Addicted to Green

If I could take one food to a desert island, it would be leafy greens.  If I could take a book it would probably be Omnivore’s Dilemma or something else by Michael Pollan or maybe one of  Barbara Kingsolver wonderful books about food, climate change, life. A more sensible choice might be Diet for a Hungry Planet. Ok, I am confused about the books, but sure about the food.  If I could take only one thing, it would definitely be leafy greens.

r coloured swiss chard

I may be a little obsessed with green at the moment because of the drought which has undoubtedly arrived in the Midlands. This weekend our farm dam is full for the first time this summer – about 10 weeks later than usual.

I just heard that Winterskloof have no water in their taps – again. Earlier this summer Winterskloof residents were without water for three weeks. Mpophomeni folk often have no water for days. One of my Dargle neighbours is moaning about her neighbours renting out cottages when there is hardly any water. These subdivided farms now house too many families (and too much livestock) and the streams that trickle through the forest simply cannot cope with all their needs. Many areas already have water restrictions and official measures are in place to curb water use in autumn this year. A friend in Richard’s Bay (who also adores leafy greens) reports that the only thing she managed to grow this summer was peppers – heaven knows how they will survive winter.

So while everything around me is green and lush and a bit muddy, I still syphon my bathwater out through the window most mornings to water my veggie garden as I have done for years. It is such an easy low-tech solution for making the most of each drop.

Right now, I am busy planting peas and broad beans, plenty of spinach and lettuce, more artichokes and broccoli too for the winter growing season. How long will I be able to water them, I wonder?

r butter lettuce

Last winter, I went a little wild. For the first time ever, I didn’t make my veggie garden struggle along on old bathwater – I actually watered regularly with the hosepipe.

My winter 2014 garden was amazing! What a difference the extra water made. I had my best harvests in July and August. During summer my garden is too shady for things to grow well, so with the winter sun and the extra water everything flourished.

r medley of greens

I spent a lot of time in Howick while Paul and his brain were recovering, so whenever I popped home, I’d harvest food to take back and feed the patient.  I wonder if this made everything feel more abundant than just picking what you need every day for lunch or supper as I am now?

r winter garden harvest

I doubt that my extravagant water use last year caused the drought, but I am pretty certain I won’t be able to repeat it this year. Maybe for a few years? Who knows, everything is changing. All we can do is adapt. After all, addictions are only habits – even green ones. Bet the calendulas will still flower.

r purple peas and calendulas


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks Meriel, yes, so much gorgeous colour! Astonishes me that so many people still consider a brown and white plateful to be actual food! Paul is well, thank you.


  2. Meriel mitchell says:

    The colours of your leafy greens … Not just greens – yellows, reds and purples are in there too – make such a vibrant and healthy appeal – so satisfying in so many ways. Hope Paul is doing well.


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