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How does your garden grow?


TRACY HIGHLAND

How does your garden grow?

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UNEVENTFUL IS GOOD, right? This week was uneventful – well, as far as my garden went anyway. I was rushed to the emergency room with a kidney stone and then I managed to get food poisoning, but I had no plant crises. Nothing attacked my garden. Nothing died. 

As a matter of fact, everything went surprisingly well given, my dismal track record with plants. I hope it had nothing to do with the fact that I was away. I had to travel last week and my plants seemed to have thrived in my absence. 

I asked my friend Cheryl to house and plant sit for me and I have to admit I was nervous. I barely managed to restrain myself from asking her to send pictures of all of my “babies” so I could make sure they were doing all right. Instead, I tossed her a casual text.

“Heya. How’s everything?”

Her response: “Everything is good.”

And that was that. Not another word about the plants.

When I returned, everything was looking so good I decided that it was time to add to the garden. Things were under control. Even one of the lettuce plants that had been chewed to the nub the week before was making a valiant return.

My neighbour sent me a great Facebook video tutorial on how to set up a hanging lettuce sphere. You basically take a moss ball, soak it, punch holes in it and plant your lettuce. The result is supposed to be a beautiful, green, hanging source of all-you-can-eat salad that you can clip leaves from any time you want and just let it keep regrowing. I got excited. This would be my fabulous addition!

I messaged Malaica, my gardening coach, ready to share the idea and get moving to set it up.

“Do you sell moss spheres?” I asked.

“No, we don’t.”

“We keep it basic,” she WhatsApp deadpanned.

She went on to explain that she advises home gardeners to keep things simple. She said a lot of those items tend to be expensive and you can get similar results more cheaply and easily.

“One of the key things is to keep it as basic as possible, and as economical as possible initially,” she emphasised.

We came up with a compromise to satisfy my need for something new and exciting in my garden and her need for me to keep it easy and manageable so I’m more likely to succeed.

“I’ll pass this evening with an old half wheelbarrow. We’ll recycle. We can get can get more adventurous,” she texted.

Ok. At this point I’m wondering what the heck she’s talking about, but I trust her, so I message back, “That sounds good.”

“We’ll create a tea bin,” she goes on to explain.

A tea bin! I have no clue what that is but I like the sound of this. I love herbal teas!

I eagerly awaited her arrival that evening and when she offloaded the old wheelbarrow with no wheels or handles, a mental picture finally began to take shape. In my “not-gardener world” it did not occur to me that the old wheelbarrow would actually BE the tea bin. We would plant the tea garden there!

We found a spot for it in the front garden bed (I have nothing to do with how good that front bed looks by the way. It’s all nature, my accountant/farmer husband and the occasional hired gardener that have kept it alive over the years). We put the wheelbarrow in place and filled it with a similar mixture to what we used in my container garden in the backyard: marl at the bottom, compost, potting mix and a mixture of Perlite and potting soil on top. 

In went some camomile, lemongrass, horehound (great for colds), lemon balm, mint and dandelion. We watered it and that was it. Simple. All I have to do is give it a little water daily and I have my own fresh grown source for delicious teas! And the wheelbarrow planter has really enhanced the look of my front garden.

This week my takeaway lesson was “keep it simple”. Gardening can be simple and inexpensive. You don’t have to get carried away with fads and expensive products to get a good result. I’m coming up on that one month mark that usually signals the death knell for my plants and I’m still going strong. I plan to just keep doing what I’m doing consistently, but because I’m still paranoid about pests destroying my efforts I’m going to purchase some neem and garlic sprays this week as added insurance.

How is your garden going? 

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