Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Garlic and onions

At the work allotment today I got chatting to one of the gardeners who maintains the workscape. It was just before they were rudely moved on by some officious jobsworth in the overlooking building, for eating their packed lunches in an inappropriate location - why they couldn't picnic by the allotment I have no idea.
Dan, a young guy from Grenada with the gentlest of Caribbean accents, is still amazed at city living and how we buy all our food. He told me about his home, where his mother grows everything they eat and tends the goats and all the kids have chores to do, or there's no dinner. They don't have many material posessions, but when all the work is done, there's still time to sit and just relax and chat. He said that growing food makes you feel responsible because you've taken care of it right from the start.
Dan spoke some very wise words. There is nothing quite like that sense of pride and amazement at harvesting your own food. I never get tired of it: one garlic clove turning into a whole new bulb; those first potatoes of the season discovered in a spadeful of earth.
Today I took home the first garlic of the season - and also some garlic flower buds. I love these elegant-stemmed emergent flowers, with the pointiest of tips. Last year, I let them bloom, but this reduces the size and punch of the bulb of course. So this year, I reluctantly gave them the snip. But I'm told they are delicious to eat, so they will find their way into a stir fry this week or maybe a pesto sauce, like this recipe I found.
And I am in complete, blissful wonderment at how a tiny black seed turns into an onion or a leek. It's my first year of growing them from seed and I am amazed that onion-shaped bulbous growths are starting to appear. I am thrilled and excited and will never use sets again - that's cheating.

1 comment:

  1. My onions are still like chives! I wish I'd done some garlic. Oh well, there's always next year.