Until recently, I scoffed and laughed when someone would suggest I try growing plants, let alone vegetables. Part of my problem, I’m sure, was that I never bothered to make time to enjoy the activity of gardening. I was of the mind that it wasn’t really necessary and that there were so many other, more ‘worthwhile’ things I could be doing with my time.
I recently lived in an apartment for 10 months. I believe that it was whilst living there that something in my attitude changed. A new appreciation for space, growth and foliage was born. For the first time in my life my backyard wasn’t Australian bushland. This culture shock manifested itself into a small collection of succulents on my (very small) back verandah. I needed something. Having no lawn was quite horrible.
Almost as soon as I moved into my current house, a gorgeous little fibro shack built in 1963, I knew I wanted as many plants, inside and out as possible. They brighten up a room and make a small space feel lively and inspiring.
Next on my agenda was to try my hand at a vegetable garden. I was really intimidated by this at first but ended up chatting to my local ‘nursery man’ and he sorted me out. Now I diligently tending to them on a daily basis and they are actually growing! Their roots are deepening and their stalks/ trunks/ main bits are getting stronger and thicker. So you can see that I haven’t quite got the lingo down, but I’m a lot further along than I ever thought I could be.
I am using every little bit of garden bed that I have to grow a mixture of seeds, bulbs and some more established non-edible plants. I love the way the front garden bed looks at the moment. Having never really been much of a fan of perfectly manicured gardens, or anything really, the bit-by-bit way my garden is coming along suits me just fine!
As our house is little, the garden has become much like another room. OB and I spent six hours straight in the front garden alone last Saturday. I did some weeding, repotting, transplanting and watering in the garden beds whilst OB played with his tractors and made roads in his ‘forest’. It was a glorious day so we ate breakfast and lunch on the picnic rug, kicked the ball and chatted to the neighbours.
My willingness to be patient and be deliberate in my gardening has rewarded me with so much already. I have a new love for a light drizzle and I’m now one of those people who says things like “It’ll be doing wonders for my garden” when everyone else is complaining about the miserable weather. All my excess water from hand washing and rinsing now has a use and most surprisingly, I have come to love it. There is something truly delightful about digging in the dirt.
Below you can see a glimpse of what the (entire) garden looked like approximately six months ago. The soil was bone dry and devoid of all nutrients. I have been working on it using organic fertilisers, regular watering, mulch and by moving the plants around a little. I have a surprisingly high number of conversations about ‘soil health’, usually with my neighbours. I’m OK with this.
My first attempt at plants was a bit too structured and, ironically, not very well thought out as the soil was different at both ends of the garden bed and the same plants weren’t going to survive in the different conditions.
So, after learning that I should take my time and that the soil needed more work, I have managed to only lose one plant. I’m calling this a win. I have been adding little bits and pieces as I see room and as I can distribute the best soil to the other parts of the garden.
Here are some snippets of the garden from today. I’m going for the ‘relaxed’ edge look, can’t you tell?! I may need to borrow someones whipper snipper. 🙂
Below you can see some seedlings that are just starting to get leaves and some growth on them. I have grown these from seeds, moving them from one place to the next as they need more room to grow. The bright green, longer leaf shoots are jonquils that a neighbour gave me as bulbs. She was delighted when I showed her that they had sprouted. I was delighted that I hadn’t killed them.
Seb was kind enough to slip a garden bed into his ute from work. It was actually a container used to transport a large piece of machinery in, so I’m glad that I’ve been able to recycle it into an important part of my garden.
The garden chairs you see two photos up were on the side of the road in a council clean up. They were covered in muck and a dirty green colour. I blasted them with a high pressure water hose and spray painted them. The project cost $7 for three chairs!
I started with almost no money to put into the garden, very little knowledge and a small space and I have managed to make quite the little hub for seeds, flowers and vegetables. I can definitely say with Nanna-nerd confidence that gardening is now a love and a hobby of mine. I encourage everyone to go outside and play in the dirt once in a while. You’ll love it.
Peace and healthy soil.