I think every day, I am becoming more and more aware of what I am eating. Ideally I would love to be able to grow produce all year round, but living in south-west Scotland, I feel most of the time, we are still living in an ice age. Snow might provide an insular covering for some plants but the hard frost is a cruel visitor. Sweet peas sown at the end of the year were fine over-wintering in the greenhouse, they finally gave up the ghost when we were smitten with a long spell of severe, sub-zero temperatures and the weeks of healthy-looking plants, just wilted and died.
Many of the winter-sown vegetables are not doing well because constant bad weather, together with the lack of sun, does not look encouraging. My dreams of getting some healthy supplies over winter are not working.
I am a member of a couple of gardening forums online and the Covid-19 lockdown seems to have enthused some hopeful gardeners finally, to take up the trowel and give it a go. Everything is so precise and ‘by the book’ for them. Fairly elementary questions flow in and obviously there are signs of lack of confidence. They, (they being no-one in particular) but just a representation of many questions asked. They buy a packet of seeds then ask, “when do I sow them”? Without sounding impolite you ask, “what does it say on the packet”? They don’t seem to be confident enough to read the instructions, they want someone to tell them and to give assurance that what they are doing is right.
Much to my amusement, one such newcomer had bought a bag of seed potatoes, but she only needed three for her container and wanted to know what to do with the rest “would they last to next year”? I suggested that potatoes lying at back of the store cupboard and had ‘chitted’ could have been used, instead of buying a whole bag for the sake of three potatoes. I was then met with a tirade of replies, pointing out that supermarket potatoes might carry disease! I have eaten potatoes bought in a supermarket not realising they could be disease-ridden. I jested about that, but that only fired up the argument. I received biology, botanical and scientific lessons from our social media experts, much to my amusement. I can understand it may not be a good idea to fill an allotment with store-bought potatoes, three potatoes in a container are hardly going to contaminate the rest of the containers.
This was the last of my harvest for 2020 but it was worth planting my ‘chitted’ store cupboard potatoes, they tasted even better than their parent potato.
I later watched a TV programme on supermarket food and in particular the fresh produce sold. I already don’t like the idea of buying mass-produced vegetables which have been sprayed with every ‘icide’ under the sun to kill bacteria (good and bad), kill insects (including bees and other pollinators), then given a good dose of radiation to make sure they look nice and last longer on the shelves. Tests were made on the fresh and pre-packed produce and they were all found to have bacteria from faecal matter on them. Even worse was the pre-packed, the packaging providing its very own breeding ground. I feel it’s not just a rinse under the tap they need, but a whole new programme on the washing machine. Luckily I have found a supplier of fresh organic produce who can deliver to the door. Maybe the responder was correct in saying store-bought potatoes were unhealthy – but not just for the garden.