Thursday, 22 October 2009

My mother is totally boiling my beetroot man

No need to call the cops, not like she was twisting my melon.

In fact, she was physically boiling my home grown beetroot as part of their pickling process.

It was my expectation, that when we moved to our self-built house, that the garden would be as important, as the structure we were to occupy.

I put quite a lot of effort into designing our surrounds, carefully considering maintenance and practicality versus beauty and usefulness.

A vegetable patch was considered absolutely essential, and while I have not got it quite right, the original design was such that I can make alterations in the spring at very little extra cost.

The slog of gardening, maintaining one, cutting grass, weeding, hedge trimming and watering, have never been activities that I have enjoyed, more endured. But the thought of successfully growing our own crops was a truly scrumptious one.

Something we can enjoy doing together, and a process that would hopefully help my son understand how certain things grow.

We both have really enjoyed the process this first year, and have been reasonably successful in striking a balance of not stretching ourselves too much, but yielding enough to make it a worthwhile process.

Firstly we grew potatoes in three quarters of our patch, while strawberry plants were planted in the remainder.

As the spuds chosen were early varieties we were able to lift them, and still have time to sow carrot and beetroot seeds in the void from which they came.

Our carrots were more successful in number, but growing beetroot has actually encouraged my boy to eat them, so it is arguable that the beetroot growth was more worthwhile.

I have now dug in some leaves, and in the spring I plan to raise my vegetable bed by another railway sleeper, adding a mixture of top soil, fertiliser and manure before moving my strawberry plants, and their off-shoots, then we will be having another blast with potatoes.

Space, given a bit of shifting, has also been identified for a couple of fruit trees, which I think will be a great addition to our garden, and hopefully our learning.

I was recently contacted by representatives of McCain, who were kind enough to send Max a new gardening set and activity pack.

They are keen to promote their Potato Story initiative, aimed at raising awareness amongst children on how the humble potato finds its way to their dinner table, presumably in the form of McCain’s over chips.

They have kitted out an unbranded doube-decker bus and yes saying unbranded enough is like letting people know of all the secret charity work you do, great PR idea which is the focal part of their roadshow that has visited over 130 UK primary schools, reaching out to over 17,000 pupils.

Reading through their website, it does appear to be a genuine initiative, and one that could aid those that are not getting this information by other means.