Each year, for some years past, I’ve gotten a phone call in January asking me to talk about kitchen gardening at the Rare Fruit Society’s annual mini-conference. The cook gets called up too – she tells a tableful of folk all about pickling, lacto-fermenting and preserving food from the garden.
Folk who attend these evenings – and its a huge hall packed with people – have a broad interest in all things to do with home gardens. Topics range from bee-keeping, grafting, native fruits and pruning to mulches, composts, netting, figs, citrus and berries.
All good, but I’m famous for being unable to give the same talk twice, and I’d already covered seed-saving, mulching, irrigation, soils and so forth in earlier years. Caught on the back foot, and with a decision and abstract required that very day, I had to hang up and hope for inspiration while I ate my lunch…
Perhaps peering into my lunch box – at stuff both purchased and home-grown – prompted me to talk on self-sufficiency, a subject I’ve had to bat away regularly on garden tours. It’s a suburban dream that I’ve tested harder than anyone, and I’ve never even come close to living off the garden. Therefore this year’s topic is ‘Kitchen Gardens – Living Off your Back Yard. Can it be done?’
So I’ve set myself the small task of writing a series of articles about what decades of growing my own food has taught me. I burned through all 35 tips in 20 minutes at the Rare Fruit Society; I suspect it will take somewhat longer to get them into print over the coming weeks.