autumn, explore growing

Looking forward

You also need to look back, see where you’ve come from to make sense of the forward journey. So on my way back from the market garden,heading south  this is what I check out…..

Feels a little like structured chaos.IMG_0795.jpg

As of a few days ago, when I pause for a cuppa, looking north is a whole new adventure…..


That ply sheeting (which thankfully was sealed before the rain came) is the base layer for a whole new ecosystem. A roof to grow which if the engineering and the headspace required are anything to go by, is going to be absolutely incredible. Amongst the treasures going up, 50 m2 of no dig garden beds. An increase of 10% on the market garden ON THE ROOF.

Right now it feels like a helicopter will land any moment.

As I look up the hill and see little no dig beds, seedlings, figs trees huddling together, I have to think of far the garden has grown instead of how much work there still lies ahead. Such a humble start –  a dozen pots hugging a northern wall 6 years ago and enough grass slashed to make a human sized nest for the whole family.

At least the roof top is clear and tidy.


Brace yourself

Any reasonable sized project requires a little plotting and scheming – especially if you’re working with reclaimed materials and even more so if you’re trying out techniques you’re unfamiliar with. Like earthen floors and a turf roof.


So this little studio was the test pilot for her big sister. Start small and learn.

Soil on a roof top weighs a lot, then add water, Thermal mass is super important as our neck of the woods really heat up over summer. The original concept was as an inside outside house. Dwelling in the cosy heart, nap, quiet read, (no wifi reception was an accidental bonus) storage around the periphery so it’s possible to access from the garden.

It’s a happy space. Loads has been learnt. The earth floor only took two attempts. Drainage around the site was a major piece of the puzzle, sitting at the bottom of a hill as it does. The studio has beautiful and unplanned carving over the door, thanks to one of our lovely passionate volunteers. He saw the space and asked permission to fill it.The only first thing you see in the morning is greenery and chickens.

Many hands helped to craft this building. Many materials were gifted, but this didn’t make them any lighter to carry.  Neighbours were called in last minute to help maneuver experimental wall panels destined for landfill into place. Sometimes I like to think I have very mild superpowers, but reality set in and I’ve come to realise weightlifting isn’t one of them.

I was asked for input on the bracing (so it looked more ornamental than purely vertical), this idea was sketched. Kinda like pick up sticks, dropped. To get the beautiful finish (and shortcut to the roof for the kids). Timber was de- nailed. Planed. Measured into place. Edges were chamferred. Cut. Hidden nails. Bio oiled. Now a work of art. Can’t even remember how long just that element took, but when you’e crafting living buildings it’s all about an energy exchange.

biodiversity in the garden, everyday, observe

Gardening for the Soul

Coolest thing about growing and edible garden, is you get to eat your experiments.

It’s not like doing the dishes where you have the instant gratification of clean dishes but in no time flat, hey ho! they’re dirty.

Gardening is great for the soul. Wander through an edible patch an smell the herbs as you brush by. Even just sitting on the ground outside can be considered ‘gardening’ if you’re half observing what’s going on around you. What can you hear ? What can you feel ? Noticed your breath slow a tiny bit ? Seen any pollinators ? Anyone/thing else like to eat the plants?

Not everyone has their own path of dirt (or wants one), so make the most of the local reserve/ park/ community garden. Share stories.

How else are you going to know what a baby radish tastes like unless you pluck one from the soil? Walk on the mint growing a little crazy, being the brightest of green like it’s invincible.

There are so many elements – literally – from the ground up. I confess, I’m not a scientist & never will be. But you don’t have to undertake a full analysis to appreciate what’s going on around you. The more you look, the more you see – if something is struggling, if it looks a little neglected or when your backyard wonderland is in balance.


Hectic day ? Take your shoes off and lie down outside. Breath deeply. Check out the shadow play of late afternoon light.


Instigate a no dig garden build with your neighbour. Small spaces stay manageable and easy to keep an eye on. Build a garden lasagne without breaking yourself. No heavy lifting, no heavy digging. Watch nature play right before your eyes, building soil and growing something we like to eat.

I’ve found through gardening no more mistakes, just constant learning – always a way to improve practice next time round. And patience. So much patience ! Gardens don’t happen overnight like sea monkeys or those crazy crystal postcard trees out of a packet.

But they are so worth the wait.

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.


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.