It seems like a blink-of-an-eye ago that I was trying to decide where to plant my tomatoes and chilli peppers. “Get the sun in them girl”, my neighbour said and I plumped for an all day, full-on sun position – not that we’ve seen much of that this year, but anyway…
Now, the summer veggies are on their last legs and the pumpkins are juicing up, ready to be turned into soup and lanterns for night time adventures on Halloween and the 5th November.
I’m no Charlie Dimmock; I’m an expert novice and very comfortable with that status. Since my major downshift in 2002, with varying degrees each year, I’ve tried to plant and/or rear as much food as I had time to, for my lovely family. Adopting this approach has helped with our finances, our collective health, my general level of chill and it has a minimal impact on our rubbish bin too.
The prospect of creating a kitchen garden always daunted me and I thought you probably needed a stack of good books, a kneeling mat, shiny tools with rubber handles, wellies and thick socks and more for it all to come good. Now I realise, you need nothing more than a willingness to learn, a little time and the spirit of adventure.
It’s amazing when your food goes from the garden to your fork in less than five minutes, not to mention the many taste benefits there are with it being organic and top that off with the fact that you haven’t had to drive anywhere to buy it; it’s a win, win situation.
There’s also a wonderful feeling that floods through you when you break the myth that ‘All food comes from the shops’. Taking a little self-sufficiency by the horns makes me feel like a right Earth Mother some days, especially when there’s so much food we have to give it away to friends and neighbours.
The delightful backlash from that of course, is that you often acquire a slice of their abundance too and it’s even better when it’s a crop you haven’t got on the go.
If you fancy seeing how your garden could grow in 2009, this is the ideal time to prepare with some rotten organic manure turned into the soil ready for the spring. You don’t need a great deal of space to cultivate a few bits. If size is an issue, consider growing a few herbs like basil, chives, or mint on the windowsill. Or do a few hanging baskets or planters with tasty mini-vegetables, like chillies and cherry toms.
The choice of easy-grow fruit and veg is endless and I suggest you start with something you love seeing on the plate; it’s a great motivation!
PS: For details of Seed Exchanges in your area and so much more besides, hop onto one of my favourite places, www.SelfSufficientish.com, join the forum and dive right into the topic!
If you fancy getting a bit more adventurous, check out the top tips from the BBC.
For a magazine to help you on your way, try the Kitchen Garden.
For an expert guidance on how to plan an organic vegetable garden, take a look at the Garden Organic courses.