5 May 2015


Not that long ago it was an uninspiring corner of our backyard. Choked with leggy ferns and stones, the soil was seemingly stripped of life.  Yet the light was good. "A minimum of 6 hours of sunlight a day" so they say is necessary with the more gentle morning sun preferred. A tap within easy reach, good drainage and a quick slipper clad trip from the kitchen to pluck and snip for evening meals. If I squinted really hard I could almost see the landscape begin to reveal itself - our vegetable garden.

In the spirit of  "make do and mend" we set ourselves the challenge of creating this kitchen garden for free.  Seeds, compost and manure could be purchased but the nuts and bolts of it all had to be found, traded or created.  A motley assortment of bricks and pavers were scavenged  in dark crevices under the house and a chance conversation at a nearby building sight yielded the last few. Four garden beds were then mapped out; an ochre perimeter to keep grass away and define the space.  The soil was turned, and turned again. Finally, rotted manure and good compost added nourishment and encouraged necessary minutiae to set up home.  And when the earth was rich and friable we began planting.

The tiny specks of leek seeds *, round and corky beetroot ones and cucumber, "Just like in the real cucumber!" said Remy. Careful furrowing, measuring distances between and gentle watering. Such precision and much scrutinising certainly bore the marks of "amateurs" but we were all involved; we were all so keen.

A few months have passed and our yields have been modest. One could hardly call them a harvest yet we take our basket out anyway. This ceremony of plucking this and that to grace our table brings us together in a common joy. To watch seed turn to plant, turn to fruit, is such a wonder and I'm thankful that already, my children are learning where their food really comes from. Yes, it's scrappy and a bit rough around the edges. But our veggie garden has brought satisfaction and a deepening respect for home. We spend more time together outside than before, we're tending something with care and consideration, and we are ever hopeful. A manifesto for living perhaps? I have no doubt this vegetable garden will enrich our lives in so many more ways than just filling our bellies.

Do you have a vegetable garden? Are you a gloves on or off kind of gardener?

* We purchase our seeds from Green Harvest, an Australian, organic gardening website. The range of heirloom seeds is wonderful and they provide great advice on what to plant in your area.

1 comment:

  1. Again, I was nodding along in knowing as I read your post. Yes yes yes! When we moved in to our home there were two weed filled beds that I knew would become my veggie patches. I spent much of my second pregnancy weeding, unravelling rotten carpet that someone had unwisely used to suppress weeds, digging in mushroom compost and planting out the beds. I've learnt so much from then to now, as I have grown everything from watermelon to chillis, corn to potatoes, tomatoes to aubergines. I love having my veggie patches. Sometimes they are full and giving so much, other times they are a mess of weeds with only a few things on the go, but I wouldn't be without them. We also planted a mandarin and mulberry tree, both of which have fruited and repaid us already with their bounty. I love that my children walk around the garden and know the names of the plants, know what an asparagus looks like when it flowers, knows which is the basil and which is the parsley, invite their friends over to pick mulberries together - and like you said, spend more time outside with me because of the garden. Enjoy your beautiful garden and everything that it brings to your life. xx


Your words brighten my day! Thank-you so much for joining me on my adventure. x