explore growing, observe

The space in between

Years ago, my sister introduced my to the concept of ‘negative space’. Really hard to grasp this art talk at the time, as I thought how can any space be negative if you know it’s there ? Little did I realise then how important this concept really is.

In our daily lives, I think of it as ‘breathing space’,  this space in between is imperative to our daily ways. There is a pause in between doing – think of it as an exhale in between all  the activies in constant motion.

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When you feel like you’re in perpetual motion, it’s tricky to see what direction you’re travelling in. You need to pause and check for markers now and again, landmarks to give us some direction.

It’s true in business and personal life. My in between space is reading. And walking. And soon again it will be drawing.  Today it was having a chat with a friend I haven’t seen for ages & random gifting to a new friend. These are little acts that I find joy in and help add context to the bigger picture.

So easy to get caught up in our little bubbles, remember to cut yourself some slack every now and again, admire the fleeting cherry blossoms,  the days warming up, where the sun is at and go for a walk.

 

spring, start a garden, Uncategorized

Emergence

Spring has just made itself feel blatantly apparent – by having summer jump up today. You never know exactly what you’re in for during spring. So far we’ve had wind, sunshine, days of eternal optimism, moments of wondering how it all fits together and many many occasions of feeling so incredibly lucky to be right here right now.

Plenty of workshops on the grow…

Loads of lovely feedback from people just wanting to get the basics on how to get started on the edible garden adventure. We’re doing plenty of trials ourselves – seeing what works direct sown and what we can start indoors. Patience is key and a skill to be learnt !

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Thank you Kelly for this gorgeous shot – I’d like to think this is how gardening always is, there’s certainly a whole lot of just getting stuck in.

Look after your soil and it will look after you. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and the garden too – very tricky to grow with out water!

community, observe, spring

Makes me smile

It’s all the little things.

These are in no particular order…..

When someone doing great work is happy to share their experiences with you (thanks to super mentor market gardeners Cal at Green Connect & Lizzie of Piccolo Farm ), when you go into a volunteer in a school garden with a loose plan – you end up with 48 students instead of the regular 24 and everyone has a great time – including the volunteer. (Also stoked with our newly arrived veg garden mascot – miraculously ‘appreared’ one day)

When your remarkable partner helps solve your irrigation issues because he understands you can’t be good at all the stuff all the time and brings home a second hand tank still smiling himself after a very long day, ’cause he knows how important it is to you. (And hooks it up the following day)

It makes me smile when you receive an email showing interest in your enterprise, to find out someone you admire in business has recommended you. (Thank you Ciara at Earthwalker & Co !)

Having enough time and space to share around with the neighbours. (working out where our neighbour will plant chillis and corn this summer)

Being curious enough and brave enough to ask people questions and their opinions when you don’t have the answers yourself.

Variety outside. Being outside. And being barefoot outside. Simple and effective.

Seeing kids impressed and fascinated by checking out the school garden compost worms without squealing.

Having so many ideas you don’t know which way to look, so you just start and it starts working out.

The generosity of people, wanting to be involved and offering their time. (Spring into Action volutneers – you all rock !)

 

So much goodness – it’s all that interconnectedness, collaboration not competition, that keeps our world spinning. Enjoy.

biodiversity in the garden, explore growing, produce, salad days

Salad days

Last day of winter, and there’s markers of the seasonal change all around.last day of winter

Brassicas (broccoli here) flower merrily, days are longer minute by minute, grass is growing a little quicker. Rainbow colours planted to stir fry, salads in next level for diversity, grab & go meals, shallots for skinny places….

The tip of this garden gets the most sun, so quick greens were planted. As days grow longer, the other planting will catch up. It’s all a bit of a dance, weaving time, space, light and flavours.

Have you ever tried broccoli leaves ? They were my go to green last night – cut the stem out, chop & pan fry – remarkably yummo !

Going for garden domination on the right there is our beloved rhubarb. Originally divided from the school garden, this one can have it’s roots traces back at least 35 years.

The possibility of small spaces requires a firstly a little imagination and observation – good strong starting blocks. What do you want to pop into your salad bowl ? What can you start from seed ? What do you let flower ? Can you eat the flower and which ones do the bees love ? What to snack on as you check the pulse of the outdoors ?

