Now the Veg Savings Spreadsheet 2011 is up and running, I’ve noticed that I can become a smidgen obsessed with the cost of all things allotment-related.
I spotted this when writing my previous post about choosing blueberry bushes. Suddenly, I was taking recommendations based on taste and appearance, rather than hard dosh.
It’s Not All About the Money
This was quite liberating and reminded me that while money saving is brill, it’s not the reason I started growing my own produce. I started because I thought Escape to River Cottage was the best thing I’d ever seen on the tele, because of an increasing interest in our impact on the environment and because I wanted to spend more time with my cancer-recovering mum.
Soon, I also realised that, yes, it was true – homegrown food was delicious. This week, someone in my office asked me what I thought they should grow as a beginner, and in my heightened state of blueberry-induced freedom, I’ve decided to list the crops I recommended to my office friend. Grow these, and I reckon they too will be hooked forever.
P.S. Monday’s the last day of February, so don’t worry fellow geeks, I’ll be back posting about spreadsheets and savings…
I think these juicy little berries are the closest I’ll ever get to sweets on an allotment. Anyone who’s ever been to a pick your own will know what I mean when I say that the strawbs are lucky to make it home. I love the sugary treats so much I even eat them in sandwiches.
I don’t like tomatoes. Well, I didn’t, until I grew my own. These ones I love, but supermarket ones are still on my list of Food Dislikes. It’s difficult to explain, but outdoor-grown allotment tomatoes are like a completely different vegetable.
Plus, there are so many types to grow: little ones, big ones, beef ones, sweet ones, salad ones, I never get bored of toms.
When I first got my allotment, Jan said to me that carrots were the one thing I must grow. Her reasoning for this is that they were so much sweeter and fragrant when freshly dug, and I’m not going to disagree with her. Whether I grate them in a salad or roast them on a Sunday, carrots are still adorable.
Baby New Potatoes
Digging potatoes is exciting because you never quite know what you’re going to get. It’s like a treasure hunt. This is all part of the allotment experience, and the first baby news of the season is a real injection of proper earthy food. That slight soily taste, boiled with fresh mint leaves is one of my summer high points.
When I was a kid, I had a running battle with my mum over sprouts. Almost religiously she’d serve them up, and with equal zeal, I’d eat everything else on the plate except the Brussels. That was until we grew some, and now I love them.
The same happened with a neighbouring plotholder, Andy. He hated veg and only took his plot on because it backed on to his garden. Now he’s a proper 5-a-dayer.
Mmmm, crunchy (I don’t mean the grit). Nuff said!
I don’t have much asparagus on my plot, but what does pop up I treat like a King. Last year, I got spears from plot to plate in 9 minutes, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. This summer I’m taking my bike…
These crunchy, snappy, sugary green pods are another one that doesn’t always make it home. Truth be told, I’ve always struggled to grow them, and only had a couple of decent harvests. However, the successes are so mouth-watering, that every year I keep on trying.
There we have it. For me, the eight tastiest veg to grow. Sometimes I look back and still cannot believe I like Brussell sprouts, but that’s the magic of growing your own.
Have I missed something that you think a plot just cannot be without? My other half, Ailsa, is fuming that I’ve left the globe artichokes off. And what about the raspberries, she says?
Therein lays the beauty. There is just so much to enjoy.