Out of the garden, grows hope

When you neglect your garden for a month over an incredibly dry period, the outcome is fairly predictable. Even so, it can still be a bit of a surprise at just how bad on a big scale it can all look.

With weeds running rampant, potted trees standing defiantly dead, and every leafy green edible gone to seed in an attempt at preserving itself for a later date. We did the most logical thing we could, and set to work.

Gathering shovels, hoses and unfailing enthusiasm, it was all bundled together with as many hardworking hours as I could manage to squeeze out of the day, to try to get this city garden back up to the functioning level it should be.

Several weeks later, while it’s still a work in progress, as I look around now, there are slow changes taking shape. No longer a backyard palette of baked brown, there are now green tinges that might just continue. With newly sprouted seedlings, tomatoes emerging from all corners, and two new editions that I’m tickled pink to be looking after.

From the dry overgrown mess that it had been, is growing something that often comes in many forms, and amongst the dedicated gardeners out there it’s also an old favourite… hope.

 

 

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Time to get growing

cosmos || cityhippyfarmgirl

garden 01 || cityhippyfarmgirl

garden 02 || cityhippyfarmgirl

Yearning for something for a really long time, means that when it finally arrives…well it’s a bit bloody exciting.

So what did I yearn for? Sun.

Simply put, just sun.

Sunlight to grow things. I had grown what I could with 2 hours of direct sunlight for a number of years in pots on a rented shared corner of a concrete courtyard. I loved my potted permaculture garden, but with two hours of direct sunlight, well it limits things a bit.

So what can I do now? Now that I have 6-10 hours of direct sunlight?….Oh la la! The possibilities can make you giddy at the knees. Some people said wait, go slow, you’ve got years to get it going. Err, nope, no I don’t think so. I’ve waited in some shape or form for 20 years to do this.

Instead, let’s get in there straight away. Let’s definitely plan, and plan really well. And let’s not be committed to one idea, or even several ideas in the beginning. The first few years will be very flexible in their changes, lessons will be learnt and things will be trialled. It’s all deliciously new and yet it isn’t as well, I’ve been preparing, reading, learning, practising for what feels like all my life, now it get’s put into practise.

I firmly believe in the saying bloom where you have been planted…but I also believe in crop rotation.

And now with all that direct sunlight? Well. I think it’s time to get growing.

How does your garden grow?

chillies || cityhippyfarmgirl summer patch- ecolosophy

Our gardens couldn’t be more different. Mine in small pots, neatly aligned along a big city urban fence. A tiny garden that grows intwined with the sound of other city dwellers, the soft murmur of traffic and the occasional summertime song of hidden cicadas.

Her garden? It meanders. Through seemingly endless acres, aligned with a neighbouring rugged, blue coastline. The gentle honking song of Cape Barren Geese flying over head at dusk and dawn, and frogs…lots of frogs.

Now who’s garden am I speaking of? Well that would be Tanya from Ecolosophy (remember the one I wanted to face plant into last year?) I caught up with her recently to hear how her garden was growing and also to find out who won the giveaway.

boys and beans- ecolosophySo it’s been a little while since I face planted in your garden because of the sheer beauty of it all. What’s been growing since we last caught up?

Oh Brydie, we’ve been pretty lucky this year. Ordinarily at this time of year, our patch would have been burnt to a crisp by a few blazing hot days with northerly winds and no rain but so far we’ve had an exceptionally mild summer in Esperance, most days mid twenties, rain every so often, not a single day so far over 40 (please don’t jinx me weather fairy!) The Patch is churning out tomatoes by the bucket load so I’ve been making lots of slow roasted tomato sauce. I’ve been as inventive as possible but the yellow button squash have (FINALLY) come to an end so I can relax on finding new and exciting ways to hide them in the family meals.

My black frilly kale and I are at a standoff of sorts because on one hand, I learned how to make kale chips…and they’re lovely but on the other hand my kale just keeps getting prettier and prettier so I’m loath to remove a single leaf. Most of the greenery in the Patch now is assorted pumpkins, melons and gourds that are the obsession of my other half.

Every summertime there is a quest to grow the worlds largest vegetables (so far the biggest pumpkin has only got to about 50kg which is a few hundred kilos off the world record) but we do grow a nice big New Guinea Bean (here’s a snap of last years beans with my boys) We eat them when they’re small (about zucchini sized) but then we let them grow and grow and grow. 

That bean picture is amazing. I’ll bet the boys were impressed with them. I’m certainly impressed! Now tell me also, who won the giveaway?

Well quite a few of your lovely readers popped in to the Ecolosophy Shop and had a wander through. And one of those lucky shoppers has won themselves a sweet eco giveaway of Ecolosophy goodness. Can I get a drum roll please?….. the winner is…..Diana Sayes.

tomato window sill- ecolosophy

Excellent! Well done Diana*. Tanya your garden is once again enviable and sadly, I’m now hesitantly going to go back to my small collection of pots…hmmm, three tomatoes anyone?

tomatoes || cityhippyfarmgirl

cityhippyfarmgirl-giveaway-ecolosphy

 * Diana- Ecolosophy will be sending out your lovely little package soon.

the community garden

Our local council is trialing a new community food foragers garden. I really love the idea of this and hope that it takes off,  just getting bigger and bigger.

Imagine city living where on each high density living block there was a community kitchen garden readily accessible for all the locals. An attached community compost bin, for all those to access that didn’t have backyards. Seasonal food grown within a hop skip and a jump of where you live, with composting scraps being used for the same garden while decreasing all the food scraps being sent to land fill.

It doesn’t seem like a big ask, does it?

It just makes sense. Cutting back on waste having to be collected by council. Making more efficient use of space. Encouraging a community spirit. I’m sure on each block there would be at least a couple of willing people who would love to regularly tend the small edible space. If people are living in a high density living area, green spots are hard to come by and the chance to actually dip your fingers in to some soil and tend a little foliage would be incredibly appealing to a lot of inner city dwellers.

More green spaces in the city are needed. Whether it be roof tops, street corners, reclaimed concrete areas, where ever they may be. However,  first people need to ask for it, and be encouraging when trials are put into place. Be vocal, spread the good word. Whispered words of encouragement is what gets ideas moving. Spoken words and acts of enthusiasm keep them there.

If everyone’s local councils started up just one food foragers garden in their area, it was successful, and people respected the space. Surely this could mean the start of many more to come?

The benefits of a nation wide scheme like this?… Oh can you imagine.

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Do you have any community gardens or food foraging gardens in your area?