Monday, February 25, 2013

The Good Life

   I was sad last week to hear about the death of Richard Briers (above with Felicity Kendall) the British actor most famous for being Tom Good, the man who leaves his well paid job to try and become self sufficient growing their own food.They turn their suburban home into a muddy allotment and have farm animals,much to their neighbours bemusement.
 It was broadcast over thirty years ago,buts it is still making an impact.There are Allotment waiting lists,seed companies and shops like wilkos selling lots of fruit,and vegetables seeds and plants for people to grow at home.Community groups have local people tending plots or bag gardens.Schools are teaching children gardening and how the fruit and veg in a supermarket comes to be there.There is a lot of grow bags,and raised bed systems for the plot holders or for people to grow on their patios.People dream about small holdings and having chickens,ducks,pigs,or sheep.The original good life.
  I have had an allotment for four or five years now.I remember watching the programs and must have been influenced.Once I got my green fingers growing spider plants and busy Lizzie's I moved onto Tomato's and Chili's.I have gone from small beginnings to quite ambitious.I still try to grow as much healthy fruit and vegetables as I can manage within the constrains of working full time.
   It is fun planting seeds,seeing them germinate and grow into healthy plants.Finally if they grow well enough you can eat your hard work and know what has gone into growing it.The satisfaction you get is amazing,and keeps me coming back every new growing season to try new things.
 The horse meat scandal here shows we are massively disconnected from how our food is produced,and even what ingredients are contained within them.
 Growing your own vegetables,and Fruit is one way of keeping it local.Grown in Yorkshire.
   I went to the muddy allotment today (like the photo above) and made up the tenth raised bed.I put down two black weed guards over the middle section.I want to eventually put another four raised beds in that space and have the paths covered in black tarp so only the beds and paths around the edge of the allotment will need weeding.A cheeky Blackbird followed me around and was diving into an excavated bit of soil.He liked me turning soil over to pull out creeping Buttercup,and grasses.
  I trimmed the deadwood from last years fruiting Raspberries.They were all volunteer plants saved from the grass and weeds.They are thriving,and hopefully will produce pounds of juicy pink Raspberries for eating,jam,and desserts.
  I have a mental checklist of all the jobs to do up at the plot.The soil was cold in my hands.I have a month to get the beds ready for sowing seeds and potatoes.The greenhouse will start off all the tender plants that need some TLC to get going before being moved to the allotment beds.
 There are two Rhubarb crowns growing well,that I have planted up there.They will stay,and the other two ancient crowns will be dug out to make room for the two crowns i have in the cold frame.
 The brambles are taller than my shed and were scratching my coat and arms today.That needs cutting back and the sage bed needs clearing.
 February is a funny month.Between winter and spring.It was cold,drizzly,and muddy but I enjoyed the quiet solitude,the low ambient light,the birds singing,and my Blackbird companion hopping up and down across all the link a board raised beds like a hurdler.The garden and the allotment are my version of the good life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember watching The Good Life too; I think we who now grow our own must have been subconsciously influenced by it.

We ran an organic fruit and veg scheme for years - trying to educate people about keeping it local; it only ever occurs to people when things go wrong that it makes sense.

WE had a girl with about 100 free range chickens supply us with eggs. The chooks could be seen scratching around her field and it was nice to know the eggs were collected and bought to the shop every day - then health and safety decided that she needed to have British Standard eggs, stamped (this would let everyone know she had been certified by Health and Safety - of course the costs were ludicrous and it put her out of business. There is no common sense in the food chain any longer.