I started thinking about why I like gardening. I could take a lot of guesses, but I don’t think I’ll ever know the real reason. Is this meant to be my natural aptitude? ..some God-given talent that I’m supposed to develop? Is it because I sit at a desk all day and feel the need to do something creative? Perhaps I’ve got a hidden memory of planting something with my Dad when I was young?
I think I just like the idea of order amongst the chaos.
When my wife and I first moved into our place there was only one other house within a 500 metre radius. I loved coming home from work and digging dirt until the sun went down. I felt like a farmer. Other houses started to pop up and we raised our fences and put in garden beds. The lady at the local nursery told me that yukkas were boring. It took me a few years to agree with her, but by then the roots were everywhere. Geez they were a pain to dig out.
We spent months and months coming up with designs and plans to re-do the back garden. I’m a terrible decision maker and I lack imagination. Put a pen and paper in front of me and I’ll draw straight lines and boxes. I draw a grandfather clock for my kids. Trapezium for the base, long rectangle for the body, square with a circle inside it for the clock-face, and a triangle hat to top it off. I thought that was pretty imaginative – except I’m still drawing the same bloody clock five years on.
Before the kids came along I gave veggie gardening a go. Other people were doing it and it seemed like a good idea. The first year was great. The tomatoes tasted great, the capsicums were a good size and we had the greenest broccoli I’d ever seen. The second year wasn’t so good. Being a creature of habit I planted the same things in the same places. “Uh-huh” I hear some of you nodding. The tomatoes got attacked by some type of fruit fly, I think I actually left the same capsicum stalk in the ground (they wouldn’t have to waste energy growing again, right?). I don’t know where all the energy went because the fruit was tiny, which made the caterpillar holes look even bigger. And poor Karen would let out a yelp of surprise every time a grub stuck its head out of the broccoli. White moths used to look so carefree as they flittered around the yard. Now they make me clench my teeth.
Anyway, let’s just say the veggie patch went to rack and ruin for a few years. It was 5.5 x 2.5 metres and too much effort.
After my youngest reached 2 and my wife had regained some sanity after years of needy (but awesome) babies, I thought it was a good time to start up the veggies again. I agonised over the details for months, of course. I was told of a great app where I could cache YouTube clips at home and then watch them on the train and during lunch. I’d pick one topic every few days and take notes in my nerdy little notebook. The thing I really got stuck on was what to build the raised beds out of. I didn’t like the idea of treated pine, which left dozens of other choices to pour over. Once again I was frozen by indecision and buried myself in detail. Spring was coming and I wanted to do everything. I wanted to plant from seed…I wanted to use heirloom….I wanted to use crop rotation … I wanted a netting system in place … if I went the 2600mm bed how much clearance did I have, etc. Luckily I came into some money, bit the bullet and put it all together while the grandparents were down to help out with the kids.
Now the ball is rolling.