Lifestyle, Parenting

Green fingers

April 3, 2013 | 10 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m getting a vegetable garden! It’s not often that I start off a post with a sentence that includes an exclamation mark, so you can guess just how excited I am. I’ve been wanting to grow my own veggies for a long time and now that we’ve moved into a bigger spot, I’m finally getting myself organised.

I wouldn’t want to imply that I’m doing it all myself though…instead I’m doing what all sane people with talented friends do, I’m recruiting an expert. What’s great about getting older is that you start to gather friends who all do very interesting (and useful) jobs. Some of them I hope to call on less than others (my lawyer friends for instance), but it’s still great to have friends with a variety of skills and talents.

So my clever friend is advising me on the best veg to plant in Autumn/Winter, which include delicious things like baby spinach, leeks, garlic, cauliflower, carrots, beans, edible flowers and herbs. I can already see my soup pot bubbling over with homegrown goodness! She’s also going to come and check that the soil is the right quality and dig trenches so the plants are positioned correctly. Then I’m going to take it from there! Have been given a great book by my brother for Christmas (Jane’s Delicious Garden), so hopefully that can advise me on what to do when.

I’m a farmer’s daughter after all, so I’m hoping I inherited some green fingers from both my father and my mother, who was a passionate gardener. I think sometimes that hobbies like gardening are a dying activity amongst my generation, because everything has always been so instantly accessible to us. Feel like a strawberry in mid-Winter? The shops will have it. We eat lazily and out of season, so the less “popular” vegetables and fruits sometimes don’t even get a look in when it comes to our grocery bags, which is a shame.

I have such wonderful memories of spending time in the garden on the farm with my grandmother and mother and hope this is something I can pass on to my kids. My Grandma used to allow us to pick one carrot a day to munch on and I remember trying to pick the biggest one by judging how big its leaves above ground were (this never worked!). I remember the excitement of pulling the bright orange carrot out of the ground, the thrill of scrubbing the soil off as we ran it under a tap and then the sharp crack as I bit into its delicious sweetness.

I also got given a tiny patch of ground to grow my own things in and I remember the handpainted wooden sign my father made that said “Belinda’s Garden” on it. I remember patches of white, pink and purple sweet peas trailing up the sign and to this day, their incredible smell takes me right back to my childhood.

There’s something about the values associated with gardening (patience, hard work, diligence, love of the outdoors) that I want to instil in my children and I hope this veggie garden helps do that. I also hope it helps me get more healthy stuff inside my toddler’s tummy (who at the moment only eats biscuits and yoghurt), if she sees and shares in the excitement of growing our own food.

Wish me luck and watch this space for updates and photos…

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  • Reply Keeping Up With The Holsbys April 3, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I have a vege patch and I love it.
    I always wanted to show my kids where food comes from so as soon as we moved to a house I (meaning my dad) built a vegetable patch.
    I have not a green thumb, but I have enthusiasm. The rest we work out as we go along!

  • Reply belindamountain April 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Good to find another gardening enthusiast! Thanks for your feedback.

  • Reply margot April 3, 2013 at 10:20 am

    Hi – this is exactly what I want to start doing but I need an expert to get me started, just like you. I’m in Joburg – I don’t suppose you know of anyone?

    • Reply belindamountain April 3, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Hi Margot, the friend (in JHB) that is helping me may begin offering her advice and “veg start-up” services as a new business. Am just checking with her whether she’s happy to supply her details or whether she knows of anyone else suitable (in the meantime while she gets going). Will let you know.

      • Reply Margot April 3, 2013 at 11:22 am

        Brilliant! I want to be her first client! PLease feel free to pass on my details anyway – And thank you!

  • Reply belindamountain April 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Hey Margot – just emailed you her details…let me know how it goes!

  • Reply Jane Griffiths November 17, 2013 at 12:00 am

    This was a post worth starting with a question mark! I hope my book helps you on your gardening journey.
    Happy growing . . .

    • Reply belindamountain November 17, 2013 at 7:59 am

      Wow Jane- thanks for visting! Am finding your book invaluable…watch this space for a veggie garden update!

    Let me know what you think!