It might not surprise you to learn I am an only child.
Not only does this manifest itself in a check-me-out, big-fat-show-off, attention-seeking blog.
It also means that patience is not exactly my middle name.
I want it.
And I want it yesterday.
It’s a character flaw I am well aware of and do my best to suppress.
In particular as a mother I have had to learn to stifle this unattractive tendency, slow down and exude outer calm at all times (read – as much as is feasibly possible).
Growing your own food is similar in this regard to being a parent.
Vegetables, I have discovered, would test the patience of a saint.
Seeds rarely sprout when you expect them to or behave as the packet promises.
But here’s the thing I have learned: If you plant them, they will come.
Most things I’ve grown this year took weeks to pitch up out of the soil and when they did, they looked half dead or were indistinguishable from the weeds amongst them.
Long after I’d given up on them (but fortunately had been too idle to dig them up and start again) they burst into vibrant, verdant life.
In particular I have found courgettes, sprouting broccoli, leeks and squash to be the biggest amblers taking their sweet time to come to the plant party.
But like children, provided you put in a bit of effort at the start, give them plenty time and space and feed and water them before they fully keel over, vegetable seeds will reward you.
I’m a total amateur; I’m a bit work shy; I’m bolshy with a hoe.
But look at what even I managed to create in just three short months.
Here’s the veg garden’s makeover before in March and after in June:
In our first soirée into growing our own food at Rowan, we no longer have to buy any vegetables from the supermarket.
It’s a good feeling.
And anecdotally it isn’t just our bank balance that’s benefiting.
I genuinely think you can taste the enhanced goodness.
My kale, for instance, has a different texture and flavour to the bitter, tough stuff you get in the supermarket.
A bowl of it feels so rich in iron, it’s like you’ve eaten a fillet steak, albeit a very clean, green one.
I promise you this is not rocket science. Boom boom.
My advice to any and everyone is to give growing your own food a go.
Even if it’s just the odd salad leaf.
These are some of the easiest and most rewarding things to grow because they keep coming at you even when you pick them.
In fact they love a good ding dong.
Cut ’em right down to their very bare bones and they’ll come back fighting, even more bounteous and green than before.
You’ll have more than you can eat even in a medium sized pot and will save a small fortune on the bagged stuff.
If you follow my example you’ll find you can’t go wrong.
Stick some seeds in a row, in some compost, in an old drainpipe or similar.
Water when it occurs to you.
Once the seedlings pop up – and there is NO greater, more satisfying, back patting feeling (save perhaps birthing an actual child) – wait until they get to about half a hand’s height before separating them out and replanting in a pot with a bit more space around them and a bit more soil.
Hey presto. Instant good life.
I should warn you these homegrown leaves might blow your tiny taste buds and mind.
I thought I knew rocket.
It was that gently peppery one Waitrose does.
It hung out with mild, sensible chaps like spinach and watercress.
You could be fooled into thinking rocket was a nice boy.
But turns out he’s a punchy, feisty, bad lad.
I’m not even sure I like him anymore.
You know, now I’ve met the ‘real’ him…