eating from the garden

This week I’ve been drying rosemary again.

rosemary outsideThe bush outside our door is woefully overgrown, and has actually broken through the side of the pot. It’ll need moving soon, but in case I kill it off (not unlikely…) I’m harvesting as much as I can and drying it.

rosemaryI’ve already said that one of my focuses this year is gardening. I want to actually grow a substantial part of our food, and that requires that I pay attention: do regular slug patrol, notice when things are drying out, plant things at the right time, and other activities that normal gardeners seem to manage.

Inspired by this post from Rachel (of Wittgenstein’s Watering Can fame) on Robyn’s blog, I’ve decided to keep track of everything I spend on the garden, and the equivalent cost of everything we harvest. Rachel did this with her allotment and reckons she produced the equivalent of over £500 worth of food and drink!

rosemaryThis is mostly out of curiosity. I don’t grow food as a money-saving exercise, although I think when there’s things to eat in the garden it keeps us out of the shops (which stops us just buying extra things we don’t need while we’re in there). I won’t be keeping track of our food budget to see if we spend less (although as I write that I’m wondering why not?).

I’ve created a new page called ‘growing food – what’s the cost?‘ where I’ll log everything I spend, and everything I harvest, with the equivalent cost in the shops. So the only thing I’ve harvested so far is rosemary – I wouldn’t buy it fresh, and I wouldn’t buy it in bulk, I’d be mostly likely to buy those little glass jars from the local supermarket, so that’s my equivalent cost.

rosemary-2I’ll also keep track of things I make from the garden myself that I also might have bought – like compost.

Harvesting and storing things makes me want to squirrel away other food too, and this week I’ve been making marmalade – seven golden jars. I admit this was partly because I wanted to experiment with the new slow cooker (which has been named Jeeves, because it makes our dinner for us while we’re out on the town). I used these instructions, and it worked remarkably well, looking much clearer and prettier than my last attempt.

Marmalade 1They’re so pretty I keep being tempted to give them away. I might have to make some more next weekend…

Marmalade 2

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8 Responses to eating from the garden

  1. I love making marmalade. My favorite flavor is Meyer Lemon. It is very time consuming, though. This year I made a new batch and it was taking forever to peel and chop so I looked at my instructions and realized the year before I had halved the recipe! I ended up with 14 16oz jars! Good thing it lasts and yes, I gave some away. I have a large vegetable garden and it brings me tremendous joy. I wish you the same this year. Try not to be discouraged by failures, they happen to us all. I keep a journal which helps me to not make the same mistakes again. Well, that’s the theory, anyway!
    Sue

  2. Robyn says:

    We specifically make plenty so we have some to give away – they make great gifts when visiting!

  3. Rachel says:

    Hooray! Look forward to following your progress and seeing your sums 🙂

    • Are you keeping track this year as well? Be great to see how you fare again 🙂 I;m wondering whether to include community garden stuff – even though it’s not just me (in fact mostly not me!) doing the actual growing, I’m putting a fair bit of time into the project overall and we do end up with little bits of food here and there, mostly salad and fruit, and it means I don’t tend to grow those things at home so much…

  4. Lorraine says:

    Ooh, your marmalade looks great! I can’t be faffed with all that so when I’ve made it I’ve just pureed 3 oranges (skin, pips and all, and shoved in the slow cooker with half a bag of sugar on high for 4 hours, then poured into a jar. It isn’t at all pretty like yours, it’s cloudy and sort of a chutney texture, but it tastes the same on crumpets! It’s like we’ve swapped personalities for marmalade!

    • Tee hee! It is indeed like we’ve swapped personalities… I’ve done that before, just boiled everything up until it’s like cement almost, and it’s perfectly tasty, but for some reason this time I just fancied seeing if I could make it all pretty like other people do… and I did!

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