I would be content to be a full time gardener in my waning years. But, other responsibilities beckon my time. My morning starts with a cup of tea in one hand and a hose in the other. The joy of greeting rows of apple crates full of beautiful and productive plants delights and energizes me throughout the day. I check on them each evening giving more water if the temperature is above 30C (~85F). This ritual gives me peace and tranquility for the evening and allows me to rest well through the night.
This daily practice with my garden keeps me with a sense of gratitude. I am thankful that I live with a man who helps to make it all possible. Rob gets 24 cubic metres of horse manure every six months. He turns it and cares for it regularly so our soil is 100% organic. He seeks out used apple crates, repairs the broken boards and fills 45 of them with horse manure compost ready for my planting.
The tennis court is now strung with wires and mostly covered with industrial shade cloth leaving little evidence of its former life. He collects rainwater in tanks that have ‘propagated’ themselves at our place to harvest all the water that falls and makes sure that the 25,000 litre header tank is always full for use in the garden. He does all of these effortlessly and best of all with a smile and encouraging words.
I am delighted that my good friend Jill reignited my love of growing vegetables and taught me the art and the discipline for growing robust seedlings so they can withstand the challenges from nature. Similar to how the garden grows, our friendship is growing and blossoming all year round. As each of us nurtures our friendship, it too will stand the challenges of a long distance friendship.
My plants link me to my community. A local farmer ordered thousands of seedlings from me so I had an opportunity to get a good start on new skill: from tiny seed through to harvest, I am very happy that I ended up planting ten times the number I actually needed. I am blessed that I am surrounded with good friends with whom I share the fruits of my garden.
Recently I was one of three cooks responsible for cooking the fourth annual Home Harvest Feast in our community. Each year the aim is to encourage and support people to grow food. At the end of this growing season more than 100 people contributed fresh home grown fruits and vegetables. As cooks, our job was to turn them into a feast to feed up to 400 people. The eggplants, capsicum and tomatoes from my garden joined the others in the array of wonderful vegetarian fare we created. The energy in the kitchen from the cooks, volunteers and community members was vibrant and happy. I was reminded once again that food is a perfect vehicle to share love, culture and generosity. This is an example of why I love to garden and grow food.