creative 1975

My Veggie Venture – Part 2

In Non-Fiction on September 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Sadly, I have run out of lettuce to pick from the garden, but all is not lost as I will have some more to plant very soon! The broccoli and cauliflower are coming on very nicely and they have all had a treat this week— ‘chicken poop from the coop’. Not only do our hens give us (and the neighbouring community) delicious eggs; they also give us fertiliser for the crops and there’s no need to put it in compost bins either, you can add it fresh to the soil. I have an area where the lettuces used to be before we ate them all, therefore I emptied my bag of droppings into the soil, gave it a good mix up using a hoe and then shovelled it around the brassica crops, followed by a good watering and … voila! … Job’s done.

I have now ventured a little further and have done my next seedlings that are suitable to sew for the month of September. In my little put-together, mini-greenhouse, I have: spring onions, spinach, lettuce, basil, coriander and silverbeet (commonly known as chard). I would love to have a greenhouse: one that you can walk into, stand up in and keep all your growing apparel inside of. They are very expensive to buy here, so I will have to save. Until then, I have a table and some cardboard boxes, which I keep in the garage and can pull out on a nice day.

That’s our dog Max. He loves to get in on the picture!

Silverbeet:

Closely related to the beetroot and spinach, it came from the Mediterranean, where the Greeks and later the Romans valued it greatly for its exceptional medicinal purposes. It’s tall, leafy and comes in many varieties.

Spinach:

Related to the silverbeet, but it’s less vigorous. There is also New Zealand Spinach! Known as Kokihi to Maori and is one of the few Australasian food crops that have made their way to the rest of the world. It was used by Captain Cook to fight off scurvy and is still sometimes called ‘Cook’s cabbage’.

I have already learned from my very small experience in growing veggies, certain things that I should’ve done differently and will do in the future. For example: I have labelled my seedlings yet in the veggie beds, apart from the lettuces being obvious, I did not label the brassicas and therefore I am unaware at the moment of which-is-which, it hasn’t become apparent yet. So when I eagerly called my family over to the veggie garden, to take a look at the tiny sprouting-head on my cauliflower, it could well have been a broccoli head developing!

When I was growing up in the North of England, my granddad had three allotments’ down the road from where he lived. He was a huge garden enthusiast and his allotments were vast indeed. Everything on our dinner plate was grown in his garden except for the meat! He would often tell us to “eat up, that’s straight out of the garden,” although, he would say it slightly different to that in his northern dialect. I don’t honestly remember, not ‘eating-up’ because the potatoes, cauliflower, swede, carrots … all tasted so good! He would also enter competitions with his mammoth leeks and enormous onions; and I remember always refusing to go into the greenhouse when it was full of tomatoes—it was like stepping into a hot, stuffy, prickly forest and I was convinced that the vines were spiders—I was only five years old!

Now that I am learning the sustainability of growing my own veg, it amuses me to think back to that time when I was the most unenthusiastic child when it came to spending time in Grandad’s allotments! He’d eagerly explain to me what it was, how long it had been growing for and  he’d harvest vegetables for dinner and I never heard a word, nor did I help with anything—I wasn’t interested in the slightest—poor Grandad. At least he had my two sisters, whom were much more eager than I.

Me with my Grandad

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