We enjoy growing our own food. Living and working in the same place (and having plenty of space) makes it somewhat easier for us than for most, but it still takes a concerted effort to make it worthwhile. This year we grew tomatoes (five months of fresh tomatoes!), cucumbers, zucchini, beans, potatoes, figs, garlic, chillies, spring onions, artichokes, radish, silver beet, lettuce, kohlrabi.
Herbs, too – parsley, mint, basil (fresh pesto!), tarragon, dill, Vietnamese mint, lemon grass, oregano, thyme, sage, bay, rosemary. What a treat it is to go grab some fresh herbs when cooking, and what a difference it makes to your dishes. In fact, if you could grow nothing else, herbs are where you get the most bang for your buck.
And finally, chickens. We’ve kept about four Isa Browns for many years now and the eggs are fantastic. Not only do chickens recycle your kitchen scraps (can be hard to properly manage in a composting system) into more food, but also produce excellent manure for the veggie patch.
Growing your own food has benefits beyond flavour and freshness:
- You get some good exercise!
- Your more mindful of what is seasonal and cook/eat in a more seasonal fashion
- Your respect for farmers increases, knowing what it takes to grow good food
- You’re more thankful for the range of fruit and veg you can get at your local market/supermarket
- Your ability to pick good produce from bad/ordinary/old/decaying produce increases
- You get closer to the season – you pay much more attention to what’s going on around you – mindfulness…
- You realise how difficult it must have been to live in a truly self-sufficient way, and how hard it would have been to get through winter/spring with a full belly
With the wine, vegetables, herbs, eggs, our own lamb and beef (thanks neighbour Dave!), and olive oil on the way, we’re truly appreciative of the benefits of growing your own. Now for the orchard….
NM and FW