Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Why grow your own?

Why indeed? A snippet I caught on the radio this morning has caused me to ponder this one today. The presenter was interviewing a chap who had had an allotment for 20 years, and he concluded that for the time, effort and price of seed, fertiliser and other sundries, you would have been as cheap buying your veggies in Harrods as growing them! Probably, if you did take the time and interest to log every cost you put into growing food, he may well be right in money terms, but for me, there is so much more to life than the bottom line all the time! I do accept that sometimes, the bottom line is the only line, and I have to use it msyelf sometimes, when money is tight , and make compromises, etc, and I also realise that for many many people there is no other line than the line at which the money just isn't there. For what it's worth, however, here's how I see it. The satisfaction of growing your own, and bringing a basket or colanderful of fresh produce into the kitchen has never dimmed for me, right from when I was a child, helping my granny pick blackcurrants, picking sluggy lettuces for tea :), and especially over the past 20 years or so when I have had my own garden. The thrill never leaves you when you think that what is on your plate has been produced by you, grown and nurtured, picked and prepared, and now ready to eat. Freshness, knowledge of growing conditions - what you put on your land is as important as what you don't put on it -, taste, variety, colour, keeping old varieties going, stories about what you've grown, seed from a friend, cuttings with memories attached. The whole is much more than the sum of its parts, and getting that fresh produce on to the table is little short of a miracle when all is taken into account. Another aspect for me is from the self- reliance stand - I am doing soemthing for myself, something for me, without having to rely on what other people deem I should buy in the shop/market. Another aspect is the time spent outdoors, even in the wet and wind - you're getting out there in among it, at the mercy of nature and the weather, being part of and taking part in the world. A great part of it is to grow what you like, something different, colourful, interesting. If I turned the whole garden over to fruit and veg, I reckon we could be pretty much self-sufficient in them; hwoever, staples such as carrots, cabbages, potatoes and onions are reasonably cheap to buy and good quality in season, and take up a lot of room. What I like to grow are the things that need to be prepared and cooked as soon as possible - asparagus, beans, tomatoes, fruit, herbs, salads......... I do grow new potatoes, winter onions, spring cabbage, garlic, baby carrots - but that's to get the other great attraction of growing my own, which is the anticiaption and thrill of the first taste of seasonal veg - the first strawberry or raspberry, the weeks watching and waiting and tweaking the asparagus bed, theheist crunch as you sink your eager teeth into the first ripe, sun blessed apple of the autumn. It's got it all for me, the anticipation, waiting, patience, growing with the seasons and everything in its time.

That's why I grow my own, and will go on doing so as long as I'm able.


Leanne said...

that photo is great sarah, the colours are fantastic! i agree totally about the thrill of picking something that you have sown, grown and harvested all by yourself, its soo rewarding!

Leanne x

Eco-Gites of Lenault said...

And I fully agree with the self reliance bit. ASDA and Co might like to think they are indispensible - we veg growers know otherwise.