Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gardening Motto for the botanically challenged - Just have a go

When I first started this blog in early November last year I was certainly a novice gardener. All I could manage was a small herb garden of necessity (I love cooking with fresh herbs, but the Vic Markets are not open for my convenience and sometimes I would just forget to buy them, plus the costs do add up, and when you are on a student budget ...) and a lemon tree given to me by a friend. Yet in the tub of herby goodness I managed the oddest things. On the balcony I somehow managed to kill rosemary 3 times (almost unheard of) and sage, but through some miracle my basil grew bushlike and lasted through winter (it was weirdness central and something that has not happened again)

I think it was most likely the tomatoes but something sparked a growing frenzy and this newbie gardener suddenly became an obsessive greenthumb. I came up with the name inept balcony gardener because:

1. I gardened on a balcony (duh)
2. I really did not have a clue what I was doing, gardening wise or blog wise for that matter.

Over the months, and it literally has only been months, I have learned so much. This is from the community of bloggers around me (thanks everyone) and from blotanical and just the internet in general. More than that I have found a community of like minded individuals, most of which caught the green gardening bug much earlier than I. Some of you are kind and call my gardening far from inept. I have definitely progressed, I no longer use discarded kitchen wire ties to truss up my tomatoes, not do I try and grow 100 carrots in a single small pot. I've learned to battle the urge to overcrowd and have learned to companion plant and work with, not against the seasons (though that accidental Winter basil was an absolute treat).

I am a bit of an experimental cook, as my friends will attest. Poor Hurricaine J (who is an experimental cook himself) was served an experiement gluten free bread and butter pudding (no easy thing I might add) and ate it dutifully despite its glueish texture and oversweetness. On this blog I have shown some of my experimental cooking adventures. Now often these experiments don't turn out quite right. Some people were just meant to cook, they understand food, they get textures and they press the boundaries. Some people don't quite have those skills but it is not the end of the world for them, they are not doomed to a life of take away and packet pasta. They can learn a few basic foolproof recipes that are easy, fun and nutritious. Everyone can be a cook, it's just for some it comes more naturally then for others.

The same thing, I've found, goes on in the garden. Sometimes my knowledgeless experiments work out, sometimes they fail miserably (see above reference to sage and rosemary for starters) I had no clue to start with but I learned a few basic gardening 'recipes', the basics of pot gardening and how to grow from seedlings and eventually my own seeds. I had to learn and try and sometimes my natrual tendencies of impatience and laziness got in the way. But in the end the garden is there for all to see!

So my motto for those of you out there who may be put off by silly articles that suggest gardening is too hard and too expensive, or consider it to be beyond your means ... Just give it a go. I did and I was majorly botanically challenged. If gardening were dancing I'd have 3 left feet! If it fails, try again, read some blogs or other internet sources and try and solve the problem. It's always an experiment and no one ever got anywhere without first trying something new. The bonus is that if everyone had just a little garden the world would be a greener place!


vuejardin said...

Yes, I agree that the world will be greener if everyone starts a small garden, one step at a time. You did a great job to maximize the gardening space on the balcony. I understand the postgrad life (just been through that :-) Gardening gives us healthy food and peaceful mind to concentrate on daily tasks, especially the speed up the thesis/dissertation process ;p

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

Gardening is some kind interactive activity between people, flora, soil and water... Some say, gardening is a natural way to cool down the emotional tempo... Happy Gardening!

~ bangchik

Michelle said...

I agree - just give it a go! I've learned much of what I know about gardening from classes and books and friends and the web, and just anywhere that I can get information. But, the best way to learn is to get your hands dirty and give it a go.

So I hope you know that you are attempting one of the most difficult ways to garden - in containers. It is more difficult to manage watering and fertilizing and keeping plants happy in the unnatural environment of a container. So give yourself a big pat on the back and keep up the good work! Most important - have fun. :)

Salix Tree said...

Love your blog! I had several balcony and roof gardens when I lived in NYC for 6 years. I too was only just learning about plants then. So your blog holds a little nostalgia for me.
I'm sure you will do well with yours, you seem to have a lot of enthusiasm for nature.
I'll visit again soon.

Northern Shade said...

Don't forget to give some credit to the Lego people who were role models for you, cheerfully gardening in a limited space. :) I always picture them tending your garden when you're not around.

Jamie said...

Spot on, totally agree, well done (both for your blog and the balcony garden). I'm sure you've inspired many others.