Tuesday, May 20, 2008

grow your own

There's been a lot of kerfuffle in the media lately about how people are all of a sudden all keen on growing their own veg - the "100 metre diet". har. Nobody in these parts is subsisting on what their gardens provide, I'm thinking - it's more like the "100 metre condiments", because for many people veg is just side-dishes and salads. If you get lots of tomatoes, they're ketchup. (I actually made ketchup last week, and it turned out sort of meh, but I got a couple litres of it out of a $15 box of (local!) tomatoes. It tastes a little too much like Christmas. I think I had the spices off a bit - hardly surprising because I was out of cheesecloth so I used Stirling's tea stick for the spice "bundle".)

I digress. The point to this post was to say, yes, growing your own veg is all good but it's not really going to do much in the way of making your diet more local since let's face it, vegetables do NOT make up the majority of most folks' diets.

That having been said, I've got my garden going, and this year I'm foregoing the lush floral balcony in favour of a lush vegetable balcony. I've got beans and strawberry spinach, beans and basil, beans and corn and pumpkin, cucumbers and dill, and peas. Did I mention beans? I think I was craving beans when I hit the seed swap or something. Maybe you shouldn't go to those things hungry. In the regular garden there's the peas, cukes, dill, fennel, strawberries, chard, carrots, beets, summer savory, parsley, salad mix, sage, thyme and chives. Oh and more beans. (Cannellini beans, my favourites.) And then in the sunroom I've got about 20 tomato plants and a few less peppers. I'll be picking up a few more tomatoes for the balcony next week at Carolyn Herriot's sale and - if I can find good ones - watermelons, because I think they'd be very happy on my deck.

So that sounds like a lot, but it's nowhere near our vegetable needs for the year. That's not really the point though. Every year I learn more about gardening, and vegetables, and how it all works, and it's all good knowledge to have in the event I ever actually have enough space available to grow all the food we need. I think a lot of people garden for that reason rather than immediate food security - they just want to know that they CAN.


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