So, now that life has settled down somewhat, I find myself starting over. A back injury is also limiting my abilities, but I'm determined to get growing once again! One of the great things about a garden is that, if you've grown a variety of things in the past, and hopefully planted a few perennials, it keeps on giving even when it's neglected......
Meanwhile, some squash I had tossed into the garden when I had the chooks and ducks in there last winter had self-sown, and I've just harvested a bunch of pumpkins. Silverbeet, kale, perpetual leeks and perpetual spinach had all happily self-sown, and there are big patches of them out the front. The nasturtium, rosemary, thyme, globe artichokes, echinacea, red clover, fennel, parsley and chives have all kept on doing their thing. The yacon got pretty much swamped by the self-determined pumpkins, but there will still be some tubers to harvest and crowns I've been meaning to dig up and relocate anyway. And without a doubt there will be sufficient potatoes here and there to start some new crops. I rescued a few bunching shallots and popped them into soil in the greenhouse where they are sprouting, so I should get at least some to start a new crop with next season. And I did manage to keep some tubs of strawberries alive.
So perhaps it's not QUITE starting over, in the sense it would be if I hadn't previously had a garden growing. But looking out at all the jungle, it feels like an even more mammoth task than starting from scratch was. On the plus side, I have lots of previously saved seeds I can use. :-)
But now, the kids have all left home. For a time most of them were close by, and still benefited from the garden, but now most of them are not; the boys have families of their own but live hours away in opposite directions (the eldest, I'm proud to say, has his own successful garden he planted in the last year to feed his own family!), and the girls have become more scattered too. As well as not having as many mouths to feed, I also don't have any strong young helpers to lend a hand from time to time.
What's important hasn't changed....
I still have limited time - back then I was home educating the children; now I'm running a near full-time business from home.
I still want and need to garden on a very limited budget. It's easy to pour a lot of money into a garden, but when it's purpose is to save us money, there's no point in doing it that way!
I still won't use pesticides, herbicides and other nasties in the garden. (Though I totally understand the desire to reach for the spray when confronted with bazillions of weeds that just won't quit!)
The garden is still vital to my own personal wellbeing - spending time in the garden is good for me physically, mentally and emotionally - as well as spritually. I've really missed it over the past year!
I still believe that the wider the variety of things grown the better - for variety in the foods we eat, the herbs and medicines we can harvest, the ability to store foods for off-season eating, to confound pests and diseases, and to attract a wide variety of beneficial insects, birds etc to the garden, as well as the pleasure in seeing lots of bright flowers and healthy food growing. Variety is also increased food security - if the weather or a particular problem means some crops fail to produce, other things should still provide food.
What has changed....
So where to start...
I've begun clearing up the front garden, which will be my main vege patch for now (it's 50sqm), as I want to plant winter crops there. It's actually a bit late to plant a lot of things, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve!
And as I weed and spread compost and woodchip, I'm also pausing and pondering, and figuring out how I want it all to be. It's a work in progress in my head, as well as in the garden.
And I've decided to do my best to regularly blog once again. So stick around and see what I get up to in my new and improved, somewhat re-imagined garden. (To get notifications of new posts, Like my Thrifty Kiwi Facebook page)