A Little Taste of The Good Life.

I have always loved the TV programme of this name for many reasons and can watch any number of repeats but never because I was tempted to emulate the "self sufficiency" movement. I can’t think of anything worse. Farming on any scale does not appeal, no offence to farmers, and yes I have met quite a few.

Let me say right away that I am no gardener. I may choose what I would like to grow and interfere with my husband's plans and point out the deficiencies (which is probably why my rare visits are not welcomed) but I am happy to leave the actual cultivation to him. Over the years I have lived in various types of property with gardens large or small or non-existent. In all of them, I have noticed that people will find some way of growing not only flowers but fruit and vegetable in the most unlikely and unpromising places.

Of course this is easier these days. You can buy planters to fit around drain pipes, tomato plants for hanging baskets, and ready made germinating kits to use indoors as well as mini greenhouses; and all for a pound or less in the budget stores. The number of fruits and vegetables which can be grown in containers or pots is amazing. The list is endless including, cucumbers, potatoes, strawberries, green and runner beans, turnips, carrots, lettuce, peppers, even blueberries etc etc.

This is on my mind because we recently moved to a house where the garden had once been an allotment. There were raised vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees and many “anonymous” plants, so we have watched with interest to see what cropped up! {sorry}. We have had enough green and runner beans to feed an army but passed them on to the neighbours, some of whom returned the compliment with other produce. We had a bumper crop of strawberries, great to accompany my breakfast yogurt, and between our planting and the stuff already growing have not had to buy any salad ingredients for some time.

I realise that many of you are probably keen gardeners and know all this, and more already, and others will say that they haven't the time. My own reaction to all this at first was to groan at the thought of endless hours preparing fruit and veg for freezing.  Looking around at what is available to grow nowadays I realised that I could grow my own celeriac and aubergines, even avocados, all of which seem to know when I want them and promptly disappear from the shelves.

No, it is not going to replace the weekly shopping trip but there is a great deal of satisfaction in knowing exactly where at least some of your food comes from and that it is truly organic. Also that it hasn’t been flown halfway around the world before it reaches your plate. We are too used to expecting to be able to eat anything at any season. I think there is something special about being able to eat fresh vegetables, locally grown in season. Some people never have this pleasure so even as an occasional treat it is worthwhile. Of course children love to watch and have a hand in growing things too. They love to help and may even learn to view vegetables in a different light.

I am now reconciled to a mini version of the Good Life, as you can tell but I am still not entirely convinced that I want the freezer to be taken over by excess produce. We still have a superfluity of runner beans for example. It occurred to me that before refrigeration food was stored in other ways so I may experiment with this. Moist sand is one medium I believe and jute sacking and the like. Any tips gratefully received. I can no longer be bothered with pickling, bottling and the like and  think I should avoid jam making. Why deliberately put yourself in temptation's way.

Of course, as diabetics, fresh food is especially important to us. Growing our own, even in a small way, may help ourselves and others to appreciate the benefits of fresh veg from a reliable source and also remind us how things should taste. So much shop-bought produce tastes bland and tired and not everyone has a choice of shops within easy reach.

I shall probably continue to do my gardening by proxy, but the celeriac is doing well.  Next year we will try the aubergine and avocados, maybe in a container. Diabetic or not we wont have to worry too much about beating the rush in the supermarket.

Happy growing, and may your fingers always be green!


No comments:

Post a Comment