Monday, April 2, 2012

Gardening and Imperfection

To begin with I resisted having a vegetable garden because I didn't think I could do it well enough. When I was growing up my Pop's garden was perfect and later on my Dad's garden was, and is, always perfect. Their garden beds were always so neat and tidy and there was never a weed to be seen. What I didn't realize at the time was that both my Pop and Dad were retired. They had the time to spend on their garden to keep it that way.

With two young boys that I was homeschooling and a home and family to care for I knew I wouldn't be able to have a vege garden like their's. I thought vege gardens had to be perfect, neat and tidy with no weeds. So, even though I wanted to grow some of our food, I didn't.

Then I read one of Jackie French's books "The Best of Jackie French" and it changed my way of thinking. Jackie too grew up with perfect gardens and perfectly manicured lawns and back then she hated gardening. Back then she saw gardening as a chore. However as an adult Jackie learnt that a garden didn't have to be like the one in her childhood. She says that anyone can have a garden. Plants have flourished for millions of years without humans helping them at all. Jackie says "Most of us struggle with the sort of garden we think we should have - a garden like our parents' one or the other gardens in the street. But if you don't work out the sort of garden you really love, it will probably never satisfy you. Loved gardens flourish. It's as easy and simple as that."

So I decided we would have a vege garden that suits us. Sometimes we have the time to spend on our garden so it is all neat and tidy and at other times we don't and that's OK. Some days I feel like planting things in straightish rows and spaced reasonably equally apart. Other days I feel like planting things in more of a scattered fashion. Does it really matter? The important thing is that you like it. Plant what you like to eat and in a way that suits you.

We usually start out in spring with grand plans. I plant heaps of seeds......some get planted out in the garden, some don't because sometimes I run out of time, but generally lots of things get planted in the garden....well we don't want to run out of fresh produce you see. We begin watering generously by hand, as we don't have a watering system in place just yet. Then sometime during summer we get busy with going to the beach and it is too hot to be outside during a large part of the day and we slacken off. Sometimes we water and sometimes we don't. And because we spend so much of our gardening time watering, we don't have time to do any weeding. So during summer our garden tends to get a little out of control. But, do you know what? Even with those weeds things still grow. It doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. I know some of you reading will have perfect gardens and I'm not saying that's wrong. What I am saying is that for me this isn't always possible and that it's fine with me. Don't get me wrong, I would love a tidy, weed free garden, but I can't always achieve this as sometimes life gets in the way.

It is now autumn here, the weather is cooling down a little, and I am starting to get back in the garden. Well I did yesterday anyway. Yesterday I planted some kale that I planted as seeds a while back. I put some wet newspaper down, to keep the weeds out and the moisture in, and I put some horse manure over the top. I will also put some chicken manure on this when I get around to it. I use these as fertilizers as this is what we have. I also use worm wee from our worm farm.

Here is one of the kale plants I planted yesterday....

Here is an untidy area of the garden. You might be able to see a tomato plant in there. Although it has weeds in there with it, it is still producing tomatoes.

The area I dug yesterday, with some kale planted and some spinach plants from last spring. I have found snails love upside down pots, so I leave it there and check it for snails which I give to the chooks.

A globe artichoke plant. I am looking forward to trying out an artichoke one day when it produces some. We planted it in spring.

Calendula flowers planted last spring. I am picking the flowers to dry and use in soap and am also leaving some to collect the seeds to plant later.


So there you have it.....some tidy areas of our garden and some not so tidy areas......but they all produce food. 

Happy Gardening!!

Thanks for visiting,
Julie xxoo


  1. Fun! That's my kind of garden: beautifully imperfect.

  2. Yes, so true, Julie. And planting in neat rows is usually the best way to brig on teh pests and bugs. Random plantings in amongst other plants is the permaculture way and I reckon it works the best. Bigger plants protecting smaller plants, bugs and pests get confused as to where the juicy ones are and, of course, companion planting happens too. And I reckon that my garden is always neatest in autumn and winter when I can be out in it enjoying the weather instead of hiding all day from the heat. Plus the weeds get wso out of control in summer too. Go the rambling garden, I say!!!

  3. My parents always had an amazing garden too but they were much more eclectic with their gardening, much like you :)
    I never inherited their green thumb but am slowly learning through trial and error. I find at this time of the year it's much more pleasant being out in the garden.

    1. I think trial and error is the best way Tammi. xxoo

  4. Thank you for helping me remember that everything does not have to always be just so.