Last year, I got my hands in some dirt and planted some organic tomatoes, peas and squash. We didn’t need to grow our own food. We had access to amazing farmer’s markets in Northern California that offered a bounty of local, seasonal fruits and vegetables. But, I wanted my toddler to see first hand where our food came from – the soil. I wanted our family to reconnect with the earth and, in the way of The Little Red Hen, turn our wheat into bread. Or, in our case, tomatoes into salsa and strawberries into jam!
After experiencing some success I was excited for another go at gardening. But alas, we moved to London last fall. Don’t get me wrong, they love to garden here, too. But, I have to learn the climate, and now we will be growing for more reasons; namely, to get access to the foods we love without costing the planet – or our pocketbook. (And our little guy can get dirty and still learn where food comes from.) He’ll love it because our garden is FULL of worms!
Here’s a list of where each organic fruit or vegetable comes from at our local grocery store:
- Blueberries: Chile or New Zealand
- Strawberries: Spain
- Raspberries: Spain
- Kiwi Fruit: Italy
- Broccoli: Italy
- Pink Lady Apples: USA
- Grapes: Israel
…and so it goes. Butternut Squash, green beans, baby corn, asparagus, artichoke, tomatoes and many others come from outside the UK, too – namely, Holland, Israel, Spain and South America. If we just ate potatoes, leeks, carrots, parsnips, beets and some leafy greens we could eat seasonally and locally. It’s just not going to happen with a 2.5 year old in the house. (Or a grown-up husband for that matter.) We do order a fruit and vegetable box from an organic delivery company who sources their produce from local farms with no plastic packaging. In fact, the root vegetables still have dirt caked on them.
So, today our gardener (yes we have a gardener and you would too with the limited storage space in London for a lawnmower and other gardening accoutrements – plus it’s required by our lease agreement) came by to build some raised beds for me, in addition to tending to our back garden. (That’s what they call a yard here). They turned out great, albeit small. We couldn’t alter the garden too much since we are renting. But, I am very happy with the results. We will also grow tomatoes and strawberries in pots in our conservatory. It’s like a greenhouse and should really help warm things up a bit here. I really miss the taste of a real, naturally ripened tomato. My son does too. He ate them right off the plant last summer but won’t touch a store bought tomato now.
So, now I must get online to order my organic seeds and seedlings and get this garden started before the ground warms up too much! (Wishful California thinking). Outdoors we’ll try peas again, sunflowers, carrots, beets, garlic and maybe watermelon. I can’t wait to browse the store.
How about you? Any plans for a garden? A window sill herb garden or a Dervaes style homestead? (My dream). What are your reasons for growing?