If you have been following our blog, by now you'll know that we love food, making it and of course eating it! There is another aspect of food however which we are also passionate about and that is growing it. Whether your garden is limited to a window box or you're lucky enough to have a spacious garden, the benefits to growing your own really are too many to count and you'll undoubtedly reap the rewards when giving GYO a go! Between my in-laws farm and our own garden in the countryside just outside of Florence, we manage to produce enough fruit, vegetables, eggs and meat to allow us to be reasonably self sufficient.
My sister hard at work in her own garden
My sister's autumn harvest last year.
Growing your own vegetables does not mean that one necessarily needs lots of land or even a garden, it really can be done even in the smallest of spaces! With good soil and some care you can provide yourself with fresh herbs, salads and even grow some larger veggies like tomatoes and aubergines.. My sister has often grown strawberries or tomatoes in hanging baskets with great results.
There's no denying that the flavour of freshly picked and home grown is hard to beat and if there are children in the house, the experience of watching their food grow always makes for a fun and valuable lesson! The sense of accomplishment my son and daughter get when picking salad leaves they have sown themselves is a pleasure to see.
With huge supermarkets at our fingertips providing every type of fruit and vegetable throughout the year, the importance of seasonality and provenance seems to have been somewhat lost. Really knowing where your food comes from and enjoying it when it is locally at it's very best is truly a pleasure. Even if you don't have space to grow lots of veggies try and find out what's in season before heading to the supermarket. You'll soon find that you're not serving up the same old choices throughout the year.
Without a shadow of a doubt though, for me the best bit about having a veg patch is how easy it is to create something full of flavour in a few minutes. Take some eggs and potatoes and ten minutes later you can have the most delicious supper.
Figs, great at this time of year, wrapped in some prosciutto ham also make for a wonderful primo, or starter for friends and family and in late summer are a firm favourite round our table!
Figs from the garden wrapped in parma ham with buffalo mozzarella.
Have you tried growing your own? What's your favourite veggie or fruit to grow at this time of year?