Since I started blogging, I’ve put a lot of emphasis on the money-saving side of growing your own, but of course, there are far more, arguably better reasons to do it.
One of these is growing different veg to that on sale in the shops. I’m no radical grower and tend to stick to the tried and tested veg, but I was keen to find out if there is anything on my plot at the mo that I couldn’t buy in the supermarket.
I was especially interested in given the time of year when veg on the plot is not so plentiful, so I took a walk down to my local Co-op to investigate.
Garlic and Squashes
I’d watched the Great British Food Revival last week when Clarissa Dickson-Wright bemoaned the lack of British garlic in our shops. Straight away, this was backed up in the Co-op. The best I could find was Spanish garlic. Fortunately for me, my cupboard’s full of stored allotment garlic. They might be small bulbs, but they’re my bulbs.
And besides, my squashes are bigger than the co-op’s, which makes up for the little garlic. Like the garlic, the only squash the supermarket had was from foreign shores.
There were also only butternut squashes, so no other varieties like the gorgeous, nutty Crown Prince.
Pak Choi and Curly Kale
There was none of this, from home or abroad – reckon I’ll be harvesting my pak choi this weekend:
Surprisingly, no curly kale on the supermarket shelves either.
It’s looking good on my plot now the whitefly has taken off. I’ve got the purple Scarlet variety too.
A vegetable I’ve tried this year for the first time is Cavolo Nero, which I’d describe as a cross between cabbage and kale (I think it is actually a type of kale). It’s absolutely delicious, and not something I’ve ever seen in a supermarket. I’ll definitely be growing this again.
Oriental Salad Leaves
My final favourite is the oriental salad leaves, which I couldn’t find in any of the salad packets on the shelves. Some had Mibuna in them, but not anything tasty and peppery like Green in Snow or Serifon, which I’ve been growing into the winter for a couple of years. The little leaves tend to last until the snow comes, but until then it’s grand to have a few fresh salads.
Of course, there is plenty in the Co-op which I don’t have on the plot, like Swedes and turnips, and proper, grown-up cauliflowers which dwarf my crap efforts. I reckon I might be looking for some help with my sprouts as well, and I’ll be needing somewhere to get leeks too after the rust disaster.
So, I mustn’t knock the Co-op. By many accounts, they seem like the supermarket good guy, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t decidedly smug when I walked out empty-handed this time around…