The year in review - part III

Anita Kundu is talking about growing Something else from Auckland

Garden ready!

Now is a good time to start thinking about goals for next year.  What changes do you want to make around your garden?  Here’s a list of what I would like to achieve next year:

  •          Improve RSI in the neck/trapezius and wrists/forearms by decreasing gardening activity and hopefully relieve some of the pain I have been feeling in these areas
  •          Make more time for research into issues that have cropped up in recent years, such as powdery mildew and blossom end rot on zucchini and pumpkins.  This will help me make a more informed decision about how I choose to resolve these problems rather than having to take last minute action and reaching for a product which I really don’t want to use on them
  •          Re-think the use of non-organic sprays and fertilisers around the garden.  Develop organic methods for (i) nourishing plants and (ii) controlling pests and diseases
  •          Make a major effort to reduce garden waste and recycle as much of it back into the garden as possible.  This has become a serious issue in the past fortnight as our garden waste management company has refused to empty our two wheelie bins on the grounds that they are too heavy.  I have already done some thinking about composting in my blog in the past but this has given me the incentive I need to finally take action and implement some sort of system next year for dealing with this kind of garden waste, which is compostable.  It may be that we still need at least one bin for weeds and rose prunings, because of the seeds and thorns respectively. 
  •          Make a greater effort to save seeds from the garden.  This is particularly important in a small country like NZ where import regulations are very strict.  It is getting harder and more expensive to import seeds, which has reduced the range of what is available.   It’s no longer guaranteed that you can find what you want, even if you are prepared to pay for it.  If I want to keep certain varieties in the garden year after year, the only way to do so is to save seeds from these plants myself
  •          Continue to blog (aim for every day, like I’m doing now) on my website  I’d like to write about gardening and also other topics such as health and fitness

From here, I need to draw up a list of some concrete steps I need to take to implement my plan.  I am starting to develop a new vision for the garden.  If I scale down production, it will free up some time so I can actually improve the garden.  Sometimes, less is more.  Who knows, down-sizing a bit might even increase productivity.  In time, I would like to eventually phase out the use of non-organic substances.  To eliminate their use completely is perhaps too elusive and unrealistic a goal for me at the moment, but every journey begins with a single footstep, as the saying goes.  Even if I can’t achieve this in 2019, I’d like to at least start working towards it.  Some goals are long term and change takes time.   Bear in mind that the ground needs to be organic too, so it may take awhile to cleanse the soil of non-organic matter.  Changes might have to be rolled out in stages.  Being organic doesn’t mean using nothing in the garden.  Plants need more than sunshine and water in order to grow well.  There are two parts to this: (i) below the surface ie the soil; and (ii) above ground level.  For a start, the soil must be properly nourished.  I attended a workshop on growing fruit trees in city gardens run by Kings Plant Barn a couple of years ago.  Some advice that really stuck with me was that if you get the soil right, everything else will follow.   Next, I need to research and test products so I can find effective alternatives for nourishing plants and controlling pests and diseases.

It has occurred to me that some of my goals complement each other nicely.  For example, if I start a composting system, I can ensure that the end-product is organic.  This will help me towards phasing out the use of non-organic substances in the garden.  Saving seeds within this environment will ensure that the seeds I use are organic, too.  When I conduct research into gardening issues, I could write up a little note of my findings to post to my blog.  That way, I’ll also have a record for future reference.

Finally, just a little note on new year’s resolutions.  If the year doesn’t start out well, it’s never too late to take control at any stage.  Don’t let time pass you by without getting what you want from it!  This happened to me this year in a different context.  My weight was continually creeping upwards, but it was only in July that I came up with a new strategy.  I changed gyms and decided to compete in the YMCA 10k series.  In just five months, I have managed to make a lot of progress, maybe more than I could have made in a whole year. There’s nothing like the feeling that time’s running out to spur you into action (not to mention the threat of being put on meds for diabetes)!  Also, don’t be afraid to re-visit your list and revise your goals at any time.

In my next post, I’ll outline some of the concrete steps I have so far identified I need to take in order to put my plan into action.  In the meantime, here’s a photo of one of our Christmas lilies which has just started flowering.  It is called Triumphator and I got it from NZ Bulbs.