beans in my backyard!
Over the last few months I've been quietly encouraging my friends and colleagues to become actively involved in the process of growing their own food. I think everyone has an appreciation for good food, but developing an appreciation for good produce really requires going out into the garden and giving it a go.
Having a kitchen garden that I can run out to whenever I want some fresh herbs to add to the pot is incredibly satisfying. I know where my food comes from and I know it's healthy. My salad leaves aren't doused with calcium chloride. They haven't been sitting in a bag for 2 days and transported from the other side of the country (or the world!) to reach my dinner table. I have black tuscan kale just begging to be picked; rambling nasturtiums providing ground cover and a bright, peppery addition to any salad. The apples I eat haven't been stored in a shed for 8 months. My bananas aren't artificially ripened with ethylene gas. I eat tomatoes when they're ripe and in season. I know what's in season.
I've worked for Matt Moran and now Kylie Kwong - top Aussie chefs who pride themselves on sourcing the best produce and letting it speak for itself, but before I tasted homegrown beets I had no idea they could taste so good! My beetroots are unbelievably sweet because they're eaten within hours of being picked and there's absolutely no comparison with store-bought produce. None whatsoever. Zilch.
Encouraging as many people as possible to try growing at least some of their own food is an important step in becoming self-sufficient and (fingers crossed) sustainable. Our grandparents grew food in Victory Gardens during the war and the great depression to offset costs so it can easily be done. I find it highly ridiculous that my generation has grown up thinking that food comes from a shop when we can all grow food for free!
I've never ever had a giveaway before, but (..and I did say this was going to be a year of good deeds didn't I?) if there's a time to get people gardening, it's now.
Send me a picture of your garden (it can be anything - a large styrofoam box filled with compost, a collection of pots, a reclaimed verge, etc.) along with a few words about why you would like to grow your own food and I will send you some fun seeds to get you started:
· Hon Tai Tsai - I have no idea how to pronounce this but it's a super tasty Asian green that you can't find in the shops and is delicious stir-fried
· Giant Red Mustard - gorgeous leafy vegetable that can be added raw to salads when small or left to grow for a more intense flavour
· Lazy Housewife Bean - a climbing bean that is easy to grow with high yield
· Giant Yukomo Snow Pea - succulent snow pea up to 14cm long with beautiful purple flowers
All of these awesome plants will produce seeds so you'll be able to grow these for the rest of your life and share them with your friends for free!
Don't forget to include your address! This offer is for Australian residents only and will continue for 3 months or until I run out of seeds, whichever comes first. Not open to NT or TAS due to quarantine.