I simply want everything I do to be an act of worship to God. ********************EVERYTHING******************** like a spider's web, intricately woven, the threads of our lives are entwined, making us who we are, where we are, at this time in history.... here's a small record of one family's journey to love God

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Organic Learning

We visited the library yesterday to borrow Linda Woodrow’s The Home Permaculture Garden.
I got to thinking about my gardening journey.
My very earliest gardening memory is of standing in my grandfather’s little kitchen garden behind his flat in Parnell where he taught me how to poke sticks in the little holes that were in the ground and watch an insect climb out. There were beans too.
But not liking getting dirt under my fingernails and being even less fond of itchy pollen eyes, my gardening interest was to be restricted to watching my father for many years, usually from behind an engaging book.

I’m all for learning things as you need to know them. I didn’t need to know anything for a long time….but then the interest was awakened one weekend in Poland when we took a trip out to a garden plot with an American family. Their enthusiasm inspired us to buy some little planters and grow tomatoes and red peppers on our balcony.
A few years later back in New Zealand we turned our clay patch into a native garden with plants gleaned from friends. We tried our hand at tomatoes again and a few herbs. Success breeds interest and we marvelled at how a tiny seed could turn into a plant that bears fruit – even when we sometimes forgot about them! Good thing God didn’t forget! Five years ago we moved into our current house and the first thing we did was plant veges wherever we could! Those tomatoes by our front door were a study in learning – Dad came by and told us we were supposed to thin them out and leave just one main stem….someone else pointed out powdery mildew and gave us a remedy….another friend explained stripping all the leaves off would burn the fruit – it did! By the following summer we had read up the Palmers Garden Guide and taken a serious interest in establishing a real vegetable patch…which grew a bit larger each year. One year an elderly-gentleman-ex-science-teacher-cum-wealth-of-knowledge who was staying next door gave us tips almost every week and even came and planted out potatoes with me.
For a while I tried keeping records of what we were planting so we could make sure we rotated crops carefully…..but that didn’t last long…and now I just go with what works for me and plant what I want to where there’s a free space! It seems to be working

What does a garden need?
A time to lie fallow.
Someone to be interested.
Old gardeners.
New gardeners.
Transfer of knowledge.
Trial….at first a little, then a lot.
To be listened to, observed.
A gardener who knows himself.
Books of inspiration, humour, facts and challenges.
Hard work.
Someone to reap the harvest and preserve it.
Time to smell the flowers and watch the bees buzzing around.
An acknowledgement of God, the Creator and Sustainer of life.

What does education need?
A time to lie fallow.
An interest to be discovered.
Enthusiasm to be shared.
A mentor to watch.
Asking for help.
Listening to advice.
Knowing how you best learn.
Reading….books full of information, books for inspiration, books with humour, books to make you think deeply.
Hard work.
Processing, thinking.
To be shared with others.
Time to smell the flowers and watch the bees buzzing around.
An acknowledgement of God, the Creator and Sustainer of life. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

The garden makes you very aware of the changing of the seasons…and learning can be seasonal too. After a couple of years of following Mal Bartholomew’s hints in “Square Foot Gardening” I wanted to see what Woodrow had to suggest. But I didn’t come away from the library with just her book….look what happened (hers isn’t even I the pile coz it’s by my bed)

Another season of gardening learning is ready to ripen. No wonder I left the library with more than just one book.

How could I walk past “An Ear to the Ground: Garden Science for Ordinary Mortals” or “The Curious Gardener”? Could I do better than “Kitchen Gardens of France” with rich photographs for inspiration? And how about this one: they say not to judge a book by its cover, but surely this is an exception!

How does one leave “So Shall We Reap” on the shelf? On the back it says: “Anyone who understands that the politics of food production are at least as important for the future of the planet as the politics of war or of business will want to read this excellent book. And anyone who doesn’t understand that should be made to read it”!!!!!!!!!
But I didn’t need to read that far - the subtitle had grabbed my attention: (How everyone who is liable to be born in the next ten thousand years could eat very well indeed; and why, in practice, our immediate descendents are likely to be in serious trouble)

My mind is going to be as well-fed over the next four weeks as my stomach.


Rosie said...

Wow, another entry already!! It looks great. I am looking forward to following your journey and being challenged/inspired/encouraged by all that you are and all that you do.

Happy gardening........here comes that lifestyle block!

Rach said...

You know me - jumping in boots n all - how long will I keep it up? That's the million dollare question!

nova_j said...

oooohhhh i *have* to request "so shall we reap" once you're done with it! :D

thanks for adding another blog to my day ;) i will watch with interest!

kate5kiwis said...

oh yes, i love that sunflower.
we did a no-dig garden this year. did i tell you?? actually D17 no-digged it. newspaper and compost. in december. very late i know, but our climate is so forgiving. just picked two courgettes yesterday, and loving the lettuces.

CC said...

i agree, that is one book with a seriously awesome cover - Resurrection in a Bucket fuels my interest in another art - photography!

is there a book for one who aspires to having a fruitful vege/fruit garden but who has not found consistent motivation to put in all the hardwork. And so, my lack of patience is showing through yet again...

and do report back if you read through all these books in 4 weeks - you're amazing for even attempting!

Rach said...

oh CC I won't be *reading* them all! I'll glance through them and see if any grab my attention enough to read properly. I'll take a note of the ones I don't manage to digest at this setting and return to them again....hopefully I won't get any library fines;-)

As for hard work.....you just gotta do it!

Tara said...

Hi! Your blog looks great Rachael. You're so good with words. (constructing well put sentences with good spelling and grammer to be more precise!). I think that's part of what makes you a great communicator. An area I really struggle with and admire in others that *have* it.

Tara said...

And *HOW* did your blog know my name? Some fancy cookie?

Mama Monk said...

i really enjoyed reading your blog entry. i was just planning to head to the library to borrow some books on permaculture this afternoon. your family looks so lovely! i admire your full quiver and obvious spunk and interest in living deeply and meaningfully.

i look forward to more of your posts---

Rach said...

Hi Mama Monk...I had a nosey at your profile....we're on similar journeys I'd say.
Do you mind me asking how you *found* me?