Harvesting hum of happiness

If you look at this small basket of produce what do you see? Just beans, rocket salad, tomatoes and figs.

Go to a supermarket and buy the exact same thing. Bag it up, buy it and bring it home.  There is no emotional investment there. It’s just food.

And when I look again at the basket it really is ‘just’ food.  Eaten in one sitting. Maybe two.

But when I look I also see layers of history of my experience of gardening and the actual place where I grow this food.

And that imbues every fig and tomato with just that little bit more meaning.


The fig really was just a twig when I planted it. (I found a picture I took back in 2009.)

I did one of those reckless mail order things I saw in the back of a newspaper. A Brown Turkey fig tree, all yours for just a teensy amount of money, plus postage and packing.

Fig in strawberry bed

I sent off the money and back came a twig. Not even a foot tall.

I held out few hopes for it, but planted it right up against the back wall of the barn that faces the potager. Watered it once and sort of forgot all about it.  My visions of a huge fig tree trained against the dramatic stones was just that.

But it has worked.


And now I am fighting the wasps off it two harvests a year.  It’s the perfect reward for plunging down to the potager early in the morning to seek out veg or inspiration.

My go to breakfast treat.

And I could tell you a tale about saving the tomatoes from a memorable lunch one year and getting the seeds to lose that tricky coating, sowing and starting my very own crops.  But it’s not true. My seeds come from packets. And the ones that do best I have no hand in at all.


They are the self seeded ones that lurk in my home-made compost.  The tomato plants pop up wherever they want and I happily harvest and take all the credit for what is just a random garden event.

But when I put one into my mouth and I always smile and think – good rubbish.

IMG_9067The same could be said for my rocket. It’s just neglect that has steered me into keeping the plant as a ground cover crop in the vegetable gardens once the main crop is over.

In this instance it is the bed where I harvested broad beans.

Forget to weed and you get a perfect cut and come again salad that smothers weeds and is on endless repeat. As are my dwarf French beans.  I’m still planting the seeds from neglected beans two, no three seasons ago. I had a glut and just left them on the plants until late autumn.  And the result. A perfectly adapted dwarf French bean that keeps on giving.

Does home grown food taste better than bought stuff?

I have no idea. All I know is that my very own crops are imbued with story and history and experience. And that gives the illusion of a more intense flavour. And that makes the simple meal all the more tastier.