Anonymous Interviews: GROWING AND SOURCING FOOD – 2.2

2.2 Do you grow any of your own food (backyard or community garden?) If so, what sorts of foods do you grow? Why do you like growing your own food?

Participant: I grow my own vegetables. Mostly vegetables, not fruit. Anything from tomatoes, zucchinis, didn’t have much success with zucchinis. Eggplants, beans, green beans, herbs and capsicums. I’ve got a ton of chillies, so I’ve got two or three chilli trees.

Participant: I had a garden but I just recently had to redo it because we had some drainage problems with water around the garden. So I did have a garden. We had, believe it or not, watermelons, watermelons. They’re this amazing vine and they were everywhere. We had watermelons this big [shows]. It’s just amazing. It takes three or four months to grow. It was in the summer. At first, it was amazing having your own watermelon. I did it because I could never do this in Slovenia, so I have to do this. I had my own lettuces, tomatoes. Tomatoes are easy to grow. I had leeks, and basically it was quite a lot. It’s a lot of work having your own garden because you have to make sure that there’s no pests. Then you have to redo the garden every season, get it out. With a small child I find it quite challenging. But it was amazing, just picking strawberries. We had tons of strawberries everywhere. And they were the best strawberries I had in my life. The benefit is you know where it comes from, it’s fresh, you can literally eat it off the vine. The benefits are endless. You’re just getting organised, getting it planted and then looking after it. And it’s worth it.

Participant: We grow numerous vegetables. Lettuce, we grow chillies, a lot of fruit, strawberries, peaches, grapes on my grandpa’s property. We’ve got a cherry tree, we’ve got apple trees. We got this new fruit, khaki. My grandpa has khakis. We also grow cucumbers and paprikas and all sorts of things, onions. [Interviewer: Do you enjoy it? Why do you like growing?] My mum and dad and my grandparents are very into growing their things because from their background they were both farm. Everyone was farmers in this family and it’s something that they do. My grandpa especially, he loves being outside because he’s now retired. He always goes outside, always doing something, always picking this and it. You do see the difference in taste when you grow your own stuff and it’s a big thing to do with pleasure and to do with a hobby. My dad loves it as well. That’s what he did in the past and he was always going to do it in the future.

Participant: We just built a new area to grow more fruit and vegetables. I like growing a lot of herbs as well so I built a herb garden. My dad loves gardening so it’s a fun thing for him to do. We have a lot of vegetables in our backyard. I like knowing where my vegetables come from. I like that it’s fresh. You can go into the garden and pick something that you’ve watched grow and that you’ve helped grow. It’s nice to cook with the produce that you’ve grown.

Participant: At the moment, I don’t have an opportunity to grow my own vegetables, but in the future, I hope it’s going to change and I will have a chance to have my own vegetables in the garden. [Interviewer: And what it will be?] Parsley, carrots and probably tomato, lettuce, and that’s it.

Participant: We grow tomatoes.

Participant: We grow just some herbs, spices and tomatoes. [Interviewer: Why do you like growing your own food?] It’s just very handy, and you have fresh food, which is completely different, it adds different taste to the dish.

Participant: I do. Not as much as I used to. There would be a lot of vegetables, we have a vegetable garden at home. There’ll be lettuce, tomatoes, possibly zucchini sometimes. Mum and dad have two lemon trees. There’s also lots of lemons, fruits, mandarin, grapes, there’s a lot of that type of food as well available that we have. They’ll be mixed in with other things we buy as well but depending on the season.

Participant: [Interviewer: Why do you like growing your own food?] It’s an achievement. Not a lot of people grow their own these days. They just go to a supermarket or a greengrocer, but it’s the achievement as well of picking your own vegetables that you grow.

Participant: No. I don’t have time for a veggie patch.

Participant: We do. We’ve got boxes above the ground and we grow vegetables in there. It’s mainly summer things like tomatoes, beans, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, rocket, we had pumpkin one year, basil, parsley.

Participant: [Interviewer: Do you have also your own garden?] Very big one. [Interviewer: Why do you grow your own food?] Because we don’t spray. We don’t spray and is entirely different. I’ve still got this year tomato. Now, he pull everything out but I put it in the container in the fridge and I still keep it.

Participant: Mostly we grow vegetables such as green salad that would be all through the year, and then get season vegetables. Herbs. It is convenient to grow those because you get to have them on daily basis. Firstly you know that it’s fresh produce and comes straight from your garden. Then with the seasonal food, winter would be spinach, some kale, broccoli. I also sometimes have cauliflower, carrots would be all year round. Then you’ve got spring veggies such as spring salad. Then comes into the summer with the cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicums, chillies, basil, that would be all through the year. Parsley you’ve got all through the year. Horseradish is something that we grow.

Participant: I only have lemon tree at the moment, but that would be nice because we have two balconies. You can still do it. It’s balconies good spot to sit. I was surprised when I find a community here I live in [name of the town], just near [name of the town]. Once student people organise such event like growing food and preparing food. They show us knowledge for free. You have two guys for agriculture. Then you have a step there, they show how to seed, they do steps there, then people prepared a vegetable, then I just try vegetable. Then I step 3, 4, 5 metres have knowledge from the eggs, which eggs are the best to use, how much goes there. This kind of education, because only education can save humanity now. The right way is always about education. Every time you met someone, every person have knowledge in their self. We have knowledge but we are just oppressed from the system, is not the right system.

Participant: Yes, I’ve got a veggie patch. I usually grow the salad all year round and the spices, definitely lots of spices. Tomatoes and sometimes I tried potatoes but I wasn’t very lucky with them. I do have vegetables all-round the year. I have the little radishes, and then I have cauliflower and broccoli, tomatoes, green peppers, peas which doesn’t grow the best at my place and the red… “rdeča pesa” [beetroot]. Beetroot. I always have that, and occasionally carrots, cucumbers. Even I tried with the eggplants, so trying different veggies. Right now I’ve got endive and spices are still there and rocket, dandelion and kale.

Participant: No, no, we don’t have garden. If I had the house, I would.

Participant: Yes. Just in the backyard. [Interviewer: What sort of food do you grow?] Generally things like vegetables, zucchini, beetroots, spinach or silver beet… Tomatoes, shallots, that kind of things. [Interviewer: Why do you like growing your own food?] It’s fresh. Taste. The taste is magic. It’s a bit of therapy.

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2.3 Do you grow any foods that are important to your Slovenian heritage? Answers.

See also:
1 Culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
2 Growing and sourcing food (see Questions and Answers)
3 Digital technologies for communicating culinary heritage (see Questions and Answers)
4 Connecting with other Slovenian Australians (see Questions and Answers)
5 Identity (see Questions and Answers)
6 Conclusion (participants’ ideas) (see Questions and Answers)

This is a website of a research project exploring digital technologies for communicating the culinary heritage of Slovenian Australians in collaboration with the University of Canberra under the 2015 Endeavour Fellowship Programme (PDR).