Eating Out

So, the other day we took a little break from the bus for a photo shoot.

I was merrily doing my thing, building a new garden, when I heard ‘TULI!! LOOK UP HERE! I looked up to see Henri, photographer extraordinaire, with huge camera mounted on impressive tripod with a…towel?…thrown over his head and camera – like the old school guys, like everyone knows you should have if you’re the real deal, as Henri obviously is.

Well he got me posing for about fifteen minutes…until I fell into the Mulberry bush. Too much prancing.

Anyway after that we just ate mulberries together and while I was tempted to call the kids and have some much coveted family time, I reconsidered and it was just the fella and I dining out.

I loved this day. Everyone is away at the moment and I am living on this property like it is my own. This is my dream life. Living on land among fruiting trees, digging in the garden, surrounded by ducks. So I’ve been living it for the last week or so. This is the good life. Dreams may yet come true. ;) This day they were alive and kicking.

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This garden is attempt #2. I had an absolute failure with my first attempt. I learned a few things. 1) This soil in this climate does not require much drainage, 2) definitely more poo needed (duck poo, that is), 3) mulch, mulch, mulch, 4) I need to encourage worms.

In between attempt #1 and attempt #2 I read a great book by Esther Dean about the no-dig gardening method, a similar concept is also known as lasagna gardening. I realised that in my first attempt I had marginalised the worms and good grubs needed to get my soil going. I hadn’t fed my soil with either lucerne mulch or manure of any kind (though I had planted broad beans, which unfortunately suffered due to some weed killing done in a nearby area, not by me of course – I hardly endorse any use of chemicals in a garden!). I hadn’t mulched either. The garden suffered. In fact it looked like a desert!

It’s funny, our obsession with ripping out weeds. Weeds are usually natures (God’s?) soil savers, Mallow, Dandelion, Plantain all take root where nothing else is growing, they send down their deep roots and draw water and nutrients up into the uppermost layers of the soil where other plants can access it. They are called ‘rescue weeds’, they rescue barren soil. We see them, us know-it-all humans, and rip them up as they do not fulfill our ideals of flat, uniform lawns or edged and formal garden plots. As we do this we rob the soil of its life savers and if the soil is deficit so will our ‘wanted’ plants be deprived. The fact is, we do not know what we want. It’s like the woman who tries to change her husband and when she finally ‘breaks’ him she realises that she did not actually want him to change (not that I have any experience in that…yes). We should want what nature provides us with and if we seek to understand it then we will be in a far better position than if we try to force nature into our moulds.

Well, I did it. I ripped out too many weeds, I forced this patch of dirt into a mould of mine. I had an idea and I created it, but because it did not fit in with nature’s needs it failed. It totally F minus flunked.

But I’m trying again and I’m trying to be more aware of what is already happening around me to fit what I am doing into it and not vice versa. I am hoping that layers of mulch, duck manure, good soil and more mulch will draw the worms up. I am hoping that more plants all together will thrive this time around.

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