The fresh smell of tomato plants has all but disappeared from my window sill and some days I find myself tapping away on my keyboard with fresh dirt under my fingernails.
This can only mean one thing... growing season is here!
The Solanum Lycopersicum (Latin for tomato plants) have been reassigned to their new vantage point outside - it's time for them to make their way in the real world alongside the other veggies we've got growing in the raised beds.
One of the major lifestyle changes I made during lockdown—which I am happy to say has stuck—is (quite literally) reconnecting with my roots and learning how to tend homegrown vegetables at our family home allotment.
There is something oh so satisfying about taking a seed, nurturing it, watching it grow, and hardening it to the elements before eventually harvesting it and reaping the rewards in the kitchen.
Growing produce from scratch is far from easy.
It takes patience and knowledge - two things that I lack in the gardening department. But I am gradually learning from mum and dad, and already I feel like I have learnt so much since last season's harvest.
One barrier that we always face in our garden is horsetails, an invasive, deep-rooted weed that has been causing us grief for years. They spread quickly, crowding out our raised beds, so it is an ongoing battle. However, I did learn that these relentlessly resilient weeds are in actual fact relics from the Ice Age. This fun fact has helped me slightly reframe my dislike for them. Slightly.
This year we've got beetroots, potatoes, peppers, runner beans, mangetout (the purple kind), broad beans, courgettes, swiss chard, and chillis.
Here’s a snap of some of the veg that came out last week. It seems like purple is the colour of the season so far...
In today's society, there is so often a disconnect with where our food comes from. The majority of the time I honestly don't even think about it. But the act of growing my own vegetables has got me thinking about food and nutrition on a deeper level in day-to-day life.
What's more, homegrown produce tastes better—much better. Why? The vegetables simply hold far more nutrients. Vitamins and antioxidants in local and homegrown crops may be more than 100 per cent higher than imported ones, which often travels huge distances before they even land on supermarket shelves.
My day now starts with one ritual and ends with another.
Each morning begins with plunging hot water through an Aeropress, filtering coffee into a mug to slowly sip whilst reading a book.
Each evening ends by showering the warm, dry soil which fills my nostrils with that nostalgic smell of wet dirt before I go inside and hit my head to the pillow.