We often get asked for gardening tips, so have decided to do a weekly post describing things we do to keep our garden going well with only a little effort.
Here’s this one…
Some folks love to dig and weed and mow, I can hear a neighbour at it now, as I write this. That’s not for me, I reckon that gardening shouldn’t be hard work.
Of course, you’ll get times when you’ve got to carry a heavy bag of potting mix or dig a bit of a hole to plant something new into but that’s not every day. It’s a bit more hectic when you’re just starting out on a new garden too.
I’m writing this post in the Spring of 2021, on another gloriously sunny day. It’s rained a couple of times over the last week and the ground’s still holding a lot of moisture but I’m letting gravity add a little more for the grape vine as it explodes to cover the southern end of the house.
Spring is definitely in the air and everything is starting to bloom, all ready to get pollinated – after all, gardening is all about sex, isn’t it? Or is that just me?
Basically, there’s nothing for me to do today. I did the rounds and fed the chooks and fish, dribbled a little water on some newly planted seedlings and dusted a little diatomaceous earth on the Pear slugs. The chooks are busy mixing the compost, the worms are busy eating our scraps and making the good stuff and bacteria in different systems are loving this little extra warmth. Fungi are spreading their mycelia underground and into everything, making little routes of communication and nutrient transfer. Everyone’s doing their thing to make it all grow just that little extra.
The fruit trees are all doing their thing and their fruit is swelling nicely, groundcovers and vines are spreading to protect other plants and the house during the upcoming heat. That’s labour saving too, the vines bring food up to just above head level and their cooling effect means that we don’t need to put as much energy into harvesting or keeping cool. It will mean that there’ll be time for me to do some book learning and spend a little time on the guitar.
Gardening and ecology should be a compulsory part of rehabilitation and therapy, especially for those who have anxiety and depression. It integrates all of our senses and skills in a way that can be soothing and relaxing or physical and strenuous if the gardener requires that outlet. Providing access to garden space is one answer to resolving many issues. It grounds the gardener in the present and from there, the mind can flow onto good things. Gardening also teaches patience.
Permaculture founder and guru Bill Mollison has been quoted as saying that, If I remember it rightly, goes something like ‘the purpose of permaculture is to increase hammock time’. When the garden is working as an ecosystem, there’s not much need for excess effort. That would be gainst all kinds of rules of energy conservation. One of my few remaining material ambitions is to have a hammock. is it a coincidence that in the front garden the Plum and the Almond trees or the Almond and the Pear trees are exactly a hammock’s length apart? Whatever was I thinking?
There’s another saying too that states that ‘the best fertilizer is a gardener’s footsteps’ (actually, it’s ‘farmer’s footsteps, but I’m not ambitious enough to have a farm).
To me that little saying means that the more time a gardener spends in their garden, the more they learn from it, the more aware they are of its needs and the more able they are to be able to see and fix problems when they’re small. It could mean something like giving a little encouragement with some fertilizer or removing a pest bug or two before their numbers build up or maybe even moving a young plant to a position that’s more suited to its needs.
But I reckon it’s because a gardener in their garden is pretty relaxed and happy and those vibes get shared with the life around them, making everything grow just that little bit better.
Counterintuitively, it seems that he more time you spend in your garden, the more time you have for other things.
Wouldn’t you agree?