September 04, 2006

Free food for everyone!

For the last two weekends I have been out picking blackberries around our village – there are a hell of a lot this year and we have had no problem stocking up with all this free food. I look forward to a winter of blackberry crumble, tarts, cheesecakes and jam. I think there are another good 3-4 weeks of fruit to come.

Also, the veg patch is reaching it’s peak. We have cabbages a-plenty – they survived the relentless attack of butterflies which has pleased me a lot. The beans are ok, but were better last year. Courgettes are producing well and the tomatoes are not bad. Even the leeks are looking pretty good – I look forward to Feb/March when I can eat those.

Best of all are the Butternut Squashes – we have two baby squashes already ripening and plenty of flowers which should also become fruit. I’ll be chuffed as can be if these come off.

Anyway – the point of all of this is all of this comes for bugger all money – the cost of some seeds and a bit of hard work – less than that for the blackberries of course. What bugged me about this post was the idea that gardens were wasteful and bad. Rubbish – one of the key reasons we are/were a nation of gardeners was that gardens were a way of producing cheap, healthy food. Whether you had a small garden or an allotment, for many working people it was how you supplemented your family’s food in a cheap way.

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  1. In the days when rural people lived in cottages, the front garden was planted with flowers for show, but the back garden was wall-to-wall (hedge-to-hedge?) vegetables which more or less kept the family going in basics. Meat was for special days only as it was so expensive. You kept some chickens for the eggs and occasionally brained one for the meat, again special occasions only. If you had a pig, it was fed the waste from the kitchen. In the winter, you would bury some of the produce – using a straw lined hole to stop whatever bugs were still down there from getting to it before you – to keep it preserved through the cold months and just dig up stuff as and when you needed it. And if you actually had any rubbish, eg a stone bottle that you’d broken, you just dug a deep hole in the garden and buried it.

    Anyway, well done for getting through the summer with a harvest of comestibles. The effort involved is phenomenol.

    04 Sep 2006, 14:22

  2. Wasn’t that much effort to be honest.

    BTW – I also feel like shooting stuff this year. The pheasants are out and about again and I keep spotting them and thinking about bagging a few. Same goes for deer.

    I also feel like learning more about mushrooms – there have been lots around and I would like to eat some wild mushrooms without killing myself.

    04 Sep 2006, 14:33

  3. Our tomatoes have been rubbish. Can we have some of yours?! (Free food for everyone.)

    04 Sep 2006, 17:26

  4. if they finish ripening off ok, sure.

    I have a plan for them next year….

    04 Sep 2006, 17:28

  5. Well I think it’s wonderful that you are putting your garden to good use! I imagine there is nothing more satisfying than enjoying produce you have grown yourself. I love home grown tomatoes, they remind me of summers in my Grandpas garden when I was small.

    If I had a garden I would definitely make an attempt to grow my own, but alas, I live in a flat! – Ho hum

    06 Sep 2006, 16:06

  6. To Kelly I have a small garden but have managed to grow some bits and bobs very successfully out of what is effectively a wooden box turned upside down and filled with compost. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to grow things – so much cheaper that paying for an organic box – just a few lettuces and or spring onions or radishes – so easy and it makes all the difference if you can claim to have grown them yourself.

    11 Sep 2006, 14:14

  7. To Ursula thanks for the advice, looks like I’ll be busy this weekend!

    11 Sep 2006, 16:06

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