However, a good thing happened a few months back. My long estranged Father contacted me through the mighty power of FB! I've been in touch with my half sister for a few years but suddenly I recieved a message from my Dad. It's a small word but has slipped so easily into my vocabulary. Dad. I had a childish pleasure from typing that word into my phone after so many years without a father of any kind. My Stepfather was wonderful and I had a lovely early childhood with him, but when he moved out, we lost touch and he found a new family. Sad but true.
Finally now, I feel connected and I understand why I'm so different to the family I grew up with. Some members enjoyed calling me 'freak' because I refused to fit in with the rest of them and their ideas of how I should live. Now finally it all makes sense. My Dad has always travelled and made his own work, he's been successful at just about everything he turned his mind to and I'm happy to know I've inherited some of his pioneering spirit :D
But this isn't a post about family, it's about a lifestyle change. I've learnt so much from my garden, about what grows easily and what is worth a bit of effort, but the biggest lesson has been in how we eat. Before the veggies started to come in, we would decide on meals, make a list and go to the shops. Lately though we've been checking the garden first then heading to the store cupboard and building meals around what we have here. Our food bill has halved over the last month. Our conversations often start with 'What do you fancy with spinach tonight?' Or 'Do we have any different courgette recipes?'
So this has saved us money for the summer months, but what if we can extend that further? We need to store our food safely, grow veggies in the poly tunnel so that we have greens all year, maybe even some salads in winter. It's all very exciting and helps me to deal with the black dog of anxiety who still comes creeping around from time to time.
Unfortunately one of my nightmares came true and my tomatoes have developed blight. I'm very disappointed with how they've all failed this year despite my constant attention and efforts. I'm going to pull them out today and make green tomatoe chutney. I was so looking forward to biting into a sun ripened home grown tom! Never mind, some of them ripened in the greenhouse and I don't even remember planting yellow ones, but that's the colour they turned out! The taste was a bit bland too. I hope I'll have better luck next year!
Lettuce and bok choi.
Salads, melons and cornichons.
Basil and peppers.
Our successes so far have been with the spinach, a wonderful variety that was just a cheap packet from Wilkinsons. The spinach beet has been good, but no comparison in flavour so I'm letting the beets grow now.
The lettuce has been a big success, especially since I discovered slugs hate coffee grinds and sawdust!
Basil has also been a huge success but coriander either hasn't grown or has bolted right away. I need to find a better place to grow it as it's getting too much sun.
This is the first year I've had success with peppers and they're growing nicely as are the chillis, so I'm looking forward to them.
The beans were a late starter but are swelling nicely now. I grew three varieties but the only survivors have been Gigantes a large soup bean from Italy. I have some small bush beans growing called Cupidon. I planted these a few weeks ago as they're quick growing and I'm experimenting with a fall garden. Fingers crossed.
Also in the fall garden I have radishes, kale, cabbages, bulb fennel, cornichons, herbs and carrots.