A funny thing happened on the way to the garden…

The first lettuce from our own garden

The first lettuce from our own garden

All my adult life Ive steered clear of gardening. Despite my mother being a keen green-thumb and growing our own produce, such as potatoes, mint and parsley, when I was young, I’ve always thought it wasn’t my ‘thing’.

Then a funny thing happened. A few years ago, I started watching a half-hour Saturday evening TV show called Gardening Australia. I still wasn’t into gardening itself, but I began to appreciate the peace and beauty of home-grown plants, particularly, as I’m a bit of a foodie, the edible kind.

In April this year, we moved out of the city to a suburb that is almost rural, to a street in which people take gardening seriously. And although we’re in a townhouse with only a very small courtyard, we’ve started a garden.

We’ve got lettuces, radishes, sweet corn, tomatoes, garlic, chillis, herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley, coriander, chives and more. My husband has even started a small and joyful flower garden in one corner.

Because I’ve been watching Gardening Australia attentively for so long, I’ve found that I’ve picked up quite a bit of gardening knowledge without realising it. Soil types and planting widths and watering tips: no longer are they useless information to me.

On Friday night, we had the first lettuce from our garden the star of a salad for dinner. Nothing ever tasted so good—bursting with flavour, nutty, buttery almost, and crunchy.

Lettuce2I teamed it with simple fare: tomatoes and multi-coloured capsicum (not our own, yet); and seared scallops and prawns with my hot butter-garlic-chilli-lemon pepper dressing on a bed of steamed basmati rice.

Best meal I’ve had in ages!

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9 thoughts on “A funny thing happened on the way to the garden…

  1. That looks so yummy and I imagine even more so for you knowing that it’s the fruit of your own labour…there’s nothing quite like being able to reach into your own garden for some fresh herbs, or easy fruit like zooks and kooks (zucchini and cucumber), or strawberries which don’t need a large garden…will be looking forward to more of your green-thumb adventures now that you have the garden up and producing…

      • My biggest problem with them has been what to do with them all…they just keep on giving…I start them from seed (for some reason I haven’t had any joy with using the seeds from last year’s fruit so I use store-bought seed) in an inside planter so they can develop to a decent size before going in the garden. i find this gives them a greater chance of survival against both the elements (there was snow on my windscreen when I finished work on Friday!) and also against birds looking for a quick snack.. I don’t give them any special care once they are in the garden beyond weeding, daily watering and a weekly feed with Nitrosol or Seasol.

        • Thank you—great tips! Yes, the birds are a worry regarding the crops. We have loads of them here, including brightly coloured parrots. Luckily, we have a cat as a scarecrow. She’s an indoor cat but is allowed into the courtyard to wishfully gaze up at the birds flying overhead (and sometimes sitting on the fence to taunt her).

  2. Looks delicious. Would love the recipe for that dressing. Can’t believe how much you’re growing in a small courtyard garden.

    • Hi Fransi. It’s surprising what you can grow in a small space. We have one of those vertical gardens, for a start, with planter boxes in five rows one on top of the other, and it’s on wheels. The dressing: melt some butter in a small fry pan, add finely chopped chilli, garlic, lemon pepper and fry until it just starts to colour. Then put in little individual pots with each plate so people can pour over whatever they want. That’s it! You could also add some panko breadcrumbs to the mix. It’s a bit like the pasta sauce aglio olio (and you could use olive oil instead of butter). I then threw on top our own snipped chives and coriander leaves.

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