We’ve grown our own food on and off before – but last year we completely missed the boat and being so pregnant didn’t make for a very able farmer – so this year we’re ready. The grow our own revolution is happening in our house [and garden].
It’s only January and there isn’t a great deal of sowing to do yet, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t preparation ahead though.
It was simple to decide what to grow this year. – pretty much anything that the boys love. Sweetcorn, peas, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries and peppers. This year we’re also building our very own, most sincere pumpkin patch in honour of our late furkids, Casanova and Excalibur. We grew pumpkins a few years ago when Jensen Indiana was just a year old and he loved them, although they took over far too much of the garden where Cass and Xcally needed to roam.
The seeds we’re using are from the huge pumpkin that Baby Hero sat in this past Hallowe’en, that we dried in readiness. It will be a garden of memories, with a little white fence, built on the muddy hill where the boys [huskies] loved to bask in the sunshine.
We’re also adding some nature stations to our garden – but not just because we love bugs, although our mini beast hunts will be more exciting [read: terrifying] because of them! We unearthed [ha ha] a little known secret that ladybirds love to live near pea plants. They adore them. We found out this quite by accident two years ago, visiting the farm near our home and finding thousands of them, everywhere we looked in the pea fields. It was like a beautiful plague, if there’s such a thing. Shamefully we kidnapped a few spotted friends for our hibiscus which was in need of rescuing, but don’t tell anyone.
So, this is the plan. We plant the peas and the tomatoes near to each other. We place the ladybird hotel on the tree nearest the peas – and hey, presto, we have pest control for the tomatoes in the form of tiny, red, dotted soldiers. The little ladybugs will hoover up the aphids and keep our juicy tomatoes safe.
This morning, supplies at the ready, we bundled up and headed out into the Winter sunshine.
After a few minutes, we found a wriggly friend. I felt bad for him as soon as I saw him squirming by my foot. Unlike the fate of other worms I’ve known, who have been carried around non stop for an hour or more, they decided to give him a cosy home in their propagator for a while and let him play with their new compost.
Anyhow, we have more plans, too! Every year the huge [indestructible] buddleia [the one I hacked down in my underwear last Summer just after giving birth] draws precious butterflies to our garden, but we need more honeybee help this year with pollenating our food and so we’re planting a wildflower garden too, by freely scattering wildflower seeds wherever we see open soil. Think Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, with big bags of flower seed.
What’s fantastic about growing your own food is that it’s so much fun for the whole family – everyone can get involved. Let’s face it – there’s mud, water, bugs, snails, things to eat [please, not the snails] – it’s boy paradise. They’re truly so much more likely to eat the vegetables that they’ve grown – and in their raw state, too. I love that there are no unknown chemicals being sprayed on or pumped into their food, our waste is cut down because we only pick what we need, and most importantly, my boys really understand where their food comes from, and what it takes to provide for themselves.
We’ve done it before, we can do it again. Bigger, better – and make a real difference to our household budget. This year we’re resolved to make it work. This is our year – grab your wellies and join us!