Wednesday 17 January 2018

'It's all about involving the kids' - Stephen Keague

Food blogger Stephen Keague
Food blogger Stephen Keague

Stephen Keague is a food-loving, gardening, hen-keeping, home-cooking blogger. Originally from Meath but now living in Tipperary with his wife and two young children, he believes that food is not just about eating, it's a journey.

It's all about the ingredients – growing them, rearing them, preparing them, cooking them, appreciating and enjoying them.

Where do you GIY?

We grow in raised beds, a small greenhouse, a tiny orchard (which my girls call 'Fruit Forest'), inhabited by the hens – all in our back garden.

Why do you GIY?

Many reasons, but primarily it started when I became a father, now with two wonderful young girls. I wanted to get the kids out of the house and involved in the garden, sowing seeds, watering and harvesting what they grow.

I want my girls to understand and appreciate the time and effort that goes into growing food and that it doesn't just arrive by magic on to the shelves of supermarkets.

Growing healthy food for my family, without the use of pesticides and chemicals and reducing food miles, is important to me.

I think it's important that people take some responsibility and try to provide some of their own food, no matter how small.

What do you grow?

We grow lots of salad leaves, peas, sweetcorn, courgettes, purple sprouting broccoli, beetroot, asparagus, tomatoes, rosemary, mint, basil, parsley, chives, oregano, bay, sage, apples, plums, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, blackcurrant, gooseberries, rhubarb and strawberries.

Impressive. So which one is your favourite?

Tomatoes, definitely.

And your least favourite?

Brussel sprouts.

Your favourite GIYing moment each year?

My favourite moment each year is spring when I can finally get back into the garden after a long winter, with plans, great enthusiasm and lots of work to do for the growing season ahead.

Your most useful gardening tool?

Probably the spade, because it is versatile and I tend to use it a lot.

What do you know now about GIYing that you didn't know last year?

Don't be too rigid in when and how you plant things. If something works for you then stick with it, there are no hard and fast rules. Instructions on seed packets and in books are for guidance – people, gardens, soil and weather differ; there is no "one fits all" rule. I also learned that GIY is a community for support, sharing thoughts, experiences and ideas with like-minded people interested in growing and eating real food.

Our finest hour in the veg patch was when ...

We had our first complete meal containing everything from the garden and the smiles on our girl's faces, brimming with pride that they had helped, too.

Which 'Good Life' cast member are you?

I have heard about it, but have never seen it on TV – a little before my time, perhaps...

Catch up with Stephen’s blog on

Irish Independent

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