Tuesday, 23 November 2010
The Neglected Garden
Sometimes life gets really hectic here - six children, homeschooling, other activities, work, animals, weather, illness, apathy... 'Life' just stands between me and my garden. I know I shouldn't let this happen, because I really, really do enjoy being in the garden, growing food, and I find it very grounding... I also love having an abundance of fresh, organic, home-grown produce!
I have only stolen moments here and there to plant some seedlings or pull/rake the largest areas of weeds or push back the sweet potato vines, cut back the Queensland arrowroot, re-route the rambling pumpkin vines, trim the Madagascar bean vines, and remove spent plants which have done their job of feeding us through winter (kale, mustard, broccoli, mizuna and Chinese cabbage) and were left to flower and spread their seeds through the garden beds.
But sure enough, when I need parsley or cherry tomatoes, leafy greens, beans, a paw paw or some rhubarb, a few stalks of celery, bits and pieces of various herbs and other basics - amongst the wild jungle inside my fenced garden and greenhouse, there they are. Food plants are surviving with no tending from us.
I wouldn't call the garden high-production right now, and I will admit that I've lost plants because I didn't harvest from them, water them or otherwise attend to them for weeks... But while I was getting on with life, my garden was getting on with growing food. Seeds sprouted, sown by previous crops when I was too busy to tidy up - rogue spinach and lettuce plants amongst the gooseberries, tomatoes, herbs and weeds, and even in the path, happy to be transplanted during a rainy afternoon.
A bit of mulch, some garden tools, and a free afternoon or two, and we'll see more space and light in the garden beds. I'll poke a few more seeds in the ground and try not to ignore the patch of earth which faithfully feeds us. And I'll express gratitude to the rain and rich soil which allow me to grow a wild and abundant food garden throughout the busy-ness of life.