Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harvesting a meal: A 'Before I Go' goal achieved

Hooray. I have always been a fairly ordinary gardener. There are a lot of plans and planting and good intentions and then a fair handful of benign neglect. Most of my plants just have to fend for themselves. Sometimes Melbourne weather forces them to be hardy and resilient and sometimes it kills them all. My carrots did not survive the winter (despite assurances on the back of the seed packet that we were in a good zone and season for them - liars). The baby spinach was doing beautifully well until it was attacked by tiny white bugs. But the dwarf peas (also from a seed packet - so not such complete liars) and the red russet potatoes I planted from little potato nubs that I rescued from the bin grew like gangbusters.

In a trug and a bag, I grew myself a meal.* With the potatoes I followed the old 'add more dirt when the greenery appears' method until the back was full and three or four plants shot out over the rim. The peas I planted in incredibly neat rows and trained over stakes so they wouldn't damage their stems. And then the shoots appeared, grabbing at the bird netting and each other and chaos reigned. And somehow the flowers turned into tasty, flat pods that I was tempted to harvest there and then for munching, but I resisted and they fattened and fattened.

Digging around in the bag of soil, I found only a handful of potatoes. Three perfect sized ones that I had spied through the spy hole in the side of the bag and five or six progressively smaller ones that may or may not have grown any more given the plant was dying away. I was told this was the sign the potatoes are ready for harvesting, but please correct me if I am wrong so I can get it right next time and increase my yield).

The peas, oh the peas, are still growing strong. I picked a bowful and have left the rest for another day, another meal.

I shelled the peas; I boiled the potatoes; I snipped at the parsley growing wild down the side of the house and the last few chives still standing after the last crop. I made myself a meal from seed to bowl.**

* Those Vaseline edges there are not an arty effect. That's the toddler effect, the grubby fingers reaching for the lens when I turn around to do something else.
** Okay, I may have added a dollop of natural yoghurt and a squish of lemon juice to the bowl after the first few forks full. But I stand by my achievement.


  1. Wow, well done. That is amazing. Especially considering it's been winter.

    1. Thanks :) Am really looking forward to seeing what I can grow through spring and summer.

  2. wow, this is so inspiring! Visiting from the weekend rewind, I would love to grow my own food!

    1. We live in a rented house and garden in small portable containers, so anything is possible. I've been particularly inspired looking at Indira Naidoo's edible garden on her balcony, which is amazing. I'm just now trying to work out how to upsize our veggie patch to provide more food over a longer period of time.


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