Sunday, November 11, 2012

The garden grows

We've been lucky the last couple of weeks: we've had a reasonable amount of rain. Not the massive dump kind that fills your water tank, but the slow and steady kind that doesn't run off, but sinks right in. The kind that, when you're not looking, makes your veggie plants double in size seemingly overnight. The days are warming up, too so everything's absolutely alive, and doing what we planted it to do - grow us some food.
Cabbages hearting up and salad greens going beserk
Every day we stroll around our little kitchen garden, taking in the sights and sounds and smells. Well, actually we kind of have to since our house is at one end of it and our dunny is at the other, so we have several enforced garden strolls per day, which means we can weed, pick off snails and slugs and caterpillars, monitor growth and check for baby tomatoes/zucchinis etc. It is such a joy to have the garden so close by. Those permaculturists are really onto something right? Zone 1 (having all the things you need to see and interact with every day) definitely makes sense when you read about it in books, but it really really definitely makes sense when you're living it. We basically eat dinner in our veggie patch, which means that we can see it and watch it and truly observe and interact with it, in the way we rightfully should. We're loving it.
It's called 'interplanting', and it's going beserk
We're also pretty much in love with our zone 2, as well - the things you need to see kind of regularly but not necessarily every day. That, for us, is our bee/duck/orchard area, which is between our house and the road. It's reached by the ever-impressive and gorgeous sleeper-stairs built for us by beloveds peps, Genn and Jeff, and while we do go up there very day to hang out with the ducks, let them out in the morning and put them to bed at night, and generally monitor the state of things and watch out for nasties like peach leaf curl, we don't have to walk through it every time we need to wee.

The ducks free-range in the day, coming to visit us and patrol the veggies for snails and clean up after the kids, but mostly stay close to the dam. Egg-laying location has become a mystery, however. The down-side to the roaming duck. Apparently you're supposed to keep them in their house until they lay for the day, then let them out to range, but sometimes we just can't wait. And it's oh so cute to see them all waddling out together all in a line!
The king and queens of zone 2 poultry division heading out for the day
Like I said - we'd read about the zone bizzo in about a million permaculture books, and had always been a bit "yeah yeah" about it, never having really had the opportunity to put it into place. Our last house, for example, only had 1 (kind of) sunny spot, so we were forced to have our veggie patch on the street verge and 'car port' area, which was about 60 big sandstone steps away from our house. While we did pass our veggies every day while leaving or coming home, we were inevitably rucking to get a train/carrying groceries or kids/basically focused on something else. Not so now (though we are still frequently carrying our little Oski-boy). Now we have the time to take it all in. To meander the paths. To pick, and weed and mulch and hill up potatoes, just as part of our day to day life. I can do it and still have a conversation with Pearl while she's cooking the dinner, and she can do it while I'm sewing at the table. Last night, I did it while Pearl and the kids were in the fire bath. We chatted and joked and planned and plotted. It was gorgeous.

Heritage tomatoes go beserk
The moral of the story? Put your veggie garden as close as possible to the centre of your life. Our veggie garden, in the middle of our kitchen/bathroom/dining room is giving us more joy than we ever could have imagined. Every day.

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