The Self Sufficient Vegetable Garden

This year in the huerto where all our organic vegetable growing, is going on,  we’re self sufficient in…


Okay, so this is not the most useful thing to be self sufficient in.  But, they are packed with vitamin C, so we’re feeling pretty healthy.  And, it got me to thinking…  I thought about how the vegetable plot is very different every year.  We’re learning all the time and trying out new things.  But, with the best will in the world, a lot of our successes and failures in the vegetable growing department, are left down to the weather.

Weather here is lovely, but in an extreme kind of way, and this year is no exception.  It has been exceptionally dry and extremely hot, from much earlier in the year than usual.  This morning for example it is ‘muy scorchio’ plus the wind is blowing a gale.  Not, then the ideal growing conditions for an awful lot, particularly when water is at a premium.  Even the tomatoes are struggling a bit, which is unheard of in these tomato loving climes.

Summer should be the time we are most self sufficient in courgettes (zucchinis).  In fact, MrDB might well regularly comment on why I would continue to plant such a large number of courgette plants each spring, when we obviously would fail miserably to eat them all.  In fact a few years ago, he actually bought the book What Will I Do with All Those Courgettes? which some might say is a little odd, as he is a rather reluctant consumer of this versatile vegetable.  But then he is of a rather frugal nature and I guess ‘waste not want not’ even counts for his least enjoyed veggies.

I would recommend it if you are going through the seasonal glut of zucchinis, and trying to prevent their rapid conversion to marrow-hood.   It does contain a phenomenal number of zucchini recipes, and is quite a jolly read.   But his year, that book for us is firmly shut.  We are eating zucchini most days, but as yet, we do not have enough thriving to concern ourselves with worrying about what to do with them all.

Now, aubergines are an entirely different matter.  And, I have to say, someone really should write the book ‘What Will I Do With All Those Eggplants’, as I have never managed to consume them all.  And, this year, even with the weather against us, and several batches of superb Spicy Eggplant Pickle under my belt, it looks like I shall yet again fail.

Anyway, I guess what I was really trying to say in this post, is that organic vegetable growing is an extremely variable concern.  It isn’t like the supermarket.  Not only are the seasons different, but each year is different too.  You just have to go with it and learn to enjoy the things you have in abundance.  So with that in mind, I feel a few preserve type recipes on the horizon.  After all, there is no excuse to waste those hard grown vegetables.

Pickled chillies anyone?

For a more self sufficient future

9 Responses to “The Self Sufficient Vegetable Garden”

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  1. Goo says:

    I didn’t think there was any such thing as too many chillies but then I’ve just got two sad plants yearning for sunshine on my windowsill!

    A nice way to preserve is to chop them up finely and make a course paste with oil and salt. Dollops of this heat up winter stews nicely.

    • Goo,

      I went a bit overboard planting this year because I felt I didn’t have enough chillies last year. I’ll try the oil recipe. I’ve made a cross between that and harrisa with dried chillies, salt and lots of cumin.

      Think I need to restrain myself a little bit next year as they are definitely taking over the vegetable patch.

  2. Veggie says:

    Very interesting take on this subject. I saw a comment mention this on Digg. I will put a link to this article from my facebook page.

  3. Amy B. says:

    Awesome blog! You should sell the eggplants. I just went to a grocery here yesterday in the states and they were selling for FIVE USD each!!!! Aieee.

  4. JohnG says:

    We’ve still got chillies left from last year – we just spread them on a tray and froze them.

    As for courgettes, if they’re fresh you can slice & dice and use them in salads instead of cucumbers and my wife has found numerous pickled courgette recipes.
    Last night we tossed some in oil, salt & pepper, griddled them then soaked them in lemon juice for a couple of minutes before putting them in sterilised jars & filled with quality olive oil.

  5. lesley says:

    Make baba ghanoush! If you like hummous you will like baba ghanoush. Basically you bake halved eggplants until they are soft, scrape out the insides and put it in a blender with tahini paste (sesame seed paste – it is a little bit like smooth peanut butter but not sweet) and a couple of spices like cumin and garlic. It is delicious served at room temperature (not chilled) with raw vegetable sticks, pieces of lightly toasted pita bread, or in a sandwich with lettuce, sliced capsicums and sprouted seeds like alfalfa or whatever.

    It freezes really well to – so make a big batch, freeze in small portions and enjoy.

  6. Stephanie says:

    Leafy green vegetables and herbs are easy to grow using indoor gardening! Have you tried using an aquaponics system to grow some of your vegetables?