Growing Your Own Food
My mum always had a vegetable garden, dad couldn't care less, he was a meat and potatoes person. And cabbage. All us Germans eat cabbage. Anyway, wherever we lived the first thing mum did was dig over a section of backyard and plant stuff. I remember being out there with her when I was about five, mixing radish seeds with carrot seeds in a bowl then holding the bowl so mum could sprinkle the seeds along the row. She told me the radishes would be ready before the carrots, so we could pull them up and leave enough space for the carrots to finish growing.
After I married, whenever I had my own yard I used to try growing vegetables, but never had much success in most places I lived. We moved around a lot, so there wasn’t time to plan, prepare, mulch etc, it was more like throw a few seeds into a bare patch of dirt and hope for the best. It never occurred to me to grow things in pots. Flowers, yes. Vegetables? No. I’d never seen it done before. Everyone I ever knew that grew vegetables had half their backyard under cultivation.
I eventually had success with tomatoes grown up the fence along the sunny side of a driveway in Sydney, way out in the suburbs, not in the city. The driveway was lined with passionfruit when we moved in, we didn’t like passionfruit so we ripped out the plants (silly us) and put in 24 tomato seedlings. Why so many? Because in the past I’d plant a dozen and have only one plant ever amount to anything. So I was planting for future failure. Well, wouldn’t you know it? Every plant not only survived, but thrived. They were soon as tall as the fence and covered in flowers.
Almost every day the kids were out there counting baby tomatoes, while I began wondering what on earth I was going to do with so many tomatoes. I had no idea about making sauce or anything else. All I knew was salad or tomato sandwiches. So there they sat, fat and ripening, with an occasional couple making their way into the kitchen and onto dinner plates. The problem solved itself when most of the plants became infested with fruit fly and had to be burned. When Hubby’s “marching orders” came the next week, we burned the good plants too. And moved to Melbourne.