Grow Your Own: Cooking from Your Vegetable Patch

BUKY OLUFEMI interviews Lucy Launders, vegetarian and gardener, about the grow-your-own trend

VARIOUS

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The search for wild food mirrors the surge in popularity for home grown produce. Allotments and gorilla gardening, where the ground (usually found in the inner city in vacant strips of land) is dug up and converted into fruit and vegetable patches are common ways families are growing their own.

A much-loved hobby practised across Britain, vegetable patches have become a trend. Vegetarian and gardener Lucy Launders agrees. ‘For me I just love being outside, I enjoy growing. It’s satisfying to plant a seed and pull up a carrot a couple of months later,’ says Lucy, who acquired the plot 14 years ago. She explains, ‘What’s great about an allotment site is that you can really experience the seasons.’

Commenting on self-sufficiency, Lucy believes growing your own vegetables acts as a ‘great supplement to meals prepared on a daily basis. ‘I think you can be self-sufficient in the summer, but our winters mean you would have to go with the seasons, so you would eat seasonal vegetables, growing carrots and leeks. It can be very limiting as there are three months of the year.’

Elements of self-sufficiency are evident when bartering food with other people. ‘We often do swaps,’ says Lucy. She tends to give excess produce to friends and family members. ‘My boss at work has hens and he gives me eggs in return.’

The surge behind allotments and vegetable patches can be attributed to wanting to control the source of your produce. It’s a case of knowing what’s in your food: ‘For me it was a choice,’ explains Lucy. ‘I want something I pick up; that way I know what’s in it. I don’t put anything other than organic fertilisers on it and it works.’

She adds, ‘[Allotments are] More than a place to grow vegetables, it’s a community thing. It’s nice to just come down and talk to my neighbour, it brings people together.’ As the site volunteer, she knows most of the people. It allows her to show groups of people around the plots. There’s a communal plot onsite, where many gather for a barbecue and similar social events.

The vegetable patch boasts about ‘a cutting from Hampton Court’, taken from the original grape vine. ‘The blossom will usually appear by April,’ says Lucy. It’s possible to grow almost anything on your vegetable patch. Lucy’s allotment boasts pear trees, cauliflower seeds, and gooseberries amongst other delectable treats.

For scrumptious recipes, check out our ‘Eat In’ page.

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Categories: Word of Mouth

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