from the garden… or not

We’ve really enjoyed working with our EarthAbbey friends on various GrowZone projects during the course of this year. This has included modifying our tiny garden to include various areas for growing food. Moira+I have little experience of such things so, as you might imagine, it’s been a huge learning curve for both of us. We’ve been growing/trying to grow the following thus far: lettuce (of various types), strawberries, chard, sprouting broccoli, peppers, shallots, potatoes and tomatoes. The lettuce has been pretty good; strawberries were fine (but really hardly enough for more than a couple of meals); the chard is just about ok (but fighting a constant battle with the slugs/snails); the peppers and shallots were a failure; the potatoes produced a pretty paltry crop of rather small vegetables; the broccoli seems to be doing ok (thus far).
What about the tomatoes I hear you ask (actually, I feel sure you won’t be asking such questions!)? You may have read my previous blog about dealing with our army of slugs and snails (in order to protect our ripening tomatoes)…. well, I’m afraid we’ve now discovered that all our tomato plants had “blight” and so we’ve had to strip off our tiny unripened tomatoes (see photograph) and Moira’s currently in the process of making green tomato chutney!!
It’s all hugely disappointing.
Now, I don’t want to over-dramatise matters, but our experience has given me much food for thought(!) – for example:
a) Our experience put me in mind of people all over the world who HAVE to grow their own food (and this includes farmers in this country too). We just shrug our shoulders and go out and buy food from the local shops/supermarket instead. For a farmer in this country, a failed crop could mean that his/her business has to fold. For someone in the Third World, a failed crop could mean much, much more – ultimately that his/her family starves to death.
b) Maybe it would have all been different if we’d attacked everything with chemicals to avoid disease and infestation?
c) Food in this country is incredibly cheap (we might not want to admit this, but it is in relative terms). If you can buy two large punnets of strawberries for £3, you might ask yourself: “what’s the point of growing my own”?
But, then I snap out of this negative mindset!
We’ve only just started out….
We’ve really enjoyed the challenge of trying to produce some of our own food.
We want to produce our own food organically.
I think we’ve become far more “in tune” with the earth, the weather and the seasons (sounds a bit of a hippie thing to say, but it’s true!).
We’ve learnt an awful lot through our “mistakes” and we need to be educated.
We need to discover what food is most suited to our “plot” and grow it successfully.
We WILL make this work eventually!


just Gai said...

That's the spirit Steve.

Alice said...

YEAH!! Do it dad! On the bright side - you grew tomatoes for chutney - that's lovely!

bigdaddystevieB said...

Actually (and this shows that I'm merely the under-gardener), Moira has since pointed out that the peppers+shallots have NOT been a failure - there still trying to produce stuff (apparently)!
... and you're right Alice - although they only produced six jars of chutney!