Friday, May 11, 2007

Mary, Mary, quite contrary

Well not really. It's the next bit - how does your garden grow - that applies to me at the moment. And the answer is ... not very well. While I was at Clarion South the couch grass invaded just about everywhere and as I had left my garden in the charge of two non-gardeners no-one noticed. It's taking me forever to get it down to manageable levels again so the vegie garden has still not been planted for winter. Some parts are doing well in spite of the previous neglect. I have a forest of basil which is steadily being converted into pesto and put away in the freezer. The spring onions are looking splendid and there are masses of parsley, chives, shallots and garlic so all is not lost. But now I need to start putting the greens - broccoli, lettuces, coriander, chard for starters - and the roots like carrots, onions and beetroot as well as peas of all sorts and other winter herbs.
I garden for several reasons. I like to know what I am eating to start with and I know this way that there are no unwanted chemicals affecting my crops. I can pick what I want out of the garden and have it on the table fresher than anything I could buy. But the main reason is that I get enormous satisfaction from gardening. I like the feel of the earth, watching the plants grow and spending time in the open air. I find too that this is a time when all those shadowy ideas I want to write about coalesce and after a session outside I am ready to come in and start writing a story. It's rather like walking or exercising. The rhythm and lack of need to think sets the brain free to work in other ways so it investigates and plays with ideas in a way it wouldn't otherwise.

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