Plant what you eat

Heavy rain overnight, and it’s still pouring down. It’s coming down the coast from a tropical cyclone. My allotment is a ten minute drive away but I swear I can hear those sweet potatoes swelling up in the ground even this far away!

I am SO tempted to go over there and plant a few Bok Choy seeds. I reckon with our hot weather, and this rain, they’ll be growing like topsy. But that is not what I wanted to write about  ……

♦ ♦  ♦

It’s seed catalogue time. In all the excitement, remember to PLANT WHAT YOU EAT!

Seems to me that both ends of the globe us gardeners are looking at our seed catalogues.  I follow a number of allotment blogs from the UK. Allotments are a way of life in old Blighty and I enjoy reading about it as that is where I grew up.  At the moment they are experiencing heavy snow so now is the time to drink a hot toddy and get out the catalogues. Here in Brisbane I’m doing the same thing but in my case it’s an ice cold drink and the Green Harvest Organic Gardening catalogue.

So, in a nutshell, this is the time to plan what you will be growing, and eating, this year.

The question I’m asking myself as I look at this seed catalogue is “what do I really want to eat?”.

As gardeners we put so much energy into growing our veggies that I believe it makes sense to grow what you know will be eaten gleefully rather than “what do I do with this now I’ve grown it?”.

I have grown a wide variety of veggies in my little allotment since I took it over two years ago. Some of it ‘strange stuff’.  Sub-tropical veggies that I had never grown before I emigrated to Queensland came to me thanks to tiny seedlings donated by friends with a glut of seedlings.

(Is there anyone reading this who hasn’t been carried away with the contents of a seed packet?  The agony of a glut of seedlings can only be eased by giving them to a good home, i.e. another allotment holder.)

I am grateful for the opportunity to try new veggies, and for the kindness with which they were given.

However, I have been sitting here thinking “what do I want sitting on my dinner plate?”

After much pondering I have come to the conclusion that I have a very boring palate. Might be because I grew up as a ‘war baby’. WWII – not the Boar war! So I will be growing veggies that I know I’ll be eating.  Carrots, beans, potatoes, silver beet, parsley and kale which I can’t get enough of and beets for pickling. The sweet potatoes are already in the ground and I’ll be eating them with everything!

I can’t wait to get started.

I’d love to hear what you will all be growing this year.

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16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. allotment21
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 09:31:51

    You are absolutely right Jean – I have talked to “she who must be obeyed” about what to grow and then I will add in a few unusuals just for fun – at the moment liquorice is high on the list – I am not too far from Pontefract in Yorkshire the home of British liquorice (even though I am over the Lancashire border) so I will give that try and keep you posted. Once again, glad you have got some rain.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:24:03

      How sensible of you to consider “she who must be obeyed”. Makes for much harmony.
      My allotment neighbour had great success with his sweet potatoes, he was generous with them too which was very kind. However, the day he dug them all up he ended up with three big bags of these sweet potatoes. “What will you do with them?” says I. “Taking them home to the wife”. Says he. I am just sorry I couldn’t see her face when confronted with the sweet potato mountain.
      Liquorice – you have got my attention now. How interesting.
      Incidentally, I have happy memories of living at Bolton for twelve months many years ago. I loved living ‘up north’.

      Reply

  2. MrsYub
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 10:58:03

    Yessss, that’s about it isn’t it? I’ve had various things grow like blazers, and then scratch my head wondering what to do with them, lol! But I found a nice use for parsnips and giant mustard greens, and I just plant less radish, so she’ll be right lol!!

    Reply

  3. Maria
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 12:36:09

    That’s a nice variety there that you’re planting, Jean. As well as my sweet potatoes, I’ve put in some potatoes (Colin Campbell always said Brisbanites could grow them all year round), still have tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums from last season and I’m going to plant some more cherry tomato seeds. Maybe some Asian greens might go in as well 🙂

    Reply

  4. narf77
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 13:22:50

    I completely agree Jean…why would you plant something that you didn’t want to eat?! Watering something that you weren’t particularly fond of seems to me to be as daft as hitting yourself on the head with a wooden spoon! We only grow what we, or my daughters will eat and I particularly dislike those leafy Asian veggies…not my cup of tea at ALL! I love substance over fluff and silverbeet, spinach, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, corn, beans, peas etc. all reward you with something to put on your plate…no slimy okra for me! I don’t CARE if it is drought tolerant and has a lovely flower…No bok choy, choy sum, etc. either… the longer you grow veggies the more you can fine tune what you want to eat and can adventure into the varieties of foodstuffs that you actually want on your plate. I am going to buy some alpine strawberry seed as I tried some in a local community garden and they were splendiferous! There are no superlatives too good for Alpine strawberries! I am still in the infancy of our veggie garden and everything is exciting so I keep having to stop myself from going nuts with weird things that we most probably won’t eat. I bought a perennial spinach plant that is going off the wall and straight up (like a triffid with tiny white flowers) that has very succulent leaves. I quite like it but it is restricted to salads as otherwise it turns into something closely resembling okar…YUK! Rabid Little Hippy just told me about this site… http://www.gardenate.com/ and I am going to have a squiz as soon as I finish this comment. Next step, finding a seed company that I can get my desired paramours from! Wish me luck Jeany, I am probably going to need it! 🙂

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:22:35

      No okra for me either Fran. Slimy.
      I have tried experimental veggies when good allotment neighbours have given me surplus seedlings and it’s one way to try new veggies. I love Alpine strawberries but I have noticed that any tempting red strawberries growing around the allotments get picked by anybody and everybody, and they are not all children, some folk should know better. It’s as if a bright red strawberry is fair game!

      Reply

      • narf77
        Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:31:36

        Maybe painting small stones to look like strawberries will stop both the birds AND the human preditors? 😉 (dentists are SOOO expensive! 😉 )

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:45:37

      Ha Ha. Strawberry stones, bound to be a deterrent.

      Reply

      • narf77
        Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:53:28

        And even if the birds/slugs/snails/human preditors have scoffed the lot…you still get to see little bright red “strawberries” (albeit fake) dotted over your plants…sometimes the look of something is almost as satisfying as the taste 🙂

  5. notjustgreenfingers
    Jan 26, 2013 @ 08:01:38

    I agree, grow what you like to eat. I have been trying all sorts of new things over the last year or two, but I find I always go back to growing the usual things that we like to eat. It’s good to experiment but I also like to challenge myself to grow the ‘usual’ things better.

    You have reminded me, I must find a nice soup recipe to try for the four shark fin melons that stare at me everytime I go upstairs lol

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jan 27, 2013 @ 06:27:07

      Shark fin melons – now that’s a new one on me.
      I thought it might be rather obvious that you grow what you eat. Makes sense eh? But it is very tempting to grow what you know is perfect for the climate. I tried a tropical bean last year which grew like Topsy but then found I wasn’t particularly keen on it. But you have to try these things I suppose, and I was able to give lots away.

      Reply

  6. Live and Learn-Toss and Turn
    Jan 27, 2013 @ 04:47:47

    I’m lucky. My brother-in-law loves to garden, but doesn’t like many vegetables, so he grows what I like to eat. This includes blueberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. However, when I try to grow things, it seems like I plant what the deer, rabbits, and ground hogs like to eat.

    Reply

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