Last week we picked (or rather cut, as I've been told they'll grow back) the first of the food from our garden. These spring onions went straight into a potato salad, after Ivy had tasted them, pulled a face, and told me that they are "bicey" (spicy). Chives from the garden also went into the salad, which Ivy picked herself.
Growing our own started off as being functional, why buy something you can produce yourself, for free? Last year was a huge learning curve, including learning that it's not actually free! There's potentially a lot of stuff to buy: seeds, compost, pots, saucers, canes, cane toppers, tomato feed. Then you can't just sew seeds and let them get on with it, you have to actually do stuff to them. Which is where I fell short last year and despite planting all of my tomato seeds and ending up with about 80 seedling, I only got three tomatoes from three tomato plants. And then there are all the potential pests. Lots of lessons learnt.
This year it hasn't felt like a chore or work, and I actually seem to "get it". It's hard to explain what it is that is so satisfying, and it's a bit of a cliche to say that it's about feeling close to nature. But to observe the process from seed to plant to food is incredibly grounding, and has deepened my respect for life.
Ivy is enjoying it too. I was surprised recently when someone asked her what was growing and she correctly named the tomato plants and lavender. She got stuck naming the others, but could point them out when I asked where the spring onions and carrots were. I like that she knows what things look like before they are ready to eat. We recently spotted the little orange tops of carrots sticking out from the soil, even I found it exciting (and reassuring!) that there really are carrots growing under there. Ivy will often point our plants out to visitors "Lookat our PLANTS!", which is pretty much what I want to say too.
And as for all that stuff you need to buy, I have found ways around some of those. Plant pots borrowed from my Dad, or improvised out of containers that would otherwise be recycled. My workplace collects large tins for me, and I use a nail and hammer to punch holes in the bottom for drainage. The little tins are a good size for herbs or seedlings, and plastic containers like those that hummus comes in work well as saucers for small pots and tins.
As well as all of the lessons I have learnt about gardening, I've also learnt something pretty usefull about myself; that I can figure stuff out myself.