Growing Vegetables

Last year when we acquired our new house on the last day of August I think, we spent the spring moving plants and doing lots of gardening. We had a visit from hubby's parents who brought along with them some loganberries and raspberries. We started a garden for the loganberries at the back of the carport where the fence is, so if worst comes to worst we could just hook up a string for them. We made a bed, and put the raspberries in a row next.

At some point we ran into trouble coming up against a lump of concrete that we think is actually the foundation of a windmill or tank stand or something. Later we are going to find out if there can be water drawn from this place. Our bed didn't get finished. But, our second son watered the berries all summer and we know we want to extend this fence all the way to the back gate which is in the other corner.

However, the jam melons came in the soil, and were where the watering system was and they grew very well. Some tomatoes and pumpkins came up by themselves and we were able to ate those, and it did help.

We have an argument of sorts in this house, about the value of growing vegetables. I know with the price of water, that it hardly makes up for the vegetables we grow. I am not sure how many vegetables you would have to grow to make up for this price. Gardens are not just the price of seeds these days.

However, this could be the case if you use a community garden. If we stay in this house, I think we would have to take advantage of the community garden.

I still will grow vegetables though, because we pay for the water because we enjoy flowers so much and water those. So it is not about saving money really, though on some paydays it certainly helps a lot. That was the case with the pumpkins and tomatoes I mentioned. It was nice to be able to use them. Sometimes gifted vegies work the same way.

Both gifts and homegrown alike are to me something very vital to our children though.

When my husband was put out of work during a restructure in the corporate world, they have lectures on being able to manage afterwards. The word "change management" comes up. I very much believe in being able to manage change, and being independent. Though, that is probably because my husband is doing a lot of the work. But in this partnership we are in, I believe very much in being independent and not being part of an institution or a case to be managed. Just think of all the retro institutions and think of the modern equivalent of those, even though they are well hidden.

I am happy my boys can chop wood, even if it is limited knowledge that can be built on later. Many, many places in Australia still have wood heat, especially Canberra, though I haven't been aware of it so much as about 14 years ago. If you lived through the power strikes during the late 70s or early 80s you would understand why you shouldn't if you can rely totally on electricity. I would prefer to have a gas stove, especially to manage the black outs we have here, but haven't organised anything like that yet.

Vegetables and knowledge about them is very important. Watching Jamie's School Dinners and You Are What You Eat makes you very aware that in the end people eventually don't have the ability to even buy vegetables as they don't know their names. This affects their diet and their health. On one show the lady had to have the vegetables written on with texta. I could empathise with her very much.

Sure my kids know their vegetable names, but I still think it would be nice if they could know the joy of growing vegetables. This year we are growing cape gooseberries. My Mum grew them in the garden, and it is my belief that they will stay in the soil at our new house once we start growing them. I think the kids will enjoy their little paper coverings very much. They can be started now. We are extending a bed and shortening it both, and we hope to start the seeds off there, maybe even next week. Apparently you can start them early.

Depending on where you live, I am sure you can save money preserving the vegetables you have grown with your flowers. To me Green Tomato Pickles from the Ezy Sauce bottle is my idea of heaven. Below is the recipe, not from the bottle I used last, but an older label I cut out and stuck in my scrapbook years ago. I remember salting down the vegetables last time I made it. I can eat a few tablespoons straight with a teaspoon from a bowl.

The lettuce and other vegetables our daughter has been growing this winter have not needed water. So her vegetable garden has provided me with much food for thought.

Green Tomato Pickles

Slice into dish 5.5kg green tomatoes, 2kg onions and mix in 140g salt. After 12 hours empty contents into pan and bring to boil before adding 1.5 or 2kg sugar and a bottle of Ezy-Sauce. Boil until thick enough (usually 1 hour). To improve recipe, mix into thin paste 1 rounded tablespoon of each mustard, curry powder, cornflour, also 2 teaspoon of turmeric. Add these about 10 minutes before end of boiling.

My husband was due home for lunch the day I made mine and I did turn it off after one hour and it was too soon, but still edible. He made the other half (Mum suggested doing 1/2 a bottle at a time which is good advice) and accidently put in hot curry powder. But both were nice. The main cost when we made it was the onions, as we had an old bottle of Ezy Sauce, thankfully with the recipe still on it. I found if I slice the onions with one of those great modern serated knives, not to leave the slice in a half, it makes it too hard to get the pickles in the jar. Maybe cut in half.


Titania said…
Linda, thank you for your visit. When you have painted your bench. (perhaps with the childrens help in the spring holidays)and potted up your wall pot, let me see it! I have painted an other bench french blue. In summer they are made comfortable with matching cushions with covers I have made from pretty teatowels.) I come and read your essays about your family life, you are a good and prolific writer.
Linda said…
Thank you Titania, the encouragement helps.

I'll definitely let you see it, and will try hard to do those jobs. It would be great.
TopVeg said…
Good for you - your children will gain so much from learning to grow veg now. They will be able to carry on growing their own when they have their own homes. It is a wonderful gift for you to give them!
Titania said…
Linda, use acrylic paint it is easier. I used it. Also mix your paint in your favourite colour or matching with your outdoor furniture. I made mine "shabby chic" (new old looking, funny isn'it!) The paint will also preserve your bench. You can make really a beautiful corner in your garden for summer time to dream or have a cup of tea!

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