09 March 2013

Beans and more

Since many years on my Mondo Beyondo list I have written that I want to have a garden and grow my own food.  The spring is arriving and this year I've decided to do something to make those dreams come true:-)  I don't have my own garden, but I do have a north-east facing balcony.  I have a lot of decorative plants in my flat but I haven't grown anything from a seed since avocados and peas when I was about 5 years old! Why don't we get taught these things all throughout school? Imagine how much knowledge I would have by now...

My first action was to follow a 4 part course called 'Get down, get dirty' to learn to grow my own food, I had my first class and am stoked to see my first seeds growing on the window sill. Here they are:
Oost-Indische Kers / Indian Cress
Today I went to volunteer at De Brede Moestuin in Zuid, between tall office skyscrapers. It was raining the whole time (gotta love Dutch weather) and I definitely was not well equipped (next time I will bring a real rain jacket, waterproof pants and wellington boots), but it was so much fun! This was really getting down and dirty! First we weeded and aired the beds, we made holes at regular intervals with our thumb, then we planted the beans and covered the beds with plastic mesh to avoid pigeons getting to them.

We had a delicious break at restaurant Bolenius which uses local products including some from the garden we were working in. I ate my first bitterbal since becoming a vegetarian, made from Jerusalem artichoke (also called topinambour), delicious and much needed considering the cold outside. Then I harvested some veldsla (corn salad, mache) and some rode mosterdblad (mustard greens) that had been planted in November.

I didn't think to take any pictures unfortunately... just my muddy jeans and boots when I got home. I've rarely been this soaked but despite the weather I had a wonderful time and feel I've learned so much. And... I got a small bag of duivenbonen (pigeon bean) to experiment at home and around.

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