Every night with our evening meal we pick a colander full of greens, herbs or smallish/baby veg to chop up and sprinkle on top of the meal. One colander full for 3 adults. Usually at dinnertime and sometimes at lunchtime too.
A little bit of everything that is thriving, adds vitamins, minerals, different taste profiles, a burst of fresh produce.
A sprig here or there by itself isn’t much but putting it into a colander, you see it soon add up to a sizeable portion for each person.
Every day is different. With some things in the garden struggling to grow at different times, this colander full has really saved our meals, budget and added diversity while waiting for other crops to thrive.
I just did a quick price check for a 300grams bag of organic leaf salad mix $5.50 that was baby leaves 70% and carrot 30%.
Our colander full has much more variety, no carrot to bulk out the weight, weighs more than 300grams, no food miles, no plastic. Total supermarket cost for the week would be 7 days x $5.50 = $38.50 per week.
52 weeks in a year, 52 x $38.50 per week = $2002. I just shocked myself by doing the maths, that is a lot of money on greens!
If we are cooking an Asian style dish we will go for more Asian style flavours, for example:
Flat leaf Parsley.
Broad Bean tips.
Spring onions, chives or garlic chives.
Baby mustard greens.
Broad beans, picked really small.
If we are cooking an Italian style dish we will go for more Italian style flavours, for example:
Flat leaf parsley.
Spring onions, chives or garlic chives.
Broad bean tips.
If we are making a salad type cold dish we will add lettuce leaves.
These lists change from season to season, when cauliflower and broccoli are growing we add some baby leaves to the mix or brocolli florets. Pea shoots are also handy, we often grow these in a pot on the front veranda.
I’m about to start planting some micro greens again that will take us into the colder months, the plan is to start a new batch of micro greens every 3 weeks.
It’s all about growing smaller amounts of many things that all adds up to feeding us nutritious, organic food that is packed full of flavour.
*You might be thinking that this is fine for us because we like everything that goes into the colander but it wasn’t always the case, there was a huge dislike for parsely and vietnamese mint. A whole mouth full of parsley or vietnamese mint is hard for most people but when it is in small amounts chopped up amongst different flavours, well you get to taste everything but it isn’t overwhelming and every mouth full is different. Parsley and vietnamese mint are now tolerated if not liked but if asked most likely denied 🙂
Tip 1: Lots of accounts on social media are advocating to grow flowers amongst vegetable and herb beds, while that is lovely and makes a great photo it should come with a warning, you don’t want flower foliage or flowers (that maybe highly toxic) mixed up with your edible greens. Children and unexperienced growers, even experienced growers can get plant id mixed up when in a hurry and trying to get food on the table. Label everything that you can’t eat. Keep the flowers separate, even if you grow them separate at the end of the veg bed or in the outside borders of your veg garden, they will attract the pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden.
Tip 2: Keep an eye out for anything self seeding. A cautionary tale. Michael came in one night just before dinner with a colander full of lettuce and herbs. He missed the small foxglove leaf when picking lettuce leaves when it was just on dusk. I missed the foxglove leaf when washing them and when plating up, Lil saw the foxglove leaf on her plate before eating it. Yep, the foxglove had self seeded in a bed of lettuce, tucked under lettuce leaves, none of us had seen it, even when weeding.
I hope this journal entry is helpful and encourages you to plant a patch of your garden or plant into pots at least a few things on the plant lists above, and fill up a colander to serve at meal times. If you would like some more growing tips the brilliant community made ebook is there, it is free and made accessible for everyone to read. It is so important to me that we help each other grow more food.
Happy growing and eating!
Click Here to read the Food Gardening Ideas free ebook. Easy ideas for you to add to your gardening tool kit.
Saving money, growing food.
February 8, 2023