Monday, 24 May 2010

Winter sky

Gardening, especially when one is growing food, is a very rewarding activity.   I have often encouraged friends to grow food (usually potatoes or silverbeet...  best results for little effort)  when they are feeling sad or having a hard time.  I know that this makes me feel better and I hadn't realised why until recent times.  When people feel sad,  they seem to lack control over their lives.  One way of getting a little bit of control over a small part of the world is to grow something,  especially food.  It seems to work for many people.

I have been growing food plants for a long time and, despite a couple of months off last year,  the garden is getting back into production pretty well again.  We have been eating bits and pieces of leafy greens, leeks, spring onions, not to mention vegetables that I froze last year for some time.
Today's food...
... includes baby leeks, spring onions, Chinese broccoli, Russian kale and herbs that we ate today.
This week I picked the first broccoli for this year, and that seems so much more significant.   Broccoli from the garden is sweet... completly different from the rank tasting old stuff from the shop.  That taste reminded me of the other big reason to eat fresh and local food.  I have mentioned this before,  but there is something to be said for waiting for a particular fruit or vegetable to be in season.  The classic example is the cherries that we are able to buy in mid-winter.  Cherry season here is around Christmas time.  The first very expensive ones each year come in before Christmas,  and most people are unwilling to buy them.  (The price will come down after the holiday.)  Many of us (me included) will splurge and buy some as a special holiday treat!  One wonders how long it will be before the supermarkets can find them growing somewhere in the world at any time of the year and there'll be no Christmas treat like that again.

Meanwhile the broad beans are coming along nicely.  The first ones that I planted are all up and looking healthy.  The next ones are jsut poking through, and I have a few more seeds to plant even now... they don't seem to be very picky about when they go into the ground.  It was these first ones and their healthy looking shoots that made me begin to think about these seasonal vegetables though.  Once they are big enough,  about 30-40cm tall,  I'll be able to pick the tips of the leafy stalks.  These are really good to eat, and long before the beans even flower, and a long time before the actual beans appear.
Meanwhile I am still planting more seeds and seedlings, and perhaps that is why last week seemed to disappear with little posting here.  In order to eat from the garden daily,  it is necessary to plant daily also... or at least weekly.  I am still planting carrots and onions, and leafy green brassicas.   I have been planting native seedlings that will benefit from any rain over the next several months, and now is the time to plant any perennnial food plants or herbs... when they will get a boost from the winter rain.
It's still not raining, but the 2.5mm since yesterday morning has been much appreciated.

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