Introduction to Vegetable Grower’s Handbook
Growing our own food is certainly one of the most beneficial pastimes in our lives. We grow food in our garden, harvest it and eat it minutes later. Grown with our own hands, prepared and cooked lovingly – what more could we wish for? We all know about the health benefits of fresh vegetables. You can also clap your shoulders in reducing air miles. There is certainly no oil wasted in importing vegetables that come from all over the world. We import mangetout peas from Kenya, garlic from China, potatoes from Israel and from many other destinations.
When we grow our own food we know exactly what has gone into growing it. Many people worry about pesticide residues in food. Even if science proves that these pesticide residues in food are completely harmless because they are below a certain threshold, many people simply prefer to eat food that has grown naturally without any artificial inputs and ideally grown by themselves. Personally I am a committed organic gardener and I never used artificial fertilisers or synthetic pesticides and I think there is no need for it. Nature itself takes care of it. As an old gardening friend told me once: ‘Plants just want to grow’.
Gardening makes us humble. The food we grow is grown by Mother Earth and is given to us as a gift. Even after 25 years of growing vegetables I still experience these little miracles of sowing a seed or planting a seed potato and then witnessing the revelation.
Until not that long ago, every family had to grow their own food. If the crops failed they had to do with less and if the crops did well there was an immense sense of satisfaction. There was a strong sense of purpose of putting food on the table for the family. We no longer have this sense of purpose in our modern lives. If the crops fail we can simply go to a supermarket and buy cheap vegetables. I think it’s quite sad that we have lost this purpose in life. If you think about it we had this purpose for thousands of years – it is still ingrained in our psyche and I wonder sometimes if this ‘divorce’ with nature is a contributor for various types of ill health? From personal experience I realised that whenever I’m stressed,the best therapy is to go out into the garden and dig over the beds or hoe and weed the growing crops.
This handbook is a follow on to the two previous books ‘’Vegetables for the Irish Garden’’ and ‘’Vegetables for the Polytunnel and Greenhouse’’. It is meant to be a very visual and easy to use guide to growing all your vegetables both indoors and outdoors. I hope it will help all gardeners to grow their own food, because there is no greater satisfaction than putting food on the table for our own family from your own garden in a sustainable way.