Little garden patches describes what you can do with just two or three square metres.
Sometimes this column perhaps gives the impression you must have a huge garden to be a greenie. Not so, this three square metre patch produces an incredible amount of food for our family. Add to that a few pots with parsley, sweet basil and thyme, a few staked peppadews and jalapeños in the front garden where the vibrant colours will draw comment, and you’ll have a kitchen blessed with fresh salads.
True, you can’t grow potatoes and a field of mealies and butternut, but they are easier to get from the greengrocer, and are less subject to the deteriorating influence of oxygen once reaped.
In one small patch you can supply the lunch table every day with fresh lettuce, a few slips of spring onions and some rocket for a bit of variation; add to that young spinach leaves, a few twigs of celery, radish and some herbs. It’s not that difficult to get your mandatory seven to ten coloured foods every day; a proven 35% lower all cause of death is not unattractive, right? It means fewer consultations with your doctor and pharmacist, and less pain.
You’ll often see recipes these days boasting that there is no lettuce; it is true that greens picked days previously are usually limp and very boring. Straight from the garden to the lunch table, add freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, and feta cheese or half an egg, a scoop of hummus and you have food fit for a king.
Fresh greens are loaded with minerals and vitamins. For example, the WHO declares that half a million children go blind every year because of a vitamin A deficiency; their families don’t have little patches of greens. Add to that the vitamin K and folic acid that are so important for achieving high grades in school, not to mention the phytochemicals like lutein for the eyes, and you can imagine the importance of greens for your growing family.
There is one other not unimportant advantage in little patches. One bucket of bathwater every day would keep your veg happy even in a drought; actually two halves so that you don’t find yourself suffering from ‘bucket back’.
Two or three small patches like this, being continuously planted every few weeks would supply most of the needs of a growing family for vegetables. Add some carrots and a fence for climbing beans and other favourites and you can at least halve your fresh produce bill; and probably halve your medical bill too. The downside is that you will have to find the money to put the kids through a tertiary education! That is not just a wild opinion; it’s all scientifically proven.
Little garden patches will provide wonderful fresh parsley, spring onions, and even one or two broad beans; I am unashamed lettuce fan so there will be a few plants here and there too.
Find a spot for one or two spinach plants; they are a wonderful source of iron, the most common serious mineral deficiency in the Western world. Anemia is not fun.
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