Saturday, June 11, 2011

Winter in suburbia

There are only four days remaining before my very first semester at uni is officially over. These last few months seem to have surged by at an unimaginable speed. My old life ended just yesterday but already it's almost incomprehensible to envision returning to the past.

For a short while I considered picking up work during the semester break or volunteering at a permaculture institute somewhere far away (Patagonia perhaps?) but heck.. I like being able to sleep in on weekdays and maybe I might actually be able to fix my bike and get through the pile of books that I've amassed on food security, vermiculture, manure and biodynamic principles.

An edible garden is such a beautiful thing. What was once an unassuming corner of the front yard has become an invaluable place to wander through when work becomes overwhelming, when I need to refocus, take my mind off all of the many things require urgent attention or are ridiculously stressful cramming 32 chapters of biology for my final exam on Tuesday morning, or trying to forget that I almost died when an old bat tried to run me over at a pedestrian crossing in full daylight. 

There is an immense satisfaction in knowing that my hands have created something that will provide endless pleasure from the ingredients that can be plucked at a whim only a few steps from the front door. Even in the dead of winter there are herbs flowing from every crevice, rhubarb sending out crimson red stalks, chillies so heavily laden that their lanky limbs are almost pressed to the ground, and a myriad of insects that are just waiting to be poked and prodded with mild bemusement.

I invited some new additions into the garden this month - sour morello cherry, gooseberry, marionberry and blueberry. They're not giving away any clues as to how they're doing (I suppose they've all hit their dormant state). Around them, garlic cloves are shooting, elderflower buds are bursting, basil flowers are setting seed, purple cabbages are growing at a snail's pace, giant yukomo snow peas are attempting to topple their bamboo trellis and a single spud is hopefully making its way to my letterbox all the way from Melbourne.

Milkwood Permaculture will be running a mushroom growing workshop later this month at Alexandria Park Community Centre which I'm looking forward to. I can't wait actually. I love mushrooms grilled with garlic butter and herbs or combined with snails and puff pastry in an escargot en croute. Learning how to grow exotic mushrooms at home under the bed will be another awesome project to attempt once this final exam is over and done with.

Hmm who knows.. Maybe all this crap I'm learning about dikaryotic mycelium and pilobolus sporangia will actually come in handy...


  1. What gorgeous photos! I'm contemplating a herb garden on our balcony after the move. I can't wait!

  2. Yes, an edible garden is beautiful. The world has gone mad when it gets to the stage of relegating food growing to a small patch out the back behind the shed!


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