It’s a good year to introduce you to our kitchen garden.  This year will be its fourth season and we grow a lot of perennials and trees that are only just starting to hit their stride.  We are largely weekend gardeners, although there’s nothing nicer on a weekday summer evening than watering the vegetables.  We probably qualify as organic gardeners, unless using iron sulphate and lime to change soil ph discounts that.  We’re aiming to keep ourselves in fruit and vegetables all year round and getting closer to that goal, although there’s far more we have yet to try.

Once upon a time I wanted a proper smallholding.  As a child I haunted the Self Sufficiency section of the library.  I didn’t play Doctors and Nurses; I played Farmers.  But as an adult there were other careers to pursue, and economics dictated that we lived in small apartments or terraces with limited growing space.   We had an allotment of sorts for a while, and grew things at home in pots.

Decades on, we’ve finally moved to a small town in the south of England and got a large suburban garden.  Naturally, we’ve devoted the garden to growing food – it’s a no-brainer when one is obsessed with sustainability and good food. 

Not all of the food is for humans actually, but almost everything is planted either for us, for the insects, or for the birds.  I say almost everything, because I couldn’t resist some ruffled roses.  I did consider having chickens, but in truth we don’t eat many eggs.  I’ve wondered about raising rabbits to eat, but I don’t think that’s allowed, so for now we’re focussing on the plant food.      

There are four large vegetable beds for rotation, four smaller beds for perennials, a lot of fruit and nut trees (which I have grandly dubbed the orchard), a decent amount of soft fruit and some ‘wild’ patches.  Because it’s a big garden we also have a lawn for the teenager.   Right now we’re only harvesting kale, spinach and Brussels sprouts, but it’s the middle of winter so that’s not surprising.  Stay tuned.

Text and Images (C) Claire @theslowfix A slow food devotee, Claire is constantly searching for new ways to enable us all to live sustainably.

The Slow Food blog welcomes contributions on the topics of Food, Farming and Agriculture. The contents may not entirely match the views of Slow Food, but reflect the journeys of the authors. To write for us please click here