For me there is nothing more satisfying in life than looking at the meal on your plate and knowing you raised and produced all the items in front of you. It provides a sense of sufficiency, of self reliance. Now, I can’t say that I’ve ever done that what with not being a farmer or a hunter but as a humble suburban gardener I can at least provide the vast majority of ingredients to our daily meals. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, salad, cucumber etc etc. I grow all of these things to try and provide for my family throughout the year. The great challenge with really good vegetable gardening is not producing a crop; that bit is easy if you get the basics right. The real challenge is getting your vegetable plot not only productive throughtout the whole year but also into the next year. For instance you start the year in one bed with early crop potatoes. You follow these up with salad leaves and peas. Come October you put in a crop of garlic for overwintering and then harvesting in June/July. Each vegetable, root, leaf or seed will require a different balance of nutrition. Get this right and you can rotate your crops effectively. Problem is it is very easy to get it wrong (just ask my beetroot last year!)
The spirit of gardening
I find the cycle of life in the garden (and the vegetable plot) reaffirming. The garden is an escape and the vegetable plot the “Genius Loci” – the spirit of the place.