Our home vegetable garden has been established and producing for over a year now. It's been a year of experimentation - some things have worked, some things haven't. It's also been a year of education - I've learnt a lot. Above all I've been suprised by how productive the garden has been. Now that I've worked out what does work and got the timing sorted, we rarely buy vegetables from the shops. Just the occasional bag of frozen corn cobs. There's not a huge amount to harvest each day but I easily get something even if it's just a strawberry and some parsley. Today's dinner vegetables were broad beans, carrots and the last of the snow peas. A couple of home-grown swedes where mashed with a store-bought sweet potato and that was sufficient for our family of 6. I think our garden could easily provide ample vegetables for a couple, perhaps even a family of four if I planned better.
We have to eat what's in season though, and that can get a bit boring. Peas, carrots and beans are popular because they are so easy to grow but we like a bit of variety so for the following year I am going to try growing things I've never eaten before, like choko, and stuff you can't buy in shops because it doesn't store well. This will also mean trying new recipes to use up the produce we grow. I'm planning to get my hands on a copy of Indira Naidoo's new book, 'Edible Balcony', because it contains recipes and ideas for using home-grown produce. Check out her foodie blog.
I also find Jackie French a great source of inspiration. I came across this great self-suffiency article by her today as I searched for ideas to expand growing space. I'm rapidly discovering that you can never have enough vegetable beds! One thing's for sure, I've been well and truly bitten by the gardening bug. When I woke up this morning my first thought was, "I forgot to put the netting back on the blueberries." Luckily the birds hadn't gotten to them because there are plenty almost ready to ripen to be added to muffins and stacked on to pancakes along with home-grown strawberries.