It’s been all Adventures in Cooking the last few days and it all started with my rogue garden. I think I’ve mentioned here before (and if not here, then on Twitter) that I had originally decided to let the garden ‘fallow’ this year.
As I’m a container gardener, the soil I use becomes depleted of nutrients after a couple of years. However, getting rid of the soil is a bit of a mission. The council won’t accept soil in its garden waste programme. Short of lugging it up to Telegraph Hill, pot by pot, the soil I’ve got is the soil I’m stuck with. So I figured, I’d follow the wisdom of the ages and leave it. Letting it grow up with weeds for a season or two seems somewhat counter-intuitive, but it goes a long way to regenerating the soil’s health.
So I let the weeds take over. They billowed up in a raucous cacophony of colour and foliage and fairly tumbled over the edges of each container. It helps, I think, that we had such great weather throughout the spring and so many long intermittent spells of intense sun then heavy rainfall throughout the early summer.
In mid- July, I finally decided I would help it all along by prepping for autumn and the winter months with some rich manure. For a city girl born and bred, I LOVE manure. It reminds me of the moors around my grandparents’ home in Yorkshire, of running around Norfolk as a child and of weeks away holidaying in farmhouses in Ontario.
I didn’t bother to take pictures of ‘before’ when I started to clear away some of the weeds, which is such a shame really. To my complete surprise, my garden has been secretly doing just fine without me. Under the weeds, potatoes, strawberries, salad leaves, vast fields of oregano and several unexpected onions have been flourishing! Who knew?!
Lou had given me some hand-reared tomato plants for my birthday, which I had been growing on my kitchen windowsill. As soon as I saw how healthy my garden really was, I quickly transplanted them and they’re doing really well, too.
Coupled with a greenhouse-grown tomato plant, I’ve already harvested about two pounds of tomatoes, and that is what we had for dinner Friday night: slow-roasted garlicky tomato and olives with conchiglia, on a layer of freshly foraged salad leaves. Delicious!