My splurge for 2013/2014 was an organic garden. I’ve wanted a working vegetable garden for roughly 20 years but I have always lived in an apartment. Now, encouraged by having 3 children, we finally moved into a house with a garden – clad in Astroturf. Not my choice but as it’s a rental that is how it will remain. A few months ago, I received a flyer from Garden Ambrosia for an organic garden scheme. It pictured a family with broad smiles and misshapen vegetables.
I went for it. A friend of mine derided me openly. “What? You are going to pay someone to do it?”
Yes, I am paying someone to do it. I’ve wastefully blundered through attempts at balcony container gardening for ages. Buying books. Lugging 20 liter bags of soil through the house. Managing only to grow a handful of strawberries (usually picked off by the birds) and some tomatoes with inedible skin.
It turned out the happy family on the brochure belonged to Derwent whom I invited to scope out the garden. Despite our garden being large, the only suitable sunny spot we could find was the gravel driveway (I had also always dreamed of a gravel driveway arrivals and departures accompanied by a crunch crunch crunch noise). Some of it was sacrificed (reversing into it is now a lip biting experience). As the soil was poor, Derwent set about constructing a raised bed and bringing the soil, the manure and the ah – volcanic ash – to me. He told me that a healthy plant needs 98 elements (or was it 89? Everything went blank when he mentioned the periodic table) and volcanic ash is just the ticket.
When I complained that the slugs were turning my lettuces into green doilies he retorted that bugs taking up to 10% of a crop is fair and that the plants are healthy enough to take it. When the beetroot was ready to harvest, he cautioned me against throwing away the leaves and so we prepared them as the Greeks do, with garlic, olive oil and lemon. It was delicious. We have learned to eat plants nose to tail so to speak – whenever possible Read more of this post