I grew up in a big family, in a small village in Berkshire, and remember well our duties as kids of picking runner beans and digging up potatoes that our Dad had grown in the garden at the end of his working day. The magic of walking a few steps to the kitchen and this food being on our plates within a few minutes stayed with me. It seemed a lot less effort and much more fun than getting in the hot car and trailing after our mum, helping her pack then unload hundreds of bags from a supermarket!
As an adult I lived in apartments in cities and it wasn’t until I moved to a house in Christchurch and started my own family that I started growing my own food in our little town house garden. It started with tomatoes, runner beans and snap peas in pots against the fence and I loved letting our small boys pick food fresh from the vine.
A move across town and gaining a much larger garden and a fab knowledgeable neighbour who had been growing his own food for fifty years meant I could expand my crops and knowledge. An intro talk by the organic grower and ‘No Dig’ guru Charles Dowding meant myself and my new (elderly) neighbour happily stopped the hard unnecessary work of digging and got on with growing more and better veg and salad. Growing what seems to me to be simple, free food on my doorstep, as nature intended and without nasty chemicals is still a magical experience and one of the things that makes me smile a lot in life.