Everyone’s into vegies

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Nov Wk3

There’s been a remarkable resurgence in growing vegies and it seems that everyone, including Michelle Obama, is busy digging up the lawn, filling pots with mix, sowing seeds and making compost.

There are many reasons for this revival of interest. Partly it’s just the ‘swings and roundabouts’ of fashion – growing vegies has been out of favour, but their time has come again as we’ve realised what we’ve been missing.

Then there’s the GFC – even if you aren’t exactly poorer than before, it fits the prevailing theme to try and save money wherever possible. Growing your own vegies, especially from seed, is a lot cheaper than buying from the shops. It’s important, though, to plan properly so you don’t end up with too much of any one variety. If you’re only going to use one or two lettuce each week, that means sowing just a few at a time. Otherwise you’ll end up giving away much of your hard-grown produce to friends and neighbours.

Associated with harder times is the interest in what’s termed ‘cocooning’. This has seen many of us returning to valued past practices such as staying at home, eating in rather than going to restaurants, and spending time with family. In a recent Galaxy Research Report, 51% of those Australians surveyed nominated the backyard barbecue as their favourite form of entertaining. Growing one’s own food fits beautifully with the cocooning ethos.

The interest in growing food in the garden is reflected in the popularity of books and articles about home production. Yates Garden Guide, although first published in 1895, remains a consistent good seller. Yates Young Gardener, aimed at primary-school-aged children, has leapt to the top of the best seller list in its category in New Zealand and is expected to enjoy similar success in Australia this spring. These books have now been joined by Yates Garden Fresh Cookbook, which is filled with inspirational idea for using vegies, herbs and fruit grown from the home garden (and handling the excess). All three books are published by HarperCollins.

Just in time for the summer bean season, here’s one of the simple and delicious recipes from Yates Garden Fresh Cookbook (with special thanks to food writer Kate Fraser):


French beans with mustard dressing

Cook the beans in lightly salted boiling water until tender. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Add the honey and continue to heat. Stir in the mustard and heat until the mixture is smooth and hot. Keep warm. When the beans are cooked, drain and add the butter mixture immediately. Taste and add a little salt and pepper if desired.


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