It’s a week for food and family here at LUPO HQ. To follow on from Kats blog about the abundance of fresh food growing up in a croatian family I’d like to take you on a tour of our veggie garden. Dave and I spent many years in rental houses, we only had small gardens available for herbs and a tomato plant or two. After building our own home 5 years ago, we were left with the question ‘what do we replace these weeds with?’ We both shared a love of fresh ingredients combined with Dave’s passion for gardening and his family history growing food, it was no stretch to create an edible garden. We have seven garden beds covering the back of our yard with a retaining wall garden running around the back perimeter with additional space for growing fruit and veggies. We have a gorgeous selection of fruits growing – raspberries, strawberries, boysenberries, passionfruit, lemons, oranges, limes, fejoas, rockmelons and kiwis. Our summer vegetable crop consists of six different varieties of tomatoes, 3 varieties of cucumbers, zucchinis, two types of capsicum, beet greens, spinach, lettuce, three varieties of olives, two types of chillies, butternut pumpkin, button squash, spring onions, kale and chard. I have a range of herbs that I often pick and use fresh from the garden: sage, oregano, thyme, parsley, basil, bay, mint and rosemary. All superbly fragrant. All add nutrients and delicate flavours to your cooking. You may wonder why we bother when there are so many supermarkets around. We are conscious of what we put into our bodies. Growing our own food enables control over the environment – we don’t use pesticides or herbicides or non organic fertilisers. We work with the soil, the bees and seasons. We are reminded daily of where our food comes from and the effort needed to sustain ethical growing practices. We’re raising our daughter to know where her food comes from. She can often be found rustling through the strawberry patch searching out her sweet red bounty, you can see the juices dribbling down her chin as she holds up her chubby little hand, generously offering you one – albeit a little smushy. Growing your own food takes time, knowledge, experimenting and patience. We’re constantly learning. The effort you put in now will reward you tenfold in the months to come. Learn as much as you can about creating ideal soil conditions, complementary planting, seed saving and the best planting times for your area. It takes up a lot of time and it’s not always easy but it’s well worth the reward of fresh, pesticide free produce, used still warm from the suns caress. Tell us about your veggie patch, what do you grow? If you’d like hear more from us sign up for our newsletter.