Saturday, 2 May 2009


There are so many people now wanting to start growing some vegetables and fruit and herbs for themselves. They pop up everywhere we go and often people send me an email via the blog, asking for advice and help and tips on this and that. I love it because I get to help people get started or solve some problem or just direct them to the seed companies we have in the side bar etc. I love it because it means this blog is doing something useful and sometimes they join our group, which now has 50 members. I love it because it makes connections and develops friendships and this is good for the soul. Last week it was fellow seed saver Lou from Albury who called in and soon Linda from Victoria via KGI is coming to Adelaide, to name 2 recent connections.

All this shows that there is so much more to growing food than growing food! The simple acts of sowing seeds and later harvesting something for dinner, give so much more to us than it takes in time. Apart from all the learning involved, you get to see and feel real life, from those tiny insects you may go hunting for, that are eating your broccoli leaves to the pleasure of raking to a fine tilth a rich, black compost ready for sowing. Suddenly, you are aware of every drop of rain falling or not falling on your seed beds! You are out early on summer mornings judging if the day is going to be too hot to uncover your baby seedlings and let the sun help them grow. And covering them in winter to keep off the chilly night air.

You start to notice the phases of the moon and wonder what all this means for your plants. Daily thoughts turn to eating from what is in your garden and you begin to understand about the seasons and what will grow when. Conversations with friends and family and neighbours change and begin to include topics such as what to do with 25kg of zuccinis and did you watch Gardening Australia last week and what do you think of the new compere and even when shall we go on holidays that will be best for our vegetable garden! I hate going away between Christmas and New Year because that is when my mother's apricots are ripe.

If you are like me, you will prefer to spend money buying good gardening boots and new secateurs than hand bags and high heels. You will begin to get to know which roads in the hills are likely to have bags of horse or sheep or cow or chicken manure out for sale on the weekends, and try to remember to take the trailer to avoid the rest of the family complaining about the smell on the way home! You start reading gardening magazines and swapping vegetable-growing stories with shop assistants.

Your interests spread into nutrition and you wonder if it is OK for your children to eat a bucket of figs or grapes or capsicums when once you may have worried they never ate any! You gather books on preserving and scan garage sales for suitable bottling jars and drying machines. Thoughts turn solar and you may have a green epiphany like Gavin, from The Greening of Gavin, which changes your outlook on what's important in life and maybe, like Gavin and lots of the rest of us, you might start a blog to write down what you feel and think and have discovered.

Once you have a blog or join a seedsavers group or start talking to your neighbours or make connections through schools etc you feel the links strengthen , like the links in a chain, joining together all the knowledge and wisdom of thousands of generations of food growing families.

By now your children will have grown up and the greatest thing of all happens; they want to start a vegetable garden and wish they had taken notice when they lived at home. But that's what you are for and you gladly drive to the other side of the city to help because you know what it will mean to their soul, to grow food.

And as you increase how much time you spend living in the real world, you realise that your life has indeed become rich; rich beyond your wildest dreams and that with dirt under your nails, a healthy glow on your cheeks, and friends all over the world you are finally satisfied. That is what else there is to growing food; satisfaction and a sense of worth.


Pattie Baker said...

Amen, sister.

Unknown said...

Kate, never a truer word written. Food gardening is what makes me want to get up in the morning. Well, that and wanting to save the planet of course!

Apparently green epiphanys are all the rage at the moment in my town. Must be something to do with the Sustainable Living group we started! Sort of like the Seedsaver group but with a broader scope.

Also, now I know why so many seedsavers were visiting my blog today! Thanks.