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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Getting Back to the Garden

Getting Back to the Garden
My poor garden has been so neglected over the past year! Due to health issues and lack of rain, things have been pretty dismal looking. I have had a few successes, but the majority of plants gone into my garden have not done very well and it has certainly been nothing worth blogging about!
However, things are looking up! My health is improving, and finally, we've had some rain over the last month after a very dry summer. Also, the kids have been asking me many times if they can garden, and have even done some on their own. I gave them each a small patch to look after since I have been unable/unmotivated to do much gardening myself. Their attempts at gardening have been well-intentioned, but due to their forgetfulness, have been mostly unsuccessful. I have usually stood back and observed, sometimes offering advice, allowing them to work it out for themselves. The lack of rain hasn't helped their cause much either. However, I have realised that too many failures can result in wanting to completely give up (I've been there myself a few times with gardening). I want them to enjoy gardening, while also enjoying the fruits of their labours'. So I realised I need to work with them more in order for them to experience more success.
Along with the much awaited rain, my motivation and improved health have returned. So now, it is time to get back into the garden! And since the children are a bit older and keener this time, my plan is to involve them and teach them more about gardening. I look forward to growing the majority of our vegetables again. I have also enticed them further with the possibility of selling our excess produce through a local business and earning some extra pocket money! That would be great if it works out! This will require a lot more organisation on my part and extra effort on the children's part too if they are to get a share of the earnings! But I think it will be a good life-learning experience for them.
So in order to bring all this wonderful chemical-free produce into existence, a huge improvement in my soil's fertility is needed. Especially after the long dry spell and neglect that it's had. I started about 6 weeks ago by pulling everything out and planting a green manure crop. Luckily it has rained nicely in that time, and the seeds have grown green and lush. Today we started digging them in- chopping them up with the spade, sprinkling on some extra fertiliser and covering with mulch to allow everything to break down. Miss 7 and Master 3 had fun squashing all the soft green growth before I dug it in. They also helped to spread out the mulch.
Apart from the green manure, we have been busy collecting bags of horse manure from Miss 7's new Shetland Pony to turn into compost. We've also planted lots of seedlings to put in the garden after the green manure has been dug in. The kids have all been very enthusiastic so far. Surprising, considering how much patience is required while waiting for the green manure and the seedlings to be ready. They have checked things everyday, and there is always excited announcements made when anything new has happened, such as a seed that someone planted a few weeks ago has finally come up.  Things don't happen overnight when you're gardening. A lot of patience is required. Patience, another great life-lesson that can be learned from gardening...