COLUMN: Don’t ever be afraid to grow your own food

Floral Photography By Artist Paul Milton Artist B.A.Honours Copyright (c) SUS-150915-092147001
Floral Photography By Artist Paul Milton Artist B.A.Honours Copyright (c) SUS-150915-092147001

I’ve been lucky to grow up at a time and in a household where the knowledge of growing your own food was luckily passed on.

I learnt how to grow my own food from an early age whilst in Harland’s Primary School and a lot of good knowledge that my parents, and grandparents, had and passed on.

I grew up where a compost bag full of tomato plants was a common sight and the home plot full of runner beans which were fresh to pick.

My first experience of gardening and growing my own started with a small plot in primary school where I had a tomato plant, a runner bean plant, and sunflowers

It’s amazing what memories stick with you, it was a good basic lesson and learning curve of how to grow your own plants and food.

For me I remember my granddad coming over to the little plots at Harland’s Primary School telling me what I need to do and how I should add some manure - some really lovely memories.

My granddad was a brilliant gardener. He had apple trees, various fruit bushes and trees in the garden and a green house which was packed with various plants and seedlings - but just don’t mention slugs or snails and certain vermin with legs or out would come the pen knife and broken glass for the vermin.

The green house was his way of escaping a kind of man cave. If you can picture a really ram shackled brown creosoted green house, paint flaking off, layer upon layer of paint, with tones of putty and patched up areas that was my granddad’s green house.

But I remember it all because of the greenhouse being in that state, my granddad was kind and was always there in his green house, and like all people had his routine and stuck to what he was use to.

Another plant which brings back good memories was the geraniums, my grandparents always had geraniums and when you brush past them the leaf and stem and flower would give off a distinct smell even now the smell of that plant always sends me straight back to my nan and granddad’s and to good times when life was a lot simpler.

I was lucky to grow up where the basic knowledge was passed on I was told where my food came from how it was grown and how it got to my plate.

Sadly a lot of this food education is getting missed out or not passed on, with fast food and everything wrapped in plastic or tinned in metal we’ve become a bit ignorant to where our food comes from and how it’s processed. Everything is alright all the time it’s double bagged and wrapped in loads of plastic in case it touches something else it shouldn’t.

A good example recently is with farmers and milk. We go to the supermarket pick up a two pint or four pint and very rarely if ever we think about the farmer, and how the milk gets to the table, or fridge.

Also how the milk is processed is quite interesting - how they take out the fat and then put the fat back in to keep within certain standards and quality i.e. skimmed and semi skimmed and full fat.

At home we still grow a lot of our own food our selves we are lucky to have a garden packed with various fruit bushes and plants. Can’t beat a homemade rhubarb crumble with a nice serving of custard.

Don’t ever be afraid to ever try and grow your own vegetables and food. It doesn’t mean you have to buy the best seeds, and most expensive propagator. A simple seed tray with a little compost, some basic seeds and some cling film over the top will do the job just fine. Even simpler than that is some cress seeds on some damp kitchen paper towel, or blotting paper with a little water would give you a taste of growing your own.

More gardening tips to follow in this column if you have any questions as regards gardening drop me an e-mail where I will be glad to help.

Picture by Paul Milton.