How my humble veggie patch taught me about slow living

Slow living is on the rise in Australia, with the release of books such as Slow by Australian author Brooke McAlary and others such as Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner. I’m new to the trend and yet to find out what ‘slow living’ really means. Though I assume it’s somewhat a combination of lifestyle choices, such as practicing meditation, limiting screen time and social media, and growing / preparing your food from scratch.

Jodi Gibson reviewed ‘Slow’ over on her blog recently and it piqued my interest. So the idea of slow living has been on my radar for a few weeks. However, I’ve been dancing with elements of the slow living movement for some time now. I had a stint with baking my own sourdough bread, and I do grow much of my own produce – as I posted about here. I am a sucker for anything that reduces waste and maximises my time, and I know there is still more that I could be doing.

As I was crawling out of bed at six o’clock this morning, where the temperature gauge on my phone had already hit 30 degrees Celsius, I thought about how my poor veggies would suffer. The mercury is set to skyrocket into the mid 40s today, and all I could think about was keeping those plants alive. I nurtured and nourished the seeds, watered them and sheltered them until they were ready to be planted out. Now I’m seeing the fruits of my labours with a bounty of cherry tomatoes and fat zucchini’s.

We had always intended to set up proper irrigation from our water tank to the veggie plot, so as to reduce the effort of watering in Summer. But we only managed to lay one dripper line to the tomato bed. The three other beds rely on my commitment to watering by hand. We don’t even have a tap close enough to use a hose, so I am watering with a watering can.

As I filled the watering can for the fourth time this morning, picking cherry tomatoes while I waited for it to fill, I realised; I’m so happy. This is what happy feels like. Sure, I could have laid irrigation, but then my efforts in the garden at this time of year would be limited to turning on a tap. Instead, while the rest of the house was sleeping, I was in the garden, enjoying the coolest part of a scorching day. The birds had begun to chirp and I filled some buckets for them. Placed them around the backyard so the wildlife would have access to water throughout the day.

I can’t help but think how much my appreciation for life’s simplest activities has grown since I started growing my own food. And how often we take our food for granted.

How often do you consider where your food has come from? How much effort took to produce it? What challenges did the growers face to get that food to the supermarket shelves? And how much are they being rewarded for their efforts? These are all questions that we need to keep in mind when we take a trip to the supermarket. Our choices reflect back on the market and the farmers that have worked hard to make that food available.

Food for thought, I guess.

I’m keen to keep exploring the idea of slow living, and for the revelations it will no doubt continue to bring.

 

Garden Update: Summer 2018

The first thing I did in our yard when we moved into our new home was to set up raised garden beds. Despite having half an acre of land at our disposal, the soil isn’t all that great and raised beds seemed like the perfect, easy way to satiate my love for growing and making things from scratch.

Three years on, the raised beds have evolved and multiplied, and we also have a working compost that provides a wonderful boost of nutrients each time I replant a bed.

Last year I resolved to step up my gardening game and grow plants from seeds only. Part of the appeal of growing your own food is the money that it saves. While buying seedlings is convenient and cheaper than buying from the supermarket, I knew there was more benefits to be had from the seeds.

I’m so pleased and proud to say that my first attempt at growing from seeds has been a roaring success! While not everything I started out in the trays of seed raising mix survived the transfer to the bigger plot, the majority did and I’m already beginning to harvest the fruits and veggies of my labours!

I’ve taken a few snaps of my burgeoning garden, which includes tomatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, beetroot, swiss chard, mixed lettuce, chilli, capsicum and some surprising (and random) plants that have popped up thanks to the compost, including pumpkin!

My next challenge is to learn how to harvest and save the seeds from these plants for next year. If you have any tips or information on how to do this, please do let me know in the comments.

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And some bonus pictures from the garden…

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