Note the #12feetchallenge is described at the bottom of this post but it is related to the words in between.
Last year I made a Film with Kevin Ahern of Sage restaurant about his 12 mile ethos and we called the short film 12 MILE of course. If you haven`t seen it you will find it here. https://vimeo.com/102873475
Irish TV covered Sage restaurant recently and you find an interview with Kevin & Reidin along with some clips from 12 MILE here http://www.irishtv.ie/cork-matters-66ally
I was so inspired by this notion of sourcing local food I decided to take it a little further and to grow some food myself this year. Kevin jokingly referred to it as my #12 feet menu. I grew a number of herbs and root veg but my main aim with my plants were to grow things that suited my lifestyle and our climate. Namely I don`t have much time on my hands for gardening or maintenance of the garden, so the main criteria was that the plants I grew must
1) Grow easily
2) Not require looking after (maintenance)
3) Grows in our climate, does not require a polytunnel or greenhouse. (My climate is a southern Irish county close to the gulf stream, Cork).
Five things I can recommend from my experimental growing are the following
1) Inca Berries pictured above are from the Andes mountains so our colder climate does suit them. I started them indoors from seed and then planted the young plants out late spring and they needed absolutely no looking after plus they did crop some lovely golden berries. It also did not get attacked by any pests and di not need any organic pest repellents.The Incaberry is a small fruit with a glossy orange-yellow skin that is surrounded by papery leaves. Once the fruit is dried it has a distinctive bronze orange colour. Incaberries are an amazing taste sensation – sweet with a fine and delicate sour finish. The taste is so unique, you just have to try them. It may look exotic but it is top of my list of must grow fruits for Ireland.
2) New Zealand spinach, this is a spinach variety from New Zealand funnily enough, was first mentioned by Captain Cook. It was immediately picked, cooked, and pickled to help fight scurvy, and taken with the crew of the Endeavour. This is again a plant that thrives in Ireland, it needs no looking after once planted out after raising from seed It is a prolific producer of tasty leaves and it has no pests in this country so again I didn’t have to use any of my garlic and chilli spray to protect it. See my recipe inspired by my 12 feet home grown New Zealand spinach here
3) Courgettes: A prolific producer, courgette plants are a definite in my garden again next year, courgettes need very little looking after, I did use my garlic spray to combat the mildew common to courgette but mildew or not the plants kept producing courgettes regularly for quite a few months.
4) Mint: Mint is obviously a herb but it grows easy like a weed requiring no looking after, a real no brainer garden plant that is infinitely useful in the kitchen.
5) Nastursiums: These again originate from the Andes mountains and they are just a magical gift to any garden, not only are they edible top to toe you can ,make a caper substitute from the seeds see my pickled nastursium seed jar in the photo. But they grow so so easily and they look great. Why I ever grew a lawn of grass before and not nastursiums I`ll never understand.
This year I aim to experiment more with organic seeds we all can aquire from Madeleine McKeever at http://www.brownenvelopeseeds.com/
Madeleine is selling some great Christmas presents in the form of beautiful box sets of seeds such as “Kitchen Garden” “Baby’s first dinner” and more.
I can also recommend the Irish seed savers if you are thinking of buying garlic its where I bought my garlic to plant this year and they offer a very prompt delivery service. http://irishseedsavers.ie/
Finally I would like to invite any growers or chefs around the country (or elsewhere for that matter) to partake in the #12 feet project/challenge this coming year 2016
the aim is to
- Grow the plants described in and around 12 feet from your house, restaurant, polytunnels.
- Then create a dish/dishes to use one or more of the vegetables, as you prefer.
- Please send me a tweet to @atasteofireland to let me know you are taking on the challenge and tweet me the pics of your plants growing this year and dishes.
- Finally if you are a chef in Ireland and take on the challenge I will photograph the dishes and put it into a book and I will make a short film about it if a number of you take part.
Please do support
when buying seeds for this challenge
please do follow us on twitter @atasteofireland
for more content like this.
All all video (with exception of Irish TV piece) and photographic content (with exception of Madeleine McKeever photo) is copyright of Sean Monaghan www.atasteof-ireland.com 2015.