Monday, 3 October 2011

Why Do We Garden

I had an interesting conversation about seaweed, mulching and gardening in general in the weekend.  This person commented that there had to be an economic benefit to grow your own food.  It got me thinking.  I know why I do it, but at the time I didn't know how to explain it to somebody else.  So why do I garden?  First and foremost for my health and that of my familie's.  Not just physical but mentally and spiritually as well.  To be connected to nature's seasonal cycles, to learn about the weather and to nurture the soil reconnects us to those basic rhythms of life, to our ancestors that grew all that they needed from the land.  It reminds me that there is something larger than ourselves.  There is Mother Nature.  And you couldn't ask for a more kinder, giving teacher.

I love to know that I've grown the fruit and vegetables that are on our plates.   It gives me (and the children) a huge sense of satisfaction.  Also a sense of empowerment that we don't need to accept the tasteless, over priced, sprayed produce that is on offer these days.  Thats why each of the children have their own veggie plot and choose what they would like to plant in it.  Theres a delightful mixture of flowers, herbs, raspberries and strawberries and the occasional veggie.  I'm not too worried what they plant or how it looks because it is their own patch of earth.  I want them to understand all that it means to be a gardener.

I think its good for us to be eating from our own toils on lots of levels.  To have a hand in nurturing the soil of our piece of land, which grows nutrient dense food and keeps us healthy and happy is a wonderful and wondrous thing.

We started gardening here almost 14 years ago with organic principles in mind.  They weren't 'trendy' or what other people were doing.  It felt right.  I use the same principle when taking cuttings, applying mulch and making compost and compost tea.  This is our recipe:

Fill 1 drum or empty rubbish bin with:
Bag of horse poo
armful of comfrey
as much seaweed that you can get into the barrel (don't wash sand off)
Fill with tap water to the top of barrel
Leave until you can smell it along way away.
Use by the bucketful, diluting if you have the energy (and the gloves) to about half tea and half water.
Your plants will love you for it.

It makes me happy being in the garden, around the chooks and the bees.  I can right the woes of the world out there.  There is sun on my skin, theres birds and insects to watch and I feel very grateful to be a part of it all.  You can't put a price on that.

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