The garden beckons but quite frankly as our soggy ground tries to suck up even more rain, I’m dreaming about a tropical holiday – white sandy beaches, cocktails by the pool and not having to think about what’s for dinner! Aaaah, but that might require getting into my swimsuit in the middle of winter and the beaches aren’t the only thing that’s white…perhaps the garden isn’t such a bad option!
Yes, some of my happiest moments are in the garden on our amazing “block of life” but I still have days when cleaning the loo is more appealing than pulling on cold boots and my “oh-so-sexy” oilskin vest (which, by the way, my beloved convinced me to buy as he’s seen my lips go blue on many a nippy Winters day and it’s anything but sexy!).
So, just saying, I am not superwoman, my gardens don’t look perfect and despite the pretty photos on Facebook, my veges don’t always grow and I do have epic fails in the kitchen! I have good and bad days at work, just like everybody else.
But…one of the reasons for writing this blog is to “keep it real” so that you might be inspired, not only by the successes, but also by the failures that result in so much learning!
Let’s talk about soil. This time last year, I was patting myself on the back, proudly explaining to all and sundry that I had piled enough chook poo, horse poo, lawn clippings, twigs and other magic organic matter onto my beds so that, come Spring, I would be merrily planting all the little seedlings that were magically sprouting forth in the greenhouse.
This is what actually happened…
On a lovely warm Spring day, full of the joys of it, off I went with an array of seedlings in my barrow only to find my seemingly worm-abundant soil was still cloddy and hard with very few of the precious wiggley’s to be found! I cried. Yes, thank goodness I work alone because right there in the middle of my garden, I threw my spade, yelled a few expletives and then sat down and cried!
Then, once the rage and disappointment had passed and most likely after a bucket of wine (in the evening of course), I bravely went forth in search of solutions.
One of my faults is that I try to do everything on my own. My children would probably tell you it’s because I’m a bit of a “control freak” but to be honest it’s more about not wanting people to discover that I’m still “winging it”. There you have it – confession – but what I did next was most important, I asked for help.
There are many places I find help, good old Dr Google, YouTube, Facebook gardening groups, friends and my personal favourite – old fashioned hard copy books. I have stacks of them and of course, like cookbooks, I have my grubby-finger-marked “go to” bibles of the earth!
On this occasion though, even at the risk of feeling a little inept and like I should’ve known already, I asked someone special for advice.
This person is someone whom I have the utmost respect for in the world of permaculture gardening. Kath Irvine from Edible Backyard is like a guru to me and I believe we all need someone like this to help us through the tough patches that will inevitably come along in whatever we do.
Kath is a permaculture designer and has been designing and managing edible gardens since the late 1990's. She is passionate and inspiring and genuinely offers advice in the most gentle, down to earth and humorous way. When I explained my despair about my cloddy, wormless soil situation she immediately offered practical help but what I’ll never forget is her honesty about her own journey in the garden. Her soil took six years and a whole lot of learning before it came right. Six years’ people! I’m just a beginner!
This made me feel a million dollars – that someone I look up to, worked through a similar challenge and more importantly, she was genuinely happy to share her learning and to tell me to take a deep breath and just keep at it because it will get better.
So, go forth in your sexy gardening gear, embrace the inevitable challenges and never be afraid to fail because that’s where the magic of learning begins.
I’d love to hear your experiences and I’m always happy to share mine so drop me a line here. Happy gardening.