In our previous house my husband and I (o.k mostly my husband), managed to create a pretty impressive vegetable patch. I have a real love of food and used to get such satisfaction from knowing that at least some of what I served up in the kitchen had come straight from our garden. There's also that wholesome feeling that comes from being even two percent self-sufficient, maybe it's a primal thing?! However that was pre kids..or at least pre, school run, after school clubs, homework to be done and friends' birthday parties to be attended kinda kids. We had a lot more time to dedicate to tending vines, lovingly watering courgettes or patiently "chitting" potatoes...(that is actually a thing)! Still, after a house move and a couple of years out of the "grow your own" game (or in it, if that includes "grow your own kids") we have finally been sent a letter securing an allotment plot! It's a big undertaking but we are keeping our expectations realistic...if we can grow some garlics, potatoes, salads and tomatoes I'll be a very happy lady!
If there are kids in the house, growing your own veggies or fruit is such a fantastic experience. Even if its a few herbs in a window box, my kids love learning the names of each plant and when they help me with cooking they like to smell the herbs and guess which one I'm using. At a time when climate change is such a big focus, and we seem to be living "alongside" nature rather than "in it", teaching kids where food comes from, seasonality and getting them to appreciate nature and all it has to offer really is so important. For picky eaters it's also a great way to reintroduce a dreaded vegetable. Nine times out of then, once they know they have grown or picked it themselves they'll find it hard to resist having at least a little taste!
The next big step in our "grow your own" journey, apart from establishing our allotment will be... wait for it... chickens! When we visit my sister place in Italy, my daughters run straight to Verna and Margherita's pen to take these jolly little hens out. They carry Verna and Margherita around the garden (I am assured they can tell the difference between the two) , watch them patiently to see if they'll lay any eggs and generally dote on their feathery friends throughout our stay. The girls have been asking us for hens for what feels like years now so we're finally caving in and hoping to get some in the new year! Any tips would be most welcome! So...lets see how this goes...between the allotment and a couple of hens (The girls have decided on Rosie and Lily), I'm hoping we'll soon get back to enjoying a little slice of "The Good Life."
Photo credits: author's own and Vanessa MVH Photography.