I love my home and watching it grow and change over the years and I appreciate watching my hard work of growing a beautiful garden grow to nourish and nurture everyone who gets to eat from it.
I suppose it starts from the fact that I am the kind of woman who likes to do everything myself, I pride my own work and I love to learn from my own mistakes. I really enjoy getting my hands dirty, if I can I’ll jump in and give just about anything a shot if the circumstances allow it.
I’ve learnt almost all of what I know from my mother and grandmother about gardening, about the layers that you need when building a raised garden bed to what can grow with what, placement around the house, maintaining a garden and everything in between.
I recently brought my own worm farm, and it has produced so much worm juice in this first week I am so proud. Something I do my best to watch is that I don’t over feed them, otherwise it will smell and the carbon to nitrogen ratio which is 2:1. This means that for every portion of nitrogen you should provide 2 portions of carbon to balance it out. I find this really easy as we have a little shed out the back which stores all our wood for the winter, and so when we cut our kindling, I now sweep up all the dust and little scraps of bark and wood and use it in the worm farm bin, also any dry leaves, cardboard and newspaper helps too. So over summer now that our newspaper pile for the winter is overgrowing, I’ll just put some in the bottom of the tray of each new layer. Pile on any dry leaves, all the big carbon stuff I put on the bottom, this is so that any liquid that comes off the food scraps etcetera will moisten it all which makes it easier for the worms to work through.
First of all I love my fruit and vegetables so that is almost all I really plant, because we are currently renting a house, I don’t want to put in too much time and effort into digging out a whole garden for flowers. Since the only thing I can do is sit there and look at them, instead I use pot plants, I have dozens of plant pots and baskets yet I only use a few haha.
I am quite fussy with what I plant and I take into consideration what it is. I will never – ever plant lavender, the plants just expand and expand and I am not that much of a lover of the smell, so I prefer to plant daffodils or tulips (especially tulips). I have been on the hunt lately for plants that grow in a hanging basket like a waterfall though. I want to have the love basket that can be nailed to my balcony where the flowers grow over the side. I think something like that would be very beautiful. That way when we move to a permanent location, I can take all my beautiful plants with me, like I plan on taking my whole garden with me J
I am a massive fan of big gardens, if I had the money to I would buy a lifestyle block or little paddock/ farm and have a horse with rows and rows of garden beds and trellises lining the whole section. It’s more than making something look good to me – it’s an accomplishment to me, to have taken a tiny little seed and have turned it into a meal for 4 people. You know what I mean? Obviously, it does look amazing when all your fruit and vegetables are perfectly lined up and are in the perfect order of height for the sun and organised in a way that makes your house look amazing… But that’s not all it is to me. I’ve taken something so tiny, and have fed it/ watered it/ cared for it/ gotten rid of the bugs for it and it’s become something as big as a pumpkin that will nourish and nurture my body. This is where one of my favourite sayings “Healthy body, Healthy Mind” comes from. When your moving your body even if it is only gardening, your mind is stimulated by that movement, there is a chemical release of endorphins and some adrenaline in your body that makes you feel that sense of accomplishment and therefore puts you in a great state of mind. Moving literally can change your whole day. There is a cycle that I read about from Dr Libby’s book ‘Exhausted to Energized’ that talks about what happens when we’re exhausted/ tired.
Some people get home in the evening after work feeling exhausted, but wired and have couple glasses of wine to relax. Then they wake up the next day to still feel tired and it just becomes such a vicious cycle. One coffee a day is fine – but how about making it at home? If you have a barista machine, put it to good use, maybe go out and buy one if you can afford it. Then put the used coffee grinds in your compost bin/ worm farm, it is a nitrogen fuel but it works wonders in the garden. Food scraps after prepping or cooking your meals? Put them in your compost, save a large portion from your rubbish bin and put it back into the earth. It is amazing how easily it is to maintain a garden. You don’t need to invest too much into the garden once it’s made and planted. If you have a worm farm, take the juice and pour it into your garden, if you just have a compost bin, turn everything once every 1-2 weeks, then put it all in the garden under your layer of soil.
I will happily spend all day in my garden, I will day dream during my breaks at work and plan where I am going to plant my next lot of seedlings. This is where some people seem to get a little bit confused, just because they see someone else who has a garden spending so much time in their garden, doesn’t mean that you should.
Once I have everything planted and sewn, every night I’ll water my plants and pull out any weeds that I see growing through, and maybe sprinkle some mulch in and that’s all. I enjoy spending time in my garden because it is so serene, it’s so beautiful and quiet and I find peace in doing simple tasks in the garden like planting seedlings, pulling the weeds out, cutting out some to cook or just sitting there. It’s so calming and peaceful and I just love finding this kind of serenity in the comfort of my own home. I find solitude and appreciation and gratitude for what I have done, what I have created and making a small or big part of my home somewhere I can go to ground myself and to get away from the chaos of work, of meetings and emails.
I have succulents growing inside tiny little pots inside my home, orchids and little pots of mint and basil that add colour to my kitchen. I fill my gardens with beetroot/ kale/ broccoli/ parsnips/ kumara/ sweet potato/ kamo-kamo (mix of pumpkin and squash)/ lettuce/ snow peas and climbing peas. You don’t need to have a ‘green thumb’ to garden. Something small that will grow your vegetables and home your fruit that will give you that little bit of solitude and peace when you need it, and a bit of appreciation and accomplishment every time you look at it.