Time to explore and have fun.

harvesting the yield, seasonal eating, spring, start from seed

Growing full circle

Seeds are amazing little packets of potential. A handful could grow into a forest. There’s so many you can store in jars in the kitchen for eating later down the track. Heirloom ones that tell a story.

They complete their own magic tricks. Soaked overnight, they double in size – you’ve woken them from hibernation. Soak and rinse, soak and rinse – watch them sprout into edible vegetable tadpoles.

Some seeds you pop into a little growing medium & once they’re just above the ground  – ready to eat. (aka – microgreens) Then there’s other seeds developing into plants that  you can nibble on their tips (like snowpeas), some flowers are edible too (like snowpeas) – but remember – if you eat all the flowers, they won’t complete their cycle by setting fruit. In the the case of snowpeas progressing it’s so worth waiting for a few of the most amazing crunchy delicious garden snacks in the universe (NOTHING can beat the flavour of these little spring gifts – try eating only one….) snowpeas - end Aug 17

So around these parts, we love playing outside. We love to eat our microgreens. And the flowers (never fear – there’s plenty on offer for the insect life).

Just remember to do some homework to see what varieties are good for people. Extend that research to make sure you’re not eating chemically laden ones too.

So may options ! So many textures. So much diversity from a little handful of potential.

explore growing, harvesting the yield

Bowl of Gratitude

So this is lunch – and with it I think of everyone I have to thank for my journey to here and all the awesome opportunities presented along the way.

Those little veggie tadpoles – mung beans sprouted with seed from our local Flametree co op. Green dip is radish top pesto made from thinning the radishes growing a little too closely to their neighbours. Red one is beetroot ‘dip’ made from beetroot we grew & blended with awesome other stuff. Then we’ve got hummus, again made from scratch made with chickpeas from our local independant co op, giving us an option for our food purchases rather than the standard duopoly.

Best thing about buying dried goods like legumes and seed, you’ve got them on hand to sprout when you like. Salad underneath is from a few metres away in the backyard, providing a base for last nights left-overs. salad bowl - home madeThis bowl also represents skills I’ve learnt over the last few years, building a little self reliance into our household and local food economy. Yay for food activism !! These skills aren’t tricky, but now people are starting to realise they’re well worth having and practicing regularly for their own health, their financial independance and cultural knowledge.

I’ve had amazing suport from my family putting up with my experiments for the most part (“…you love the garden more than you love us ! – ask spoken by our younger child when 1st bitten by the gardening bug. )

Mentors, peers, community in the real world and online. First rule – be brave and ask loads of questions – if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Most people are super happy to share their knowledge to the curious and for that I’m forever grateful.

community, explore growing

Give a little

It really does make the world of difference. Lately I’ve been training with a great group of people Young Sustainability Ambassadors with the aim being to empower a younger generation to take action. Starting discussions with school students, encouraging them to get proactive. The work is all tied to the Sustainable Development Goals crafted by the United Nations. Basically – a set of goals to achieve by 2030 to give people basic human needs, rights and protection of our ecosystem – the planet.

That one is a biggie & really really exciting.

school garden with new tools

We’ve been gifted opportunities along the way and it’s really lovely to be able to give back. Building that feeling of generosity and collaboration instead of competition.

A lovely lovely local guy – has his own set up Farmers By Choice and STILL manages to find time each week to help me out ! How – I’ve no idea, but I surely appreciate the support. Some days there’s just too much to do on your own. Sometimes just acknowledging this is enough and sometimes it’s wise to ask for help.

So paying it forward, I volunteer at my son’s school – ‘teaching’ gardening (or at the very least encouraging!) on a weekly basis with the support of one dedicated teacher in particular and encouragingly – a greater percentage of the school population. The garden group was recently gifted new tools to support our lo fi efforts, making the weekly tasks easier to work in groups.

If you’re feeling like you need a bit of dirt time – I’m happy to assist! We’re hosting a volunteer morning Saturday 2 September, 9.30 -11.30. Please get in touch if you’d like to help out – there’s activities to involve everyone !

So at the end of the day – it’s all about helping to craft the place you like being. Some people have time/ skills/ resources to make these things happen and some people make great cheer squads for those getting out there. It’s just really great to see how our communities are enhanced by people living and sharing.