Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fresh herbs....a basic human need

 

image The formal herb garden in the Hobart Botanic Gardens is delightful this time of year. We had our Home Gardeners Group picnic there last week.
image Then we moved on to Pete's vegie patch which is also home to a huge variety of fruit trees, vines and bushes. This is Sue....
image ....whose hand is spread across this enormous artichoke!

Coming here is like going to heaven and the gardens are so convenient to get to and its easy to park.
image(We all had shed envy when we went to Sue's recently. Her little extension is much nicer than a plastic poly tunnel.) image
image The curved, bamboo
teepees are much stronger than mine and have survived the winter pea harvest and look set for summer beans. You can see the food theme has leaked out from Pete's Patch into much more of the Botanic Gardens now..... hooray!

I never cease to be amazed at.... well.... stuff! This time though, its herbs, or the total lack of them, in people's lives. In place of the wonderful flavours herbs give a meal, people's cupboards and fridge (and sometimes fridges, plural!) are full of tins, packets and jars of flavoured sauces, mixed, dried seasonings and ready to go "Italian" meals..... as if any Italian in their right mind would eat that rubbish!

My herb garden is developing well but still I do not have enough of certain herbs to feed even just me. And yet, when I arrived, not a single herb was there in this acre. For 100 years families, gardeners and chefs have moved through this house so how could it be that not one of them has left me even a rosemary bush??

Until we find the solution to this problem, I fear there will never be a commitment to living a green life. This sounds very simplistic (and not a little bit crazy) but herbs are so basic to the enjoyment of food, give such joy to rub between your fingers and sniff as well as doing us so much good. If people are so removed from their food that they do not even expect to pick parsley for their soup, chives for their scrambled eggs or basil for their tomatoes on toast, then how can we ever get them to want to grow anything edible?

When I first came here back in March and had no herbs in my garden, I tried buying some from the local supermarket. Oh dear.... I closed my eyes and tried to conjure up the flavour I was expecting.... it was a disaster. Herbs grown hydroponically have practically no flavour and are a shocking colour. I felt sick from thinking of all the chemicals in and on them and gave them to the chooks who also refused to eat them. (Just like Pickle refusing to eat sausage mince when he was a little puppy. The chooks refused that too!). Luckily soon I found Terry, the man with a vegetable garden with a trillion dollar view, who only opens for 1/2 hour once a week!

Half my herb garden is planted up now and today I am going to weed the other half again (for the 100th time) ready for the basil seedlings I have grown and the oregano I want to shift out of the hothouse, etc, etc, etc! THEN I will take some photos..... I promise!

3 comments:

Maggie said...

Lovely to see the gardens again and great news the veggie patch is expanding.
Like you I am amazed that some veggie gardeners grow and use no fresh herbs.

Four Seasons Herbs said...

I am still amazed that so many cooks just grab a packet of dried herbs from the cupboard instead of growing their own fresh ones - too easy! (and might I say, very addictive - I started with a basic herb garden and now have over 100 different varieties now...ok probably a bit excessive...:)
Cheers, Tara (www.fourseasonsherbs.com.au)

AlexF said...

"I never cease to be amazed at.... well.... stuff!"

Hehe well that sums up your blog in a lot ways, I think!!