Archives: General Gardening

Urban Gardening – Making Use Of Your Available Space

So many of us these days live in restricted space. We don’t live on a farm, or in the country. We don’t have a paddock, a field or meadow to use. If we are lucky enough to own our home, the chances are the yard space will be small. As the Australian population swells, our yards do seem to be getting smaller and smaller. Maybe you don’t even have a yard, you may be living in a unit or flat where your only outdoor space is a balcony, or even a window sill. If you are really unlucky, you may have no outdoor space at all. I lived in a highrise unit in Sydney for 18 months where the windows didn’t even open. I was completely trapped indoors.

You may rent also, which puts restrictions on what you can and cannot do to your living space.

This is the challenge of urban gardening – how do we make best use of our available space and conditions.

I have recently started a new project in my front yard – you can see how I have a trellis on the inside of my fence. When I bought this property, this trellis contained a creeper of some kind. Recently it got too much, it was climbing all over the other trees in the garden, cleanly folding and snapping branches off as it grew. It had extended up the brick wall and into the garage guttering and roof. I decided recently it must come down. So on the weekend I have completely removed the creeper, leaving me with this blank canvas :)

Over the next few weeks (or months) I am going to fill this trellis with herbs and vegetables. It is just a too useful (and well placed) space to have it under-utilised or with an aesthetic plant only. It is well positioned too, getting good daylight but none of the hottest afternoon sun. Both the garage in the west and the fence facing the north will protect the plants from the worst of the hot Aussie sun.

So to start the project I went to Bunnings today to check out some of the options for pre-built wall garden solutions. Most of the ones available were designed for a smaller space like a balcony, but to my mind they were very expensive. They were about $60 for a 3 pot vertical solution, where the pots were about 30cms wide by 10 cms deep. Given the pre-existing trellis, I am sure I can come up with a much more cost effective solution, given all I really need to do is hang some pots on the fence. I may make the solution I come up with my first excuse for a video post – so stay tuned…

 

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Why Do We Enjoy Gardening?

Gardening is such a great pastime. It appeals to people across gender, race, spiritual and political persuasion, age and any other demographic. Despite the fact that to some extent it is necessary, we need gardeners to produce food for sustenance, in a time of convenience and mass production most of us do not need to spend time in the garden to survive. Yet we still do. We look forward to the weekend, so we can get our hands in the dirt and mud under our nails.

For me, there are many reasons I love to garden.

First, it’s a great way to find peace in your mind and soul. When I am planting, weeding or nurturing my plants, that is where my attention is. I am present there in the earth, not with the worries and stresses of work or life. It just brings peace. All you have to do is turn up.

Second, I feel the very fact that we do live in an age of convenience and mass produced food has separated us from the source somewhat. Unless we are professional farmers, all food comes pre-grown, packaged and stacked on the shelves of the local supermarket. We have no appreciation of where it comes from or the process it takes to grow. So spending time growing food in the garden, then enjoying the harvest and eating what we have produced has special significance. I don’t know about you, but the food I produce in my garden seems to taste so much nicer. Do you find the same?

The third thing I really enjoy about getting into the garden is I feel it brings me closer to the rhythms of the earth. I start measuring time by the seasons, as that is how my plants naturally behave, then I find my patterns of self and growth start to flow with these natural earthly energies. For example, in the spring I get more busy, planning and starting new projects. In the winter I take more time to rest and recharge my batteries. I find at times in my life when I have extended times away from the garden, like when I was traveling extensively for work, I really lose this sense of alignment, this connection to the earthly energies.

So that is why I love time in the garden, why do you? What are your reasons for getting your hands dirty?