It’s been two and a half years since we moved into our current allotment. This year is the first time that I feel like we are managing our time there better, we’re growing far more crops than we ever had, and the kids are reaping the benefits. I used to feel overwhelmed when I stood at the gate and viewed all the work that had to be done, now though it’s more like I have a list of jobs to complete.
Last weekend was the first time that I managed to film a quick (very quick) video of the allotment.
It was also my first “shopping” expedition. We had family coming to tea so I gathered up as many of the fresh vegetables as I needed, then rinsed them when I got home. It was far more exciting than a visit to the supermarket. In the basket I collected lettuce, peas, 2 different types of cucumber, courgettes, and radishes. Obviously dirty because I had only just lifted them.
The enthusiasm from the boys is brilliant. The 6-year-old helped me pull the radishes despite them being a little bit stingy. He’s not a big fan of the flavour but is willing to try which is the important thing.Once picked and cleaned, I like to slice the radishes as thin as I can get them. The wafers of radish are nearly see-through. Then I rest the radishes in a bowl with a light sprinkle of sea salt and cider vinegar. The quick pickle only takes 10 minutes which is plenty of time to slice a hunk of my simple homemade brown bread. This recipe makes enough for 4 small loaves (if you’d rather use a mini-loaf tin). Top with a spoon of crème fraîche or quark, some fresh vegetables and a few slivers of the pickled radishes.
You know I looked over some old photographs on Sunday and it is really remarkable how much my life has changed. If somebody had said to me 6 years ago that we would be growing (and rearing) our own food, and so passionate about living well I would have laughed. At the time I was focussed on dealing with some pretty chronic back pain and being made redundant. Life has a great way of teaching me a lesson about what is important.
Bloom 2015 starts tomorrow and I’m looking forward to chatting to plenty of like-minded people about gardening, food, and living the good life. If you see me there please do stop and say hello!