So, we did all the hard work a few months ago, planting our kitchen garden and now we are beginning to reap the rewards of growing our own veg! Here’s how we did it! The great thing with this whole project has been the enthusiasm of the kids (mostly K) to water, weed and protect our crops. In fact, I’ve been grateful for the rain this week, to keep everything going while she’s been away on her year 6 residential trip! If you can enthuse the kids then ‘growing your own’ becomes so much easier!
The warm weather has certainly done its work and we’ve already picked and eaten bok choy, chard and strawberries. The herbs are getting to a stage where we need to keep picking them before they take over, so we seem to be adding them to all sorts of dishes! Planting this herb basket was really simple and easy to do with the kids, it was our first ‘grow your own’ project that we attempted, with great results! This is what we did.
The softer herbs are great for livening up salads, sauces, egg mayo sandwiches or adding to mince meat for burgers or meatballs. While the sage, rosemary and thyme are great for stews, roasting and BBQs. Rosemary twigs make the perfect skewers for diced lamb, just strip the leaves (for use in something else) off the main part of the stem, skewer on the meat and baste with your favourite marinade, before cooking on the BBQ!
The single strawberry plant has been extremely prolific with virtually no effort! I would highly recommend growing wild strawberries over the normal ones, if you are short of space. We’ve had nearly 20 strawberries from this one plant already and it just keeps on producing.
The fruits are small but pack a punch of flavour that the children describe as ‘strawberry sweets’, they are delicious and as you can’t buy them in the shops, they are the perfect variety to grow at home.
Our French beans are twirling, up those canes! Can you spot the difference in the two varieties we chose? Not only will the beans be purple, so are the stems, making it really easy to tell them apart and compare. We weren’t quick enough with our slug and snail pellets and they feasted on a couple of seedlings, but luckily there was still time to plant a few more and they seem to be catching up.
The two bush tomatoes are thriving and have also needed little attention, apart from watering. There’s no need to pinch out shoots or support the plant in any way so it’s the perfect way to grow your own tomatoes if you are short on time. We have plenty of green fruits forming but once they start turning red, I’m not sure how many will make it all the way to the kitchen table!!
But have we achieved our goal of getting the kids to try new things? Well, K has taken to putting fresh mint into her water bottle (very la-di-da!) and whenever the kids go out to inspect their crops, they come back chewing chives! They thought it was very exciting to be able to pick something and eat it straight away and so tasting all the herbs in their raw form was something they were very keen to do (despite me suggesting that some may not taste too good!!)- even The Boy (fussy eater extraordinaire!!) tried them all. They all tried the chard and bok choy after helping to pick and prepare it but weren’t all that keen on the taste. Generally, they seem to prefer green leafy salads rather than cooked greens, so I think we’ll plant some rocket and spinach in our containers, next.
Do you grow your own? Have you enjoyed some home grown, garden produce, yet this year? Which varieties have worked best for you? Have you any suggestions on what else we could grow in our limited space?