3 things growing my own food has taught me
1. Fruit and vegetables really are seasonal. You cannot grow a tomato in Victoria in July, therefore don’t eat a tomato in Victoria in July! Food tastes best and is at its most nutritional when it is grown locally and seasonally. Once you start growing food yourself you really appreciate and understand the seasons – and begin questioning where the supermarket gets it’s eggplants from in winter.
2. A carrot isn’t just a carrot. Once you start growing your own food, you realize the plethora of varieties of each fruit and vegetable that is available! Many you will have never even seen before, let alone tasted. The varieties in the supermarket are not picked for their flavour, but rather their suitability to commercialization (how well they transport, how long they keep, etc). There are so many exciting fruits and vegetables out there, and often the only way to access them is to grow your own! Search for heirloom seeds, like those available from The Diggers Club.
3. Organic food costs more for a reason. It takes more time and care to grow food without conventional pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers. Pests and disease are a real problem! Soil needs to be cared for using companion planting, crop rotation, green manures, composting, natural pest control, hand weeding, mulching and more. These techniques build a strong ecosystem, regenerating soil and growing nutritionally dense crops without chemicals, all while caring for the environment. When you start doing it yourself you appreciate all the effort!
Want to get growing yourself? If you are in a cool climate like me now is the time to grow brassicas such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and kale.