The Stopwatch Gardener

A gardening blog from Sheila M. Averbuch

Can gardening and cooking be multitasked?


Click for larger imageI love the weekly Gardener’s Question Time show on BBC radio, and this afternoon’s episode was made extra memorable by an older man asking how “to get my gardening-mad wife to come inside and make my dinner.” Putting the eye-watering sexism aside, it truly is difficult to be the gardener and the chief cooker of meals in a family — especially with young kids who need to eat early, as those few golden afternoon hours are just the time you need to be cooking.

I had to do some serious garden-kitchen multitasking yesterday to finish a major job, relocating and replanting sidalcea, lavender, helianthemum, stachys, alchemilla conjuncta, osmanthus davidii, and a rose that I’m giving one last chance before I trash it. Thank God for roast chicken. If I leave it uncovered and have enough water at the bottom, I can get on with jobs and only run back inside once to baste it. The lowest maintenance “proper” meal I’ve managed is roasted lamb chops with baked potatoes, since it all cooks together in a hot oven. But I need more options! Not easy when catering for a sauce-phobic four-year-old and a three-year-old hater of mashed potatoes. A Canadian friend says the only way she keeps her household together is by menu planning. I’m starting to see why.

One of the last and dirtiest jobs yesterday was moving the rose — a David Austin William Shakespeare 2000. I’m so glad I did, because I realised how miserable it was in the border. Stones had stopped its taproot, which had curled back up into the base of the plant. It had some good fibrous roots, and I root-pruned it to encourage more of these, as its new home is in a half whiskey barrel. Robert Mattock Roses has more advice on root pruning here and here for anyone wanting to grow the English roses in pots.

11 Comments to

“Can gardening and cooking be multitasked?”

  1. On October 19th, 2009 at 10:18 am Teresa O Says:

    I’ve never thought much about multi-tasking when it came to gardening and cooking. The two always seemed to go hand in hand, especially in the summer months. Getting big jobs done often came at the expense of meals, but the crock pot helped on those occasions. If I was lucky, we might end up with pizza after the tiring day.

    Beautiful blog!

  2. On October 19th, 2009 at 12:59 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    good idea Teresa — they call them slow cookers over here — my friend has one, and I really should get one and get some recipes.

  3. On October 19th, 2009 at 2:48 pm Tweets that mention The Stopwatch Gardener » Blog Archive » Can gardening and cooking be multitasked? -- Says:

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  4. On October 19th, 2009 at 7:08 pm elephant's eye Says:

    Like Teresa, we have also wimped out and had pizza, when the garden ate the day. I love the way your blog looks. Fun (and it doesn’t make me wait for ever for gee whiz side effects)

  5. On October 19th, 2009 at 10:21 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Thank you both so much for the kind comments about the blog design — I owe it to my WordPress-savvy husband and the guys at Fission Creative. Re pizza…I am so jealous! He may know WordPress but my husband is gluten intolerant, so we are a pizza-free zone. Alas.

  6. On October 22nd, 2009 at 4:02 pm Tatyana Says:

    I think I am lucky to have a husband who is The Cook Number One in the family. You manage to do a lot in one day! I am afraid even to think about moving several of my roses from pots to the ground, since it takes a lot of time and a pickaxe to dig a hole.

  7. On October 22nd, 2009 at 4:27 pm The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    I have two cornus I haven’t put into the ground yet for the same reason! The rose transfer was easier — I was taking it out of the ground and putting it into a container. It left a nice big hole in the border which let me pop in some new things. Much easier than the other way around!

  8. On October 25th, 2009 at 12:39 pm Flowers Says:

    Not sure, if gardening and cooking be multitasked but I have grown edible flowers in my garden. enjoyed your blog very much.

  9. On January 6th, 2011 at 7:29 pm florist Says:

    Multi-tasking one of the best things in the world , cooking and gardening, lovely. I can’t do that , but wht I do when I am cooking something like that, I do put water but cover it as well, because I think if you leave it open the water doesn’t stay for longer, anyway lovely blog , really enjoyed what’s written.

  10. On March 24th, 2011 at 10:17 am modeflowers Says:

    Gardening and cooking can be done at the same time but it depends on what you are cooking on. But if you cook something that needs gradual supervision, gardening should be left behind. But usually it depends on a person how he/she manages his/her time. Its a matter of time management and prioritization.

  11. On March 24th, 2011 at 10:36 am The StopWatch Gardener Says:

    Hi modeflowers – I rarely make slow-cooking things I can just leave in the oven, so find I need to rely on forward menu planning and readying ingredients — even just putting everything into a bowl on the counter, so I can run in and start cooking when it’s time.

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