balcony · garden · grow your own · self-sufficiency

The Joy of Growing Your Own Food

Since we have our house and garden, I have really come to appreciate springtime. Each year I am fascinated by how everything suddenly bursts into life with the first bout of sunshine. I love to wander around our compact garden and marvel at how the trees and plants that were dead-looking a week or two previously are now showing the first signs of the bounty they will provide us with from June to October. Around this time of year I start to think of the months ahead in terms of what we’ll be harvesting and my mind begins to calculate how many jam jars, preserving jars, screw-top bottles and labels I will need. I really love that this garden gives us the chance to be somewhat self-sufficient. 

The apple tree has burst into bloom over the past three days.
Our pear tree is in full bloom now too.

The rambling kiwi bush is spreading its tentacles again and the first leaves have appeared.
The elder tree is showing signs that it will have plenty of flowers this coming May.
The wild garlic at the bottom of the garden is ready for picking and will make a delicious soup during the week.
The first flowers have come out in our little strawberry patch.

The blackcurrant, gooseberry and raspberry bushes survived the winter and are going strong. Along with the strawberry plants, they’ll provide a constand supply of berry snacks to the children as they play in the garden in summer.

The first figs have appeared on our fig tree and will have grown to full size by late May, but it is the second harvest (September-October) that will produce the most succulent fruit. Eaten straight from the tree, warm from the sun, they are simply divine.

Our seedlings (rocket, tomato, radishes and peppers) have begun to sprout too. 

What you haven’t seen here in the photos are the walnut tree, the Turkish plum tree and the kohlrabi plants. All going well, we’ll have seventeen different fruits, nuts and vegetables growing in the garden this year (and that’s not counting the herb garden). We’ll also go foraging for mushrooms with my in-laws and we’ll gather blackberries when they come into season too. 

Growing your own food is so satisfying, even is you only have a small harvest, as we have with our berries. The amount of work needed is nowhere near as much as I would have thought. If someone had told me a few years ago when I was growing 4 or 5 tomoato plants on the balcony of our apartment that I would have seventeen varieties of edible plants in my garden, I would not have believed them.  I am not a gifted gardener or a dedicated weeder, but I do love my food. The more I eat, cook, bake or perserve my home-grown produce, the more I appreciate where food comes from.

How do you feel about food? Do you grow your own herbs, fruit or veg? I’d love to hear how you get on.

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