Photo: Dalston’s Farm:shop
In an attempt to live by what I preach, I have been attempting to grow as much produce in and around my quite small north London home as possible.
Each attempt is a test and a lesson. I seem to fail much more than I triumph. But those victories are sweet: I haven’t had to buy Cucumbers all summer and the Beetroots we an incredible, delicious success against mites and pests.
Have you found it tough? I’m frequently sifting through the wonderful Ministry of Food book and trying to get tips from any source that seems to know what it is talking about.
At the beginning of the season, I set out full of bravado and ambition with the design firmly in mind: lots of raising beds made from items salvaged from skips, fruit and veg overflowing the edges, helping shade itself, the continuous London rain doing it’s job and me reaping the benefits.
Although it never works out like that (of course my idealised, twee expectation were far-fetched but I kind of knew that from the outset…) It has been fascinating to see what works and what doesn’t; I’m pretty much giving up on Tomatoes from here on (well cherry ones at least).
It’s all experience, and just adds to the credence of helping me to know what I’m talking about. I know that each year it will improve and things like the fruit bushes will only prosper with age but I want them NOW goddam it!
There has been a lot of noise lately of the fact that over 1/4 of people are now supposedly growing their own. Are you? If I take my road as an example, there are probably 5 or 6 houses out of 50 that have something growing (that I can tell - most only have front garden that face south).
What I want to discover is how do I help make this number 30 out of 50? What is it that will get more people to consider home-growing? There was an article in the Daily Mail that talked up the GYO movement but then got rather pessimistic with a lot of the comments stating how it was actually probably cheaper to go to the Supermarket, and how you could never actually make an impact on your meals from what meagre things you can grow yourself (both points I disagree with and my daily lunch is vindication of this stance).
It’s all the other reason on top of these highly functional, tangible factors; the fact that it lightens your reliance on the massive Supermarket chains, that it has no carbon footprint compared to the store bought, imported goods and that the freshness cannot be rivaled. Take that Mail readers!
Do we need to make veg sexy and cool to get more people into it? Do we need a change in the law somewhere to heavily encourage it?
I’m planning to use Connected Roots to bring home grown produce to more people at a greater frequency so that the benefits stand up and slap people round the face.
So to finish, here are some of my peas, what a mini-victory they were!