The pleasure you get from growing your own vegetables is simple – planting them, watching them grow, harvesting them and eating them.
Oh and if you will pardon the understatement I do believe there are gazillions of benefits to gardening as well. I wrote about five of my favourite benefits here.
I have just harvested some veg and salad and in my not-a-bit humble opinion, I believe I have managed to grow the tastiest onions, radish and lettuce in the west. ( I find the best way to maintain this inspiring belief is not to taste any of my friends harvest.)
Okay, so I might sound a little bit boastful, but what the hell, it’s been a hard year in my Galway garden, what with torrential rain and storms drowning both me my gardening plans for the first quarter of this year. The fact that I am actually getting something to eat from my sodden soil feels like a miracle, a very tasty, crunchy, miracle. Here’s what I got this week:
Read this and weep because my onions are eye-wateringly strong, with sweet crunchy stems; the radish are crisp and spicy, and the lettuce (my favourite Lollo Rosso) has lovely soft leaves with a delicate flavour to match.
I bought the onions as sets from a local garden centre and one thing I regret was not buying more – a lot more.
For some strange reason the sales assistant, who should have been called the no-sales assistant, convinced me she knew her onions and that the amount I was buying was more than enough for a family of two.
Of course, common sense should have told me that you can never have too many onions but she was better at not-selling than I was at not listening.
I should have remembered that onions keep for months very well and they tend to be used in most recipes as well as making a tasty addition to salads.
I love onions and I should have planted three times as many as I did, as I will be lucky to get the summer out of my one bed of onions.
There is hope though, as last week I managed to pick up another bag of onion sets. Most places are sold out but when I asked in one particular little shop the owner said the season was over. I was about to leave empty handed but he called me back, and gave me a brown paper bag containing all the onions he had left – for free! He said he didn’t think they’d grow and wished me good luck with them. But they looked, smelled and felt good to me. So I have a good feeling about these and I am going to plant them tomorrow.
I grew these lettuce from seed that I sowed directly into the ground and I think that the effort I put into improving my soil (mulching with seaweed and adding plenty of nettle tea over winter) has paid off because this year the Lollo Rosso grew very well. In fact they were a major improvement on last years lettuce crop. Actually that wouldn’t be hard as last years crop failed spectacularly well by not growing any bigger than 2 inches. – mind you they were a tasty 2 inches.
As for the radish I didn’t bother growing them last year but having learned how they can be used to space turnips and swedes – which I love I decided to throw some in for good measure.
In case you are reading this at some time in the future I should mention that I am writing this in July 2014 – the time of year I wish I had a doppelgänger, one that I could send around the garden doing all these tasks I never quite manage to get round to.
I expect all us gardeners feel the same. There are times when I am outside and I wish I could stretch the days, be stronger and work for longer.
Mind you I feel the same when I am writing fiction a lot of the time as well. So many things to do and not enough time to do it and do you know what? I like that – I really do.
I’m off now to make an onion, radish and lettuce sandwich. Best of luck with your gardening.
P.S. You are always welcome to say hello in the comments section. Why not let me know you are getting on in your garden? I love hearing from you. I really do.