I may have mentioned before that I was considering how How To Guide for starting a kitchen garden, I honestly like the idea, but I’d want it to be exacting and precise, informative and interesting, not neglecting the photo montage. Basically it’d be a huge pain and may not be worth the words it was assembled with. So, instead here we are, your pal Jack is instead giving you a few reasons to consider trying to start a kitchen garden. I’m covering myself here, you start and you’re on your own, dear reader, I have only a vague idea of what I’m supposed to be doing at the best of times. I’m only in my second year, but it’s been a wild ride, well, it’s been fun of a sort, to me at least. I started trying my hand at growing herbs, I bought a little set and grew coriander. Then I tried basil and coriander and I had no idea why the basil failed. I know now, you don’t grow it outside, it needs heat, it’s half a gamble etc. As to the reason why, well, maybe, I have a bad memory don’t scold me, kind reader, it’s because I was using so many new foods and looking to improve my diet. That seems the most logical reason. I guess you could say I’m three years at this, but these two years have been vastly different from my previous toe-dipping, you want to be a Jack? Then you get dunked. Not that you need to go to extremes, but I’m getting a head of myself. I’ll be utilizing that ubiquitous format: The list. Like I say, this is a lazy bit of sharing, not a catch-all guide. There’s hair in my tea, I need to share that with you. Onwards, to the list! To Jackdom!
Oh, I refer to it as a kitchen garden because a lot of what I grew was for culinary use, not to say flowers were excluded, they just weren’t the main focus, I’ll do more with them next year.
Scale: Not not that kind of scale, I wasn’t calling you fat, nor fishy, and no the scales have not dropped from your eyes! What I mean is the scope, the size, how much and how little. That’s the neat thing about growing, you can start with a little pot, like me, or you can go crazy and go for a huge plot or allotment, like me! You’re usually better going small to test and trial, but that’s up to you. I went huge after one year, took up a quarter of the garden after the second. Oh, the new improved rhubarb patch is finished, I’ll get photos up soon.
Variety: Quickly name all the types of basil in store bought pesto! Yeah, sweet genovese is pretty much the bog-standard basil. Maybe there are others, but I haven’t seen them. You not only have the option of controlling the type and variety of herb, but also the other ingredients. That’s not to say the classics are inferior, but say with squash, which would you rather? A common store-available kind or something unheard of and unsampled? There’s a whole world of vegetables out there that are just a little different from the norm, you keep the comfort of a familiar green friend, but the skies the limit as far as taste, colour and so much more goes. You’ll have fun experimenting, let me tell you. You may find something perfect for you like I did with harlequin squash. They one come once a year, but I will never stop growing them now. Maybe you too will find your harlequin.
Healthful Hobby: Look at my tan. Oh, yeah, I don’t tan, but look at these freckles! So many, I’m adorable, shush reader, leave befreckled Jack be. One bonus of the responsibility that garden inevitably brings is that it gets you out and about. Trust me, the doddering pottering of every old man on TV will ill-prepare you for the toil that might await you. Lugging watering can, pots, wheelbarrows, digging, pulling and so much more. All the while soaking in the sun, sometimes the rain, but always outside. Which I’m told is good for a body. You have to adjust the scale to suit your limits, but give it time you’ll get better, I did. Look at this: *Squats* Yeah, I have knees now, they work too. I’m impressed at least.
New Friends: Oh! I have a cool story. I was looking out the window this morning, as I am sometimes wont to do, surveying the kingdom and all that, when a Bluetit flew right to the ledge in front of me and starting hopping merrily around. How cool was that? I’ve had robins come to me too. These aren’t the friends I meant, but they are friends of Jack regardless. I mean that with a new hobby, one that is pretty large in scope you may find that you’re meeting new people or finding new topics of conservations with old ones. Everyone can appreciate a nice squash, just look, LOOK AT IT! It’s lovely. This has been one of the more rewarding aspects of all this.
Jack: Ah, the Jack part, the question who is Jack lingers on the lips, but fear not. I won’t tell. Oh, you want to know? It’s Jack of All Trades and Master of None. You see when I started really working the garden into shape I found myself stymied by my lack of tools. So I bought a drill and have never looked back since. Tool after tool has followed and though I’m still a pure novice I’m finding new paths opening up to me. Planters are hanging, sunken, made from scratch, drilled. Not to say it’s just been the garden that has seen a boost, the rest of the house has benefited too. Now, DIY isn’t a given, nor is it the only new skill you’ll acquire, it’s just an example of what I gained. Maybe you’ll sell your own produce, maybe up your preserves game, perhaps you’ll go further than even Jack can imagine.
Peace: No, no, Jack isn’t getting too serious here, fear not, fretful reader. Fun is still to be had here, but it needs to be said. In the garden there’s a strange kind of peace, perhaps it’s the proximity to nature, maybe it’s, as a friend put it, the philosophical nature inherent in all gardening tasks. Life and death are so important here. But maybe it’s just the simple stillness that a late afternoon holds, the sounds of the world slightly muted, the stresses now concern only the leaves between your fingertips, the potential and the expectation that surrounds you. What do I know? Gentle reader, I just love something there. Something ephemeral, gossamer threads tying you to something impossible to describe. Or maybe I’m just an oddball. At least the birds love me.
See you all soon.