The Growing Trend of Edible Gardens
What do you know about the grwoing trend of edible gardens?
Do you grow your own? There’s been a huge trend in recent years of families swapping the rose bushes and rhododendrons for herb gardens and tomato plants. More and more households are growing their own food, and if you haven’t thought about it before you may soon be converted to edible gardens.
But what’s actually happening here? Where has all this ‘grow-you-own’ stuff come from? Why exactly is it a good idea? And what can you do to get started?
Living the Good Life?
Ever since The Good Life a lot of us have fantasized about giving up the day job and spending our days milking goats and planting spuds (and who can forget Tom’s undrinkable home-brewed wine?!). But that programme ended, not many people went through with their dream of living the ‘Good Life’ for real, and it seemed for many years we were all content to fill the gap by watching season after season of Gardener’s World.
But in recent times that all seems to have changed. Demand for allotments is at an all-time high, with some spaces in the London area reserved for years! Everyone seems to be doing growing their own, from families setting up chicken coops on the lawn to the retired pensioners spending all day in the back garden tending to potatoes and even the younger urban couples growing what they can in balcony salad boxes.
It’s now an aspirational life statement to be able to grow your own rosemary and sage for the Sunday Roast, and – if you’ve got the space – growing the carrots and cauliflower too! Whereas in previous generations the middle classes have been keen to get to grips with foreign wine and cooking world foods, today it seems that bringing in some domestic fruit and veg from the garden is the measure of success.
The ‘River Cottage effect’
Who’s the thank for this? Or blame, depending on how you look at it? Celebrity chefs are probably at the forefront of the movement. Chefs have gone through an interesting development within our culture. They’ve been famous since Mary Berry and Keith Floyd, of course, but Gordon Ramsay kick-started the whole chefs-as-rock-stars thing.
That’s gone out of fashion now, though. Right now it’s all about Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and being in touch with nature and where food comes from. It’s quite literally about getting in touch with your roots.
The move towards local, seasonal and organic food has definitely been a positive one, but growing your own stuff is the new frontier. I suppose this has largely come about for a few other reasons too. As our lives have got busier and we come to use (and rely) on technology more and more, the response from many of us is to get back in touch with the essence of food and how it’s created – to appreciate it on a fundamental level.
In addition to this, the idea of quaint, rustic and charming ‘Britishness’ has come into vogue. For some this means a retro, 50s-inspired nostalgia-driven lifestyle based on crafting and vintage things. For others, the rural, arable lifestyle of living off the land embodies this spirit. Obviously we can’t all live off the land, but we can make the best of our own little plots of earth, however small.
The simple things
There’s also a simple satisfaction of producing something yourself. Anyone who’s ever been fishing and brought home their catch will know that even the smallest, measliest fish will taste better than the poshest wild, smoked and massaged salmon if you’ve caught it yourself. It’s the same with fruit and veg – the most expensive and perfectly shaped parsnips from Waitrose won’t taste half as satisfying as a mangled, misshapen version you dig up from your own garden.
There are loads of ways to learn about making your own little backyard farm. There are whole magazines dedicated to creating an edible garden and the internet is full of messageboards and advice sites. For families, growing your own food in the garden can be a great idea; it’s a fantastic way for kids to learn about nurturing something from a tiny seed to the dinner plate, and if you get it right it can seriously cut down the cost of your regular food shop.
There’s a great variety of food your family can grow in a small space, and children love to be involved – see how excited they get fighting over who gets the water the runner beans! On a slightly more serious note, though, growing your own food teaches children a wonderful life lesson about having a connection to where food comes from – and that it doesn’t just magically appear on supermarket shelves.
Ihope you have found this post on the growing trend of edible gardens to be useful
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