Saturday, 6 June 2009

supporting local gardening

San Marzano tomatoes
grown from seed

Cucumbers seedlings

When I first started gardening in England, about ten years ago, it was next to impossible to pick up vegetable plants from market stalls or even the garden centre. How things have changed.

Back then you had to grow everything from seed and grow a few spares just in case. This, of course, is not a problem. Most vegetables are quite easily grown from seed. With a sunny window sill or grow house any would-be 'grow your own' gardener will happily pack their veg patch.

This year however, was a little different for me. My baby daughter had other ideas on how Daddy should spend his time! While I did grow some vegetables from seed, and potatoes were planted, my stocks were down. Fortunately a mate gave me lots of plants (courgettes, chillies and tomatoes) in spring. Equally fortunate was how vegetable gardening has changed in England since 10 years ago. Any market I've been to in the last month has had numerous stalls selling all kinds of veg ready for the veg plot. Even today I picked up a couple of cucumbers from the gardening club stall at a local fate. I didn't need another two cucumbers but chatting with the garden club folk you realise how important it is to support these groups.

What of the future? I've decided not to grow everything from seed next year. I'll grow those vegetable varieties that are difficult to pick up later and leave the common stuff to the garden clubs and charities to raise for me. A small way to give a little back and support local gardening.