Sunday, February 6, 2011
Let's just get one thing clear. I am not - and never will be - a farmer.
I don't have the correct footwear, I'm honestly not a big fan of dirt and I don't like being more than a ten minute drive from the local shopping centre. Just in case I run out of creme fraiche or leopard print shoes. Or something.
The reality is that we live on a suburban block so any farming aspirations I may have are tempered by space and the desire to have a lawn. So in reality, it wouldn't really matter how many pairs of wellington boots I had, we would we limited by space.
We have a (somewhat struggling and messy at the moment) herb garden - mint gone wild (as mint tends to do), lemon thyme, rosemary and chives all flourish when we remember to water them and the days don't top 41 degrees. Occasionally, if we are around in September - which over the past few years has been rare - we plant tomato plants. In 2009 I convinced Mr K to let me buy a raspberry cane along with the selection of tomatoes. It was $10 but I figured that if we got just one punnet of fruit from it, it would pay for itself. My favourite fruit, raspberries are insanely expensive and I often have a bit of hankering for them. It was as much about greed for home grown fruit as it was an attempt to embrace thrift.
The result was woefully unimpressive. Admittedly we planted it late (mid October) and the tomatoes we planted at the same time drowned thanks to torrential late rain. We managed a scant 4 berries from the plant before deeming the experiment an abject failure. We trimmed and pruned the cane and promptly forgot about the whole thing.
Fast forward to October last year and we arrived home from our UK/South Africa/Hong Kong trip to find a wonderful surprise. The raspberry cane had self seeded and we had a flourish of growth. Raspberries gone wild!! What started as a sad, lonely plant had exploded to four healthy thriving bushes with blossoms promising an abundance of luscious fruit.
Over the past few weeks we have gradually been harvesting our crop with pride and so far have managed to get at least a punnet of berries so far with many more to come. We get 6-10 berries a day, a lovely, delicious, sun warmed snack that I look forward to every day.
It has surprised me how something can thrive with no care or attention. We've now netted the fruit (I have no desire to share my longed for gains with the birdies) and are researching how we can keep the plants going while we build the house.
And not only were the raspberries a happy surprise, we also had some self seeding baby tomatoes this year. Even though the last round drowned, we have a fine crop for Summer 2010-11. They are gradually ripening with the intensely hot weather we are having at the moment and every piece of fruit tastes like sunshine.
It's so wonderfully rewarding eating something you have grown. This experiment with a very happy ending had given me a renewed enthusiasm for a vegetable patch in our new house.
Now, just to find some room to put it...