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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

carrots, explore growing, pickle it, produce, save your food

Minimising Waste

It’s a massive issue. Imagine – collectively we end up sending 20% of our weekly groceries straight to landfill. Imagine all that embodied energy. Carrots can take up to 2 weeks to germinate from seed. They take several months to grow – water evenly and regularly or they’ll split their seams and look terrible. Don’t woory – still edible – just give them a good clean. I end up roasting or simmering these ones. Continue reading “Minimising Waste”

explore growing, start a garden

Start with what you’ve got and K.I.S.S.

We’ve all heard it before – just start with what you’ve got. Gardens are good for that, but the advice misses a step. Look at what you’ve got first.

How much sunshine does the place I want to grow have? How do I got water there? Can I dig into the ground ? Do I have any idea what’s been there before ? Maybe I’m better off starting with pots. How much time do I want to give the project ?

Maybe watching seeds grow into sprouts to throw into a salad is best. Maybe a pot of herbs. Thing with container growing is that because there’s not loads of soil, they tend to dry out quickly in the warmer months. Keep a eye on it through and manage it, no problems.IMG_9173

This happy snap of pots some years back was my first ever garden. Note the mulch to regulate soil temperature and to combat moisture loss. Northfacing space, so it was bathed in light all day. Edged area to keep the grass out of the pots.

And the K.I.S.S. ? Keep It Simple Silly. As a self taught gardener of only a few years, there’s gold in those words. Learn as you grow, take notes, read and visit.

Min thing is to enjoy the adventure of growing an edible garden.