I'm the first to admit that I am not a green thumb. But at this stage in my life I start to see some of the things from my childhood in a new light and one of those things is growing something edible.
See, as a kid I liked my food in silos, peas on one part of the plate, carrots another etc and the worst thing that could happen was they might touch each other. And I remember some days sitting down to a tiny plate with a bit of meat on it (or if I had opted to bail on the meat, cheese) not because I didn't want the veggies but rather because I'd eaten all my veggies while mum was preparing the meal. If it was the season for runner beans, the beans wouldn't even make it into the house to be prepared, I'd eat them straight from the vine.
Looking back we had so many things, some of them great (strawberries, peaches, grapes, beans, radishes, corn), some good (lemons and zucchinis) and some of them gross (pumpkin and asparagus). Our peach tree was so prolific that for many years the fruit stewed and stored in the autumn lasted the family through until the end of spring if not beyond.
So why did I go from buying everything I eat to starting on a journey to learn how to grow some things? Well, a few reasons.
Environment: When I grow it I know where it comes from. And being conscious of the fact that some of my carbon footprint comes from transporting my food (especially as I live in Perth which is one of the most isolated cities in the world) I know that growing some of my food means that it hasn't had to travel far or be placed in cool stores to preserve it.
Taste: I've heard people comment about how much better home grown fruit and veg is, and I'm looking forward to experiencing more of that for myself.
Self-sufficiency: One day I realised that while I might dream of being much more self-sufficient than I am now, it will only ever be a dream if I don't start building up the skills I need to become that person.
So where did I start? Thanks to the wisdom of the internet I started with herbs. Herbs make food taste great, and a little bit makes a difference. I've tried to grow basil, mint, oregano, parsley, chives, rocket, coriander, and dill. The coriander, dill and oregano didn't survive but the others are still growing. Furthermore, herbs can be grown in pots so we can take them with us should we decide to move. I've used the mint in smoothies and chocolate brownie, parsley and chives with eggs or with hummus on toast and the basil is really good in savoury muffins and on pizzas.
Where to from here? I picked two spots in the garden that are now veggies patches. One has potatoes (the plants are really going to town so I hope that means there's potatoes growing in the ground) and other has tomatoes and basil. I'm still waiting for my tomato plants to grow and hopefully produce a tomato.
In the long term I would like to have about 40 square meters for veggies. That's supposed to be enough room to keep two adults in a decent amount of veggies for much of the year. I love my veg so I expect we would still be buying some but it would be great to make meals from our own garden.
How does this relate to my concept of minimalism? For me it's about enjoying the simple life. Food is such a big part of our daily lives and what could be better than a home cooked meal topped with fresh herbs? Also, I'm looking for ways to live in better harmony with the seasons and to be friendlier to the environment. My ideal backyard would have only plants that produce something edible and native trees with the hope of providing shelter and food not just for myself but local fauna too.