Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Kitchen Garden

I have fond childhood memories of helping my Dad & Grandpa tending the HUGE vegetable garden at my Nanna & Pa's. My Mums Dad always had veggies & fruit trees growing as well, and both my parents and Craig's have grown veggies over the years.

As a child I experienced the crunchiness of apples picked straight from the tree. Knew the deliciousness of a tomato, eaten straight from the vine, and savoured the way its scent lingered on my hands even after the delicious warm flesh had been eaten. Ive picked a lemon and bitten into it, its sourness stinging my tongue as much as the squirts of juice stung my eyes. Ive collected walnuts, and layed them on the racks to dry, and spent many a day cracking them open with stones, or by throwing them hard on the concrete. Ive pulled carrots from the ground, and been treated being allowed to eat the tiny ones as the beds were thinned. Ive collected the eggs, still warm from being layed, and thrown kitchen scraps to the chooks. I devoured the sweet delicate flavour of a fresh ear of corn, dripping in butter, and the inevitable burnt mouth from not being able to wait for it to cool before trying to eat it.

I have so many happy memories of ordinary everyday meals, shared with family, the table laden with food that was harvested only hours ago. Of the aroma of sauce permeating everything in the house after the tomatoes sat bubbling away for hours to make sauce. Of the sweet taste of peaches and apricots over winter from the preserving jars that lined the pantry shelves. Of running down the back to pick a bunch of mint for Mum to make mint sauce to go with the roast lamb, or chives to mix through sour cream to top some webbered potatoes. I also hold some not so fond memories of the broad beans we would be served by Pa G during our weekly meals together, grown with love I'm sure, but a taste for which I have never acquired, they were tolerated only by being smothered in the most delicious gravy, made in the roasting pan from the meat juices thickened with flour.

These are all the sorts of things that I want my kids to experience. The memories I want to be able to create for them. Our garden will never be on the scale of those of my grandparents. I doubt my kids will ever have the joy of raising backyard chickens. Our garden will be created our way, in our time, and in the space we have available to us. We will create our own memories

I have yearned for a real veggie garden. Something filled with all the things we love to eat. Over the years I have had various herbs and vegetables growing in pots, and in a small bed (which was removed a couple of years ago to make way for a storage shed!). I loved the idea of a raised garden bed. Something the kids could help tend, but not walk (or ride) straight over! I was going to get one of the timber framed beds, but Craig wasn't that keen on them. One day he arrived home with this corrugated garden bed.

I was stoked! We choose a spot for it,

filled it with soil,

and finally got the seedlings we bought the week before planted in the ground.

The kids have helped water everyday.

Isaac has been planning this garden for a while - here is his wish list of things to plant that we made about a month ago.

We pretty much have everything on his list planted. We currently have tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bunny ball carrots, dwarf snow peas, green, red & yellow capsicums.

After a quick pot raid at Grandma & Grandpa's we added some pots of strawberries and some chives this morning.

We still need to find somewhere to plant Isaac's radish seeds, some repeat harvest lettuces, baby spinach, and a few more herbs. We also have a mushroom farm around somewhere, I must get it out and see if it will still grow!

I cant wait until it is all ready for harvesting - just in time for lots of delicious summer salads. There is nothing in the world like the flavour of home grown produce...especially tomatoes fresh from the vine!


Car said...

Yum! I seem to be saying the same about all your posts today ;) I wanted one of those raised beds, but got talked into a timber framed instead... Now to add the soil!