Monthly Archives: June 2009

To have earth under foot and fingernails

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Peeled carrot, yam and apple

Peeled apple, sweet potato and carrot

I am constantly disappointed with the quality of the ‘fresh’ produce available in many supermarkets and local shops. Unless you buy organic straight from the farm, like Riverford or Abel & Cole box schemes delivered to your home, you are at the mercy of bland, ripened-in-storage fruit or vegetable that is often about to expire even before they even put it on the shelf (Sainsbury’s). 

 

Some days I just long to be able to grow my own and come Spring each year, I enviously eye out the allotments in my area, knowing that the waiting lists are long and that chances of getting my paws on one are pretty slim. Yesterday I was eyeing out my neighbour’s tomato and capsicum plants which have trebled in size almost overnight, and wish I had more time to have potted a few plants like those. But seeing as I’m still adjusting to life with baby, I celebrate when I get a chance to mow the lawn or rake up leaves, and getting to scamper around in potting soil is a dream.

When I was growing up, I took for granted the bounty of fruit and veg available in my family’s oversized back garden, at one stage also filled with foul ( chickens, ducks, turkey, geese) and not just mango, banana, avocado, lychee, orange, lemon, guava, satsuma trees. We also had sugar cane, passion fruit, chilli, curry leaf, a variety of herbs and beans and gourd, mustard seed, aubergine, carrot, radish, wild garlic and mushroom… And all of it what is now called organic. Those were the days.

I think I have a gardener’s instinct to care for and nuture plants. And I’d like to think I have green fingers, even if all my indoor pot plants, including a much-prized bonsai tree, have slowly passed on in our current flat. I blame it on poor ventilation and damp. We are moving again soon, hopefully the air is better in a new place.

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