06 April, 2009

Gaia's free gifts

Last year I decided I needed to start growing food for the family - the logical solution if you are looking to minimize your carbon footprint from the food you eat and ensure it's chemical free.

By the end of the summer though, it was evident I am not a natural gardener. The only success was a tomato plant which actually sprouted from soil from our compost. Almost everything I
had actually sown, failed to provide any significant produce.

Consequently, I decided that foraging was far easier and provided a better prospect of a return.
This proved to be so, and during the autumn, and now this spring, I'm finding I'm able to regularly provide a healthy green salad for the family without trips to the shop.

I also discovered that acorns used to be a staple food in Japan, North America and many other parts of the world. Unfortunately living, as over half the world's population now does, in cities, people are far removed from nature and indeed the knowledge about the potential harvests that can be provided and as a result, sustainable foods like acorns have virtually vanished from all the world's dinner tables.

On the plus side though, this means in autumn, there are plentiful amounts of acorns to be collected and turned into a very agreeable flour for a truly brown, brown loaf of bread. Labour intensive but well worth the experience and taste.

One other strategy taken to offset another possible poor showing in the vegetable bed, was to plant fruit trees, bushes and vines - with the hope that they are more difficult to fail with...

Although my foraging is going well, I have decided to return to the garden and try again this spring to grow a various collection of vegetables, salads and herbs. So far, my daugher's cress is doing very well, and there are signs that our beetroot and peas have decided to give it a go.

As an update, I will blog again on growing one's own food later in the year - and particularly if my efforts prove more profitable than last year.