I recently became the co-ordinator for a social enterprise that delivers organic and/or local produce to people (Ooooby – Out Of Our Own Backyards www.ooooby.org). Each week I need to work with many small-scale growers trying to work out if we have enough of a certain item to put it in the fruit and vegetable box, and I realised I do not actually know a lot about growing vegetables (I have vague ideas about some of the things that are in season – mainly from what happens to be growing or not growing in our veggie patch – but there are so many things I don’t grow, and there are so many vegetables I don’t know how to grow, or even what they are!).
What I learned
I borrowed a book about vegetables from someone that helps me pack the Ooooby boxes. I read about when to grow different vegetables and how long they can be stored. I also checked the back of seed packets to find out what can be grown outside now (beans, chard, beetroot… and probably some other things). It has actually been very interesting, and I am becoming more aware of even the regional differences in produce availability.
I gave some attention to our veggie patch, and planted some seeds and seedlings. I’ve been getting our 2 year old daughter to help and am trying to explain what I am doing to her, so she is also aware of these things. I always try to shop seasonally and locally but I am definitely more aware now and can make choices I am happier with. I’ve also been giving a lot of voluntary hours to Ooooby to help it be successful, and I am giving spare produce to family, neighbours and our local food rescue (that distributes it to charities).