A new tiny garden, mango-lemonade frappes and pretentious post title.Back in the days when I had more time to read for leisure than presently available (backpacking through Europe in my early twenties, devouring books in bars and on trains perhaps?) I read a book with this title. By John Berendt if you need to know. It is, surprisingly, a work of non-fiction, filled with enough ‘southern’ charm, eccentricity and wit to stay with you long after you turn that last page.
Memories can be a wonderful thing.
Today Kid and I started a little garden on our back patio, in the hopes of growing some herbs and vegetables on one hand, but also as one of those activities that we can do together, succeed or fail, and look back on one day and say ‘Hey, remember when?’
Much like cooking really.Let me preface all this firstly with ‘I am not a gardener.’ I don’t know much about gardening. My mum does and talks about it a bit so any knowledge I may bring to this game has been obtained through osmosis only. And maybe a couple of Gardening Australia episodes.
We are open to suggestions.
So we begin, as with all things – books, a new recipe, life – at the beginning. A quick trip to the hardware and garden shops for supplies. There are all sorts of little DIY kits available. The wooden palette was already at our house. In fact the wooden palette started this whole thing. The moment I saw it, ‘hanging herb garden’ popped into mind.
Who else here hates spending 3 bucks on a bunch of herb just to use a third of it and bin the rest a few days later?*
Once the planter box is assembled, rocks are scavenged from the vacant grassland at the end of the street. For drainage? I think?Soil, compost, mulch and fertiliser are next. Then the planting can begin.
We are amateurs as I said. It’s probably not even the right season to plant. Whatever. Sometimes you’ve just got to scratch that itch, huh?
Seedlings? Because they’re ready now. I can already see the potential. Learn to walk before you run. Or something.
Besides I’m worried I’ll lose interest with seeds. I have however, ordered some heirloom vegetable seeds on-line for future endeavours.We’ve chosen capsicums, beefsteak tomatoes, snow peas and our chilli plant for the box. In the hanging herb garden we’ve gone for rosemary, thyme, coriander and Viet mint. Basil and mint will join them shortly.
All of this hard work in these sweltering conditions (38*c, saturating humidity) calls for a cool, refreshing drink.
Fresh Mango,Passionfruit and Lemonade Frappe.
1 big, ripe mango – skinned and chopped roughly.
350ml good lemonade – frozen into cubes
3 passionfruit- pulped.
Blitz the mango and lemonade ice cubes until slushy. A vitamiser or small juice blender is good. Add the passionfruit, shake and serve.
They say you should never eat anything bigger than your own head. This mango came very close. I only used half of it in the end. And nothing is quite like the texture of a frozen lemonade ice-cube.
What Kid Did.
Not just what Kid did, but what Kid will do. As well as the initial excitement of the planting and rock collecting etc… Kid will now have watering the plants added firmly to her ‘to do’ list. This means the plants will get watered but she will also be in constant connection with our project. Seeing what’s working and isn’t. With any luck watching those first little capsicums grow into something crunchy on her plate. Seeing a little more of how food works and where it comes from.
Imagine that? How exciting! I can’t wait to just walk out the back door and grab a few leaves of what I need for a recipe or pluck a tomato off the vine.
Vine. Ah. I’m not so sure I’ve thought this through now. Maybe the vines will grow up the palette? Maybe?
*I once bought the last bunch of coriander from my local fruit shop. I heard the customer behind me ask if there was coriander left. There was not. I was holding the last bunch. I more than happily pulled my bunch in half and gave the rest over. I didn’t even ask for a dollar-fifty!
To all the farmers to whom this is not just a fun novelty trick, but a way of life. A tiring, unpredictable, difficult and often un-rewarding way of life. At the constant mercy of mother nature. Respect and thanks to you. How often we take for granted the abundance of fresh produce at our disposal.
As a kid on holidays to Toowoomba each year, Dad would stop the station wagon at each and every road side fruit stall in the Lockyer Valley so Mum could pick over every bit of produce to find the best gear to take home. Ever heard of a Potkin? Thanks Mum and Dad.
Thanks also to John Berendt for a great read and a great title for my article.