For those of us in the UK, summer is finally over, but it is always far to early for me. For some of you, summer is just around the corner, edging closer towards you with the milder weather…
Much of my London, UK summer has been spent outdoors in the garden and on my friend Jenny’s alottment. I have been promising myself for years that I would at some point in my life, begin to learn how to grow food and I have been increasingly dipping my toes into the garden over the past few years. This year my slow process seems to some extent, to have paid off. I have also lost some my fear of outdoor creepy crawlies (I can see you smiling lol) and I have been learning more about how to use gardening gear, negotiating local gardening shops and nurseries, planting, pruning and harvesting!
I am fortunate to have two great friends as my teacher’s, Jenny and Heather, who have encouraged me through their loving patience over the years.
Generally I tend to shop several times a week because I buy mostly fresh produce (as much of it organic as possible), which makes up most of my diet! Plus, I visit a health food shop monthly to pick up more specialised nutritional supplies… Actually though, as I have had such great results in my garden this year, this has also reduced my food bill!
The other thing is that I love food markets, with their vibrant ambiance – the colours, smells and noisy interaction. I remember as a child following my Mother to grocery shops at Peckham market, where the other Caribbean Mother’s too were haggling over the price & quality of the produce on sale. It used to embarrass me so much that I wanted to hide lol…but I am so glad that I was exposed to such exquisite bartering, as I have absorbed those skills from my Mother’s example and those wonderful ‘aunties’ whom I watched, I am truly a great haggler!
At home in the garden, Jenny has helped me to grow cucumbers, lettuce, chillies, courgette (zucchini), raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, pumpkin, sweet peppers, tomatoes, parsley, mint, sage, winter broccoli, cabbage, spinach and nasturtium.
So, while this all still feels fairly new to me, I’ve learned how relatively easy it is to grow food, as long as you do at least the basic’s like weeding, watering and pruning.
My granddaughter and I have spent time together picking & pruning the fruit and vegetables! We harvested lovely ripe plums, raspberries and strawberries together and she entertained her class friends from school to enjoy the berries in the garden.
With the fresh plums we harvested at Jenny and Heathers own allotment, we enjoyed eating them of course and making a raw plum crumble or two, (recipe included).
However, summer may well be be over, but the great thing about looking forward to autumn, is the varied gifts of fruit and vegetable goodies available through the season for our blissful raw food creations.
You may be wondering where am I going with all this? Well, it’s just that I wanted to share my joy with you, about my finding a new way to keep fit and about finally arriving at a place where I understand what an essential skill it is, to be able to grow food for yourself, your family and friends and to be able to get produce great nutritional food to share it in your neighbourhood, just because you want to…
Love and blessings always, Sistahintheraw x