Meghan Lambert

Seed Guardian

Meghan Lambert. Photo: Sara Heitlinger
Meghan Lambert. Photo: Sara Heitlinger

I am lucky enough to have a lovely, decent sized garden with a big veg patch and lots of sunshine. I have very little experience gardening. I moved house so now I have this garden. This year was the first year that I really tried to go all out. I have a six year old and I want him to understand and learn about where our food comes from and how it gets to our table, and the whole process from the very beginning to the end. Also for myself as well since I’ve lived in cities my whole life, and sometimes I forget. And also because I have the space, so I feel like I have a responsibility to make the most of it.

My Story

About

Meghan Lambert, Seed Guardian, Hackney
I am lucky enough to have a lovely, decent size garden with a big veg patch and lots of sunshine. I have very little experience gardening. I moved house so now I have this garden. This year was the first year that I really tried to go all out.

Why I grow my own food
I have a 6 year old and I want him to understand and learn about where our food comes from and how it gets to our table, and the whole process from the very beginning to the end. Also for myself as well since I’ve lived in cities my whole life, and sometimes I forget. And also because I have the space, so I feel like I have a responsibility to make the most of it. And actually it’s kind of a hobby now. And it’s good to spend time outside, to have an excuse even on a cold day.

Why I save seed
Just the fact that we can save our own seeds and grow our food for the next year from those seeds. That’s so so basic that it’s absolutely incredible, and very easy to take for granted. I guess just one seed becomes this kind of sacred potential in so many different ways. So I’ve been inspired and now I’m collecting as many seeds as I can.

Connection between growing and my heritage
My Dad always says that my Granddad was the first Irish man to grow peaches in Ireland. And then my Granny would always have loads of rhubarb in her garden and she’d have tomatoes in her greenhouse. When my Gran passed away I spent a week going through everything in our house and sorting everything out. It was in the summertime, in August, so we spent a lot of time in the garden. There was this big rhubarb. My Mum wasn’t there (this was my Mum’s mother) and I remember bringing the rhubarb back to London, and baking rhubarb crumble for my Mum, and all of us, for dinner one night and it felt like we were eating there with my Gran. Because this was one of her favourite vegetables.

Hear from Meghan

How I feel when I’m working in the garden.
One thing that has become very apparent is just how relaxing it is. Sometimes if you feel a bit of stress and if you practice a bit of meditation and yoga, yeah that will be helpful. But sometimes it feels like a lot of effort to try and just clear your mind or still your mind or just observe the chaos of your mind. Whereas with gardening it’s completely effortless. You just start gardening and all of a sudden you enter a whole new way of being, a different realm, and it’s almost as if stresses and your daily life gets put to the side and you get to be very present and you get to exist in a different way that is very enjoyable. I feel very alive. I feel connected to family and people, and myself, and my son in a different way when I’m in this garden space, and this different mindset.

Pumpkin and Squash

Info

Pumpkins and squash, also known as cucurbits, were first cultivated in the Americans and are now grown around the world for their edible fruit and seed. The fruits are good sources of vitamin A and...
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How to grow
The pumpkin was bigger than a human head. I knew that I needed a lot of space, but I didn’t know how much space I needed. It became this big tangle. It was one of the sunniest spots of the raised bed. From seedling I dug a little hole and planted it there and that was that. It was actually very low maintenance. It became massive very quickly so we hardly even noticed it, the pumpkin itself and went away on holiday in August for 2 weeks and came back and it was big.

Meghan on Pumpkin

Recipe
We had pumpkin soup for a few days. I fried onions in coconut oil and then added chopped up pumpkin and cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of salt and a bit of pepper. Fresh coriander. Blend it up. It was good.

How to save seed
When we were preparing the pumpkin to eat I scooped the seeds out, put them in a pot and let them soak overnight, then put them in the strainer. They were still quite slimy and didn’t dry off for ages so then I put them in the oven, on really low temperature to dry them off.

Tomato

Meghan's tomatoes. Photo: Meghan Lambert

Info

Tomatoes belong to the nightshade family, and originate from Central and South America. They are easy to grow from seed, and can be grown in any size garden providing they are in a warm, sheltered...
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Where the seeds came from
These are dark cherry tomatoes. The seeds were given to me by a friend last year.

How to grow
I planted the seeds in March in a small pot just slightly underneath a bit of soil. Then I put them in my little shed in the garden with big glass windows. Although it’s still cold outside at that time of year, it’s a bit like a greenhouse. After a couple of weeks they started to grow. Then I took the little seedlings, potted them individually, and then left them in there again. I’d water them every day or every second day. When they were about 6 inches tall I put them in a bigger pot until they were 20cm tall, and then I planted them out. I chose the sunniest, warmest spot of the garden and planted each one with 30cm between each plant. So they were in the raised bed with new compost and soil that had been mixed and left to rest for 6 weeks or so.

Every so often I’d pick the sprouting bits that come between each stalk. They all grew very well. After a few weeks I put bamboo, loosely tied a bit of string, to make sure they were growing up straight and had support. And about 3 months later you could see little hairs and you could smell the tomatoes. Then in August there were hundreds of tomatoes. We went away on holiday for 2 weeks and when we came back they were all red and ready to eat.

Meghan on Tomatoes

Recipe
They were delicious. They tasted so good that you could eat them all on their own. A little bit of olive oil, a little bit of salt and occasionally I’d cook them. Some of them were still green when they fell off, and those ones I’d cook up and sometimes eat with feta or rice. When you grow your own things it’s nice to eat the food in a very simple way.

How to save seed
I cut the tomatoes in half and took the seeds out so that I could still eat the rest of the tomato. I soaked the seeds for a couple of hours, then put them in a strainer under the water, washed off the outer bits of tomato and then spread them out on a tissue and left them out in the sunshine to dry.