The Joy of Gardening III

05 September 2013
"When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” - Minnie Aumonier

Last year, I had a (small) veggie garden for the first time. I built a lasagna garden within some old beds in our garden, and planted a few herbs and lettuces as space would allow. It was a moderate success.

Some of the veggies did well - the rocket and basil went particularly feral - others not so much; the beds were in the shade of a large wattle tree and didn't get enough sun; also, I stated full time work in October, so really didn't have the time or energy needed to put in the work needed to keep the garden flourishing. Autumn came, most everything died off except the mint and parsely (a word of warning; mint will take over the whole garden if you don't watch it) and that was that.

Until a winter storm blew the tree down, and I took a voluntary redundancy, and I found myself with a massive potential garden bed on my hands and the time to fill it. But first it would need work...a lot of work. It was a 5 metre long, 2 metre wide patch of land that had been under a wattle tree and overgrown for years, and it would need to be dug up, cleared, and have the soil prepared before we could think about planting.

I decided I'd put in a bean teepee. 

A box of potential (only a fraction of the seedlings that would end up going in).

All finished, yippee! This was one of the largest and toughest projects I'd ever embarked on, and I was pretty damn proud of myself. Except it wasn't finished. I planted corn, eggplants, lettuce, pak choi, bok choi, carrots, and beetroot, as well as bean and squash seeds - as well as onion, garlic and shallots, and basil, coriander, and the existing parsley and mint in the "old" garden, and it was still nowhere near filled, even allowing that these were tiny brand new seedlings you could barely see. Over the next couple weeks I added a larger variety of lettuce, spinach, and seed potatoes.

And then slowly but surely, things started to grow. 

All this was watched with much fascination by Little G. Last year, he was walking around the garden but he didn't notice, didn't care. Now he sees everything, wants to know about everything. Which includes stomping across the seedlings for a better look. We've had to explain to him that he needs to stay out of the garden, that he's a little boy who wants to grow up big and strong, and these are little plants that want to grow up big and strong. He gets it most of the time.

We think.

As the garden grows and the seasons change, we can see clearly that last year we had a baby; this year we have a kid. He turned two last week, and this being the last year I can pick out his birthday cake without his very definite opinion, I even made a veggie patch cake:

Well, I tried.

What is it about the garden that is so soothing? It's very much my domain - DH will help with the heavy lifting when asked, but otherwise it's all up to me. I love being alone with my plants, love the stillness, the "curious kinship with things that grow". I love watching the slow changes - or not so slow. The beans are growing up so fast it's creepy, pushing up piles of dirt as they do so. These had not broken the soil on Saturday:

Things have been a little bit rough lately, and being out in the garden gives me a peace I can't quite explain; even a few minutes makes me feel better, especially in the late afternoon. I've tried exercise as a remedy for anxiety and didn't much care for it; tried alcohol and it didn't much care for me. But gardening seems to do the trick. Seems like I'll be doing a lot more gardening in the months ahead. 


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