"Why are you planting okra? We don't eat okra"
"But it grows well in our climate'
"But we don't eat okra."
'Well, we might ..."
Over the years I've had many such conversations with my husband. After paying a huge sum of money for our little block of land, I was determined that every plant would have to earn its keep, installing only useful plants and harbouring fantasies of self-sufficiency (I blame too many episodes of The Good Life as a child).
Of course, we never ate the okra. Or the Malabar spinach. Or the Brazilian cherries (it turns out there are two definitions of edible plants: 1. good to eat and 2. not actually poisonous. The Brazilian cherries were number 2. Disgusting!)
The evolution of my garden has been marked by a slow unravelling of my delusions:
I just need to find the right way to cook it.
Next year I'll spray for pests/mildew, etc.
This time I'll water it properly.
I know it says only suitable for cold climates, but I'm sure that's just a guideline.....
So many shattered hopes. So many dead plants.
I'm finally being honest with myself about the limits of my time and the enormity of my laziness. The fruit-fly besieged trees have been ripped out. A Darwinian approach has eliminated the inappropriate and delicate plants. I now focus on plants that give me the best yield for the least effort, and most importantly, are things that we actually like to eat - mulberries, figs, passionfruit, asparagus, and masses of herbs that thrive on neglect and enhance every meal I cook.
Although, maybe an apple tree? I hear they have low-chill varieties, and I really will check for coddling moth, I swear...,