Gardening: The mobile holiday garden

By Justin Newcombe

Lettuce. Photo / Supplied
Lettuce. Photo / Supplied

Leaving the confines of your daily routine and heading off on a well-deserved break is an undisputed highlight for most people at this time of year. The benefits of upping sticks and heading off to the bach or camping ground are well known; if you've got your head screwed on right you'll be leaving all of those communications gadgets at home and revelling in a couple of weeks of unavailability. Instead of taking your mobile phone with you, consider taking a mobile vege garden so that you needn't miss out on fresh salad greens and herbs.

If your garden is in its full summer flourish (as it probably will be at the moment before the dry weather and gardening lethargy sets in), then the thought of buying an inferior or overpriced lettuce at your holiday destination isn't exactly festive. With a little forethought you can successfully supplement your holiday menu with a little home grown. I will concede that it probably takes a high degree of dedication to pull these organisational details off on the back of packing up everyone's needs for an extended period.

If you're up for the challenge though, the obvious place to start is herbs. Summer favourites such as basil, tarragon, mint, rosemary and thyme are all hardy individuals that will cope well with the trip in the car and a little bit of neglect at the camping ground. It's best to take plants that are already established in pots. Clearly portability is a must so light plastic ones are best (or even the long, skinny planter boxes). If you have a thriving bay tree or rosemary bush, hack off a few stems and take them as freshly dried herbs to add to your barbecuing endeavours (rosemary sticks make great skewers once you take the leaves off). If you're feeling really determined you could even take a couple of chilli plants in small pots.

The other tried and true method of taking your garden on holiday with you is the polystyrene box, the ones used to package perishable items like seafood. The shallower ones work best to transport from place to place. A little preparation will be needed for this one as you'll want to get the lettuces or salad greens comfortable in their new home before you leave. Once in the car they will need to be settled in a shady place. There's nothing particularly difficult involved here except perhaps finding enough space in the car to accommodate what will probably become a contentious piece of luggage as the packing (and holiday) progresses. Inter-personal disputes aside though you can bask in the knowledge that at the end of the day when you're just too relaxed to even consider cooking you can fix yourself a nice bit of lettuce on toast.

- NZ Herald

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