Boyfriend vs. citrus fruits

June 16, 2008 at 2:12 pm 1 comment

I don’t normally buy Dorset Cereals muesli, even though they’re fab, cos M&S unsweetened is quite a bit cheaper and almost as nice, but secretly, I long to be a little bit richer (or a little bit more decadent) and eat it everyday because it is so yummy. However, Waitrose had lowered the price of some flavours and I bought some last week to save me a trip, and it had an offer to win some trendy, middle-class, Guardian-reading-type gardening tools. And I’m a bit of a sucker for offers like that, so I typed in the code on the website and didn’t win 😦 but it did have codes for discounts on various gardening websites.

The last two winters I have been eating locally as much as possible, and one thing I have learnt is that it is much easier to make the bulk of your diet local if you can rely on things like chillis, lemons, limes, garlic and ginger, none of which are particularly abundant in these climes in the depths of December, to jazz the cabbage-and-swede routine up a bit. I’ve not felt too guilty about eating the imported ones, but it did get me thinking about the possibility of growing some of these things myself, in a long-term, post-oil resilience sense.

Garlic should be fine (though I think my experiment with the stuff that sprouted in the veg rack might be doomed to failure) as in theory I can grow loads of it when I have my allotment and plait it artfully and hang it in my kitchen. I repeat, in theory. We do eat a lot of garlic.

I also recently bought a chilli plant, the particular variety (prairie fire) supposedly being good to keep as a perennial houseplant. This was inspired by some old family friends of Scientist Boyfriend who had an enormous chilli plant that was taller than me, living happily on their south-facing dining room windowsill. Mine is more modestly sized, but it does have little mini baby yellow chillis on it already. Eeeeee, so exciting! 😀 Someone from Downsizer also gave us another chilli plant (which I think produces rude-shaped chillis) which is outdoors atm as an experiment.

Ginger would need to be indoors according to my research and might not be as easy. Need greenhouse or polytunnel.

But lemons (and by extension limes)….

I went to a French cafe in London and they had a little lemon tree sitting in a pot on a cast-iron table and since that moment I’ve been obsessed with the idea of having a personal supply of lemons in my front room. It’s south-facing and quite warm and we have a little tiled spot in front of the fireplace where we could put it. However, Scientist Boyfriend is being a bit of a spoilsport and saying we don’t have room for one so he’s not going to buy me one for my birthday. Harrumph. We do have room for one by my estimate – I think he’s just worried it will block his view of the telly with its glossy, dark-green foliage.

And now this online gardening shop, where I have a 10% discount, has lemon trees for about £20. It also has an offer where you can buy a lemon tree, a bottle of gin and some tonic water, which, even though tonic water makes me violently ill,* appeals to my sense of self-sufficiency-in-the-name-of-good-living. (Sandi Toksvig was on The News Quiz only the other week bemoaning the rising price of lemons.) And they have bay trees (I also have a peculiar desire to have two bay trees either side of my front door, but people might mistake the house for an Italian restaurant). The bay trees could live outside, over which I definitively have dominion, so that’s not an issue, but….

Do I want a lemon tree enough to risk incurring the wrath of my beloved and long-suffering boyfriend?

* Had malaria, was given quinine, now a mere whiff of tonic water conjures up horrible flashbacks of being in a dingy clinic in Burkina Faso and makes me double up in agonising queasiness.


Entry filed under: food, victory garden. Tags: , .

Where now? Independence days update…

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Michelle  |  June 16, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Why stop at lemons? The reason we haven’t got one is because I still can’t decide between lime, lemon, orange and grapefruit!


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Most recent ramblings

June 2008
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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."

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