Angelina Souren in Life and living Jun 4, 2019 · 2 min read · ~100

Growing your own

I don't know about you, but I grew up with the luxury of a pretty big garden. I think it was 15 meters wide and 65 meters long, all in all. The most distant 15 meters or so contained our vegetables and some fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries. We had beans and potatoes and rhubarb and peas and leeks and lots of other things.

There were various berries such as gooseberries and blackberries, a peach tree and a cherry tree in the other, more decorative part of the garden. I had my own patch in our vegetable garden. I also grew some flowers, not only fruits and vegetables.

But I never realized that the mushrooms that grew in our front garden were actually edible. I found out a few years ago when I recognized the species online. I don't think we ever ate any store-bought mushrooms either.

Fast forward.

A few days ago, I harvested and ate the first mushrooms that I grew myself. They were better than the store-bought ones. Firmer and tastier. I also learned that once you harvest them, you'd better eat them right away. 

Growing your own

By the time I ate them, they were bigger than in this photo.

Growing my own mushrooms had been on my bucket list for a long time. I eventually want to be able to grow Agaricus augustus, a species I was fortunate enough to run into a few times in the wild. It's not supposed to be the easiest mushroom, though. And some other tasty species require you to have a garden, or some other suitable place in which you can keep your tree trunks. Why not start with the plain white mushrooms we are all familiar with?

So when I ran into a mushroom kit at the local Wilko a few weeks ago, I took note. It only costs £2. I went back a few days later to buy the mushroom kit and several packets of plant seeds.

For the first time in my life, I think, I also bought tomato plant seeds.

Today, I have twelve tomato plants that need to go into individual containers. They've grown to about 15 centimeters without much effort at all.

I've learned that the tricky part of growing your own food in containers is getting the moisture right. I've learned that I don't always water enough, that growing veggies and growing mushroom consume a lot of water, in contrast with house plants. But that's okay because the damage caused by over-watering is much harder to correct.

You know what is also good about growing some of your own food? Not only do you end up with less plastic waste, you can use a lot of the stuff that you normally have to throw away. Most of the plastic containers a lot of our food and drink comes in are perfect for growing food in.

The tomato plants will go into plastic bottles I would ordinarily have thrown into the recycling bin.

I also sprinkled some bee-friendly seeds outside a while ago, and then deliberately forgot about them. A few days ago, I saw that the abandoned little planter that belongs to one of my neighbors had been moved into a different spot. The seeds I had sprinkled into it had turned into pretty purple flowers all by themselves.

I'd tried to grow bee-friendly flowers before, but someone thought they were weeds and pulled them out. That's life. That's why, this time, I had decided to sprinkle the seeds here and there and then forget about them.

Seeing the pretty purple flowers reminded me of this quote by Thich Nhat Hanh.

When I decided to do nothing to make those little flowers grow, they did it all by themselves, helped along by a little rain. (I remember thinking "It's too dry. Unless it rains soon, those seeds will be lost.")