Home Grown Veggies

The Covid 19 Pandemic has thrown us a number of challenges this year: working and learning online, managing our social distance and learning new ways of doing things. Unfortunately it also gave birth to some degree of fear and anxiety which was demonstrated in the panic buying and hoarding of basic pantry items and especially, of all things, toilet paper. But in a strange kind of silver lining, the fear of reduced supplies has encouraged people to be a lot more DIY. Agricultural suppliers experienced a high demand for chickens while garden centres were also inundated with a high demand for vegetable seedling and seeds. I did wonder at the time whether people really knew how long it takes before tiny chickens start laying eggs and vegetable seeds produce crops. Be that as it may, it is great that people have been encouraged to get outside, be active and more self-sufficient.

After being in rentals for a few years it has been nice for us to finally have chickens again. Bec has always loved having chickens and while her little Pekins were very cute, they were a bit sporadic when it came to laying eggs. Now we have four Silver-pencilled Wyandottes  and they are very good layers. In fact, they are laying so many eggs, we are often struggling to keep up with their supply. There are only so many times you can have quiche in one week.

It is also nice to have a proper veggie patch again. Wherever we have lived, we have enjoyed growing some of our own vegetables. Even when we were renting we managed to grow a few things in pots. Cherry tomatoes, capsicums and herbs are perfect for growing in pots in small backyards.

There are a number of benefits to growing your own vegetables. First of all, veggies straight from the garden are more nutritious. Supermarket produce often has to be transported long distances, so it often has to be picked while it is still green or it is kept in cold storage for some time before making it to the shelf. You can never be quite sure how long something has been sitting on the shelf.

Growing your own veggies also gives plenty of opportunity for some exercise out in the fresh air. Not only does it improve your strength, flexibility and cardiac health, it also helps to decrease stress and anxiety. While you are pulling those weeds and caring for your little seedlings, you are also taking care of your mental health and getting a good dose of vitamin D at the same time.

A backyard veggie patch is also better for the environment. Carrying your home grown veggies from the garden to the kitchen doesn’t require any fossil fuels, unlike the produce that is transported over long distances. Home gardeners are also more likely to favour organic gardening which reduces the amount of chemicals being put into the environment. So growing our own food is one way that we can make a contribution to the challenge of climate change. You can read more about the benefits of growing your own veggies here.

One of the downsides of growing your own though, is the tendency to have a boom or bust, especially when your husband seems to like planting for the neighbourhood. At first, we were picking snow peas by the handful. Then we progressed to a basket. Eventually we had to resort to a bucket. Much as we like snow peas, we really didn’t relish eating them for breakfast, lunch and tea. 

At first it was quite exciting to eat our own snow peas. But it wasn’t long until the excitement turned to groans of – snow peas again! Even the chooks got sick of them after a while. We are now having the same problem with beans. I wish that snow peas and beans could swap growing seasons. Snow peas seem much better suited to summer eating, in salads and stir-frys, while beans seem more suited to winter. Perhaps that’s one for the plant breeders.

We have also started picking tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, a handful of strawberries and we’ve had our first butternut pumpkin. Paul grew a crop of giant sized onions – truly the biggest onions I have ever seen. One onion lasts about four meals!  With the amount of tomatoes we have been picking, I’ll finally be able to make sauce again. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to do that. I might even try some pasta sauce too. Fortunately there haven’t been too many bugs yet. We prefer to take a live and let live approach, to a certain extent. But if we have to use some kind of pest control, we like to use a natural or biological option if we can. 

In the lead up to Christmas the fresh bounty from our veggie patch will come in very handy. For those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere, we are more familiar with a blistering Christmas heatwave than a picturesque white Christmas, however celebrating Christmas in Summer does have its advantages. On a hot sultry Christmas Day, there is nothing better than a fresh tomato and cucumber salad straight from the backyard. And you don’t need to queue up at the supermarket to get it either.

Wherever you live, city or country, apartment or 1/4 acre block, it is possible to grow a little of your own food, enjoy some fresh air and help the environment while having fun at the same time.

Happy Gardening

4 thoughts on “Home Grown Veggies

    • Thanks Carolee, I guess for us it is difficult to imagine a white Christmas. Australia gets very little snow in Winter (June-August), so Christmas for us often means the beach or the pool, and trying to keep everything cool. The Wyandottes are very cute and full of personality and are definitely earning their keep. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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