I’ve always thought myself quite generous. I’d give my time doing a bit of voluntary work; I’d look for lost puppies and help the elderly across the road. I’d also do the odd bit of gardening for people, usually voluntarily again, be wary of finding a career you love, you could find yourself working just for the love of it.
I think my days of generosity are getting very limited in the vegetable patch. Once I would have planted surplus amounts of seed and young plants and then be inundated with such a vast surplus I would be walking up and down the street with my wheelbarrow full of so much produce I would be knocking on doors asking if anyone wanted a bag of courgettes or carrots. If I had any leftover I would throw them at people on the way home in the hope they would take them home and cook them up for their tea. Not anymore.
This year I think I have mastered the art of successive planting and limiting the amount of plants I propagate. I have stopped growing root vegetables altogether, apart from beetroot. I just eat the young fresh leaves of these plants and don’t bother with anything I can buy in the shops for 50cent a bag like carrots.
I do have some rogue potato plants but they are popping their heads out of the compost bin so I will leave those for a while to see what happens. Potato sales are down this year by over 8% apparently. The main reason for this is that they need preparing, so it’s not just me that doesn’t like peeling. It’s rice that is getting more popular, mainly because it’s straight out of the bag and goes well with our liking for curries. The other interesting fact is that the people interviewed in the research say they prefer rice because there is no “waste” They don’t have compost bins then with the looks of it.
Back to my vegetable saga
I have been in the very lucky position of having ‘just enough’ growing that I don’t feel the need to oil the wheelbarrow and load it up. It’s all quality produce that would cost a lot in the shops too. Every morning I harvest a large bag of salad for the day which consists of 5 types of lettuce, mustard, mange tout, spinach, beet leaves, coriander, spring onions, basil, sugar snap peas and pea tops, nasturtium leaves and any other herbs I see. The result of the ‘pick and come again’ method is miraculous for the garden; nothing is getting out of hand or growing too large. To me one of the beauties of growing your own is that you can eat the smallest, freshest produce and not have to wait until it’s grown as large as the main growers need to do to make money on them.
The broad beans are fantastic and last for ages on the plants so there’s no rush to eat all of them at one time. The runner beans and waxy French beans have just started and are being extremely well behaved too. I’m not sure if I will ever get a surplus this year. If I do then I might take up freezing the crop or making some sort of chutney.
I’m afraid this year, giving bags of veggies away is fourth on the list of ‘Things I can do with surplus stock’ I will just about live with the guilt.
Get Rich- Quick!
Here’s my latest ‘Get Rich Quick’ scheme. A Chamomile Lawn Empire. I bought some genuine non flowering plants from a grower earlier in the year and have been patiently taking cuttings to increase my stock ready for selling them on E-Bay. These Chamomile plants are related to the variety produced In the 1930s by Dorothy Sewart who lived in in Cornwall. Her garden chamomile spread to form a low growing plant which never flowered. It formed a fragrant, neat, rich green lawn which did not turn brown in dry weather. I have a nice big patch growing and it’s lovely to walk on I must say. I’m not sure if it will catch on or not and I am not sure they will be as successful as the terracotta pots last year. I might end up just giving the plants away which might help to restore my impression of being generous with plants so it won’t all be for nothing.
Check out the stock on EBay... type in 'chamomile lawn'.....