Thursday, 29 November 2007


I almost didn't write this but I thought others may relate to the situation. At another time I would write this in a humourous and quirky style but this is too serious and too threatening still, today, so it comes from the heart.

Yesterday I went off to gardening, as usual, and had a hot but lovely time at Lou's - pulling out and saving seeds of coriander and rocket before digging in some of Lou's beaut compost and nestling in the capsicums and lettuce seedlings. A swim in her pool, a slice of lemon cake, an excellent coffee and off home.

When I got out of the car, in my carport, next to the vegie patch I was shocked to see that everything in that area was drooping past the normal hot day limit. How could this be ? Maybe my drippers weren't working, maybe the timer hadn't come on or maybe it was just too much. All that work to get them to this stage teetered on a knife edge as I contemplated it all.

Why not give up now and rely on Tony Scarfo and mates to provide for me? Why not take 4 months off gardening and spend my leisure time in the pool or on the beach or hanging out with friends? All day I swung this way and that while those poor little plants fell further and further into death row. I just couldn't bear to look at them or water them as the worth of my life spun around inside like in a washing machine. After all, this is everything I stand for and it was like having your whole insides turned over and over and mixed with your brains to a pathetic mess.

At about 5pm I went to get the eggs from the chooks and had to wait for a nice long brown snake to cross past the front door. They are fascinating creatures, at a safe distance and behind the wire door ! The seed frame is near the chook yard and I saw those seedlings left in there were not nearly as past-it as those in the garden so I gave them a sprinkle. Heading up to the letter-box I noticed that some of the plants that were now in the shade of the boysenberry had perked up a dash - like baby birds lifting their heads in the nest for a desperate cry to mum for help. That was the trigger, I think, that projected me out of despair into a weak sort of hope and that is always a huge step. There was a glimmer of life there after all.

I put the drippers on (despite it being Wednesday!) to check if they were working. The timer seemed OK too. I had spent $200 getting this all set up and, suddenly, I regained more strength when I thought about the bloody government and how they want me to find it all too hard and stop growing things and buy food from China. How they have made me spend all this money for a truckload of plastic pipe that was no doubt made in China too when I had a much better system before. Well that put fire in the belly and I took off with the hose and watering can like a creature posessed - I will not let them (or anyone, actually) tell me what to do and I will grow my food if its the last thing I do.

I spent time apologising to my little friends in the ground and watering them by hand and promising I would be a better person from now on if they could just forgive me this once. As the shade crept all the way across I felt almost and surprisingly skippity doo so I even dug over the next patch, watered it madly with watering cans, soaked newspaper and spread that thickly on top of the dripper line, finishing off with old peastraw. In went the okra into little holes poked throught the wet paper, into the moist soil below. The feeling of moist, rich soil on my fingers made me smile. I was furious and at the same time jubilant and wondered if anyone else has come this close to packing it in this year.

You know what? If I had still been a solitary gardener, as I had been for 20 years or so before our seedsavers group started, I am not sure if the outcome would have been the same. Now, if I gave up, I would have to face all of you and that's a scary thought !!


Anonymous said...

Come on Kate it can't be that bad it's not even December yet! You need to get that biodynamic compost happening to get more water holding capacity into that soil of yours.
If all else fails and you give up opps... decide veggies are not the go this summer you can always share mine as I have good water & soil.

Pattie Baker said...

Kate: HANG IN THERE! Life is a resilient thing, and miracles await you.