Sunday, 21 February 2010
The hungry gap.
Things are looking pretty grim up the plot at the moment. The ground is still far too cold and wet to get on with anything and apart from leeks and parsnips I don't have anything much to harvest. The sprouts and kale are finished, the purple sprouting broccoli shows no sign of sprouts purple or otherwise and the continuing cold weather means that the spring greens are going to be late this year. This is the time of year that the old country folk called the "hungry gap", and not without good reason. Of course it doesn't make a lot of odds to me. After all, the shops are full of reasonably priced vegetables and I'm not strapped for cash. It was a very different matter for the traditional cottage dweller of the past; people for whom self-sufficiency was not a hobby and a way of accumulating greenie points, but a matter of survival. Mucking about with organic growing, producing some of our own food and experimenting with self-sufficiency is great fun, incredibly satisfying and if you have the land, can make a big contribution to the family budget but just remember - without the industrial and chemical advances of modern agriculture this would be a matter of life or death.