16th December 2019
3 weeks ago the following was written in my garden journal. It is the next planting of my summer garden. I had planted tomatoes, beans and corn and pumpkin (known as threes sisters planting) My vegies (vegatables) garden beds are basically square meter beds or about 40″ square raised beds. I do all sorts of plantings at one time I did use the square foot gardening methods and loved the quantity of vegies you could get from a small area. This year I am mixing it up a bit in how I am planting. I do plant closer together than you usually do. I also have plants in containers on my deck and have been adding seeds and seedlings into my normal beds too. (that is for another post I think).
25/11/19 The garden was calling today, blue sky and still for a while. I was not feeling like spending time in the garden as I was just feeling quite flat. I looked at my seedlings that remain to be planted out. The zucchini and some brassicas were really needing to go out, or at least into a larger pot. As to the lettuce I got at crop swap. I figured that if I was going to transplant them I should put them in the garden and not pot them up. I gathered my supplies the seedlings with the aim to complete the planting of these and not stop until most were in.
With the wind dropping off and the sunshine it became easier to do. It seems to be for me at times that just beginning is often so unbelievably hard. I have been learning to do a small thing so my aim was to plant these seedlings. There are more to go out though they need warmer temperatures than we have been having of late. I looked at the where I have a couple of tomatoes growing and thought that the eggplant I had put in the bed was being exposed to much to the wind so moved it. It and some capsicums seedlings are in the asparagus bed for the time being.
I then put the zucchinis in the bed and the lettuce on the side where the zucchinis will be discouraged by me in where they wander. I had planed to trellis them, unfortunately sunshine would have been blocked from other beds.
I decided that the brassicas needed to be put in and as they are heavy feeders, they went in to a bed with aged manure, blood and bone and two Ollas.
I keep mentioning Ollas. What are they? they are water reservoirs that go into the soil and help with watering and water retention.
My homemade Ollas are terracotta planters (I have been able to buy some with no hole for drainage in them.)and the saucer becomes the lid. You can fill the hole with a suitable filler for a terracotta pot ensure that it is a safe product for use in something in your vegie garden.
I put the pot into the bed and just the lip is sticking above fill the pot with water and pop the saucer on for lid. I mulch over them so to keep them cool. Though it is very easy to check water level by taking top off and adding water, not forgetting to put the top on and cover with mulch. You terracotta planters must not be sealed in any way.
Some seedlings are coping better than others. I am trying the Three Sisters method this year. My understanding that Native Americans used to plant corn beans and pumpkins (squash) together. The beans use the corn to grow up on, whilst the squash leaves keep the roots of the plants cool.
My dogs Treacle and Busby are my family. Throughout my breakdown and my ongoing mental health illness they are my constant companions. I would not be here I can honestly admit if it had not been for my animals. In my worst days (not so distant) there presence, warmth, love, companionship and their needing me is why I did not kill myself. For their presence I am eternally grateful.
It breaks my heart when I hear or read about people saying how can people on Newstart (unemployment benefit I am on it, in Australia.) or living on the street afford to keep a dog or cat ? For many the love companionship of their furred buddy is what keeps them going just like me. Just like me I would go without and have in the past so my dogs are fed and cared for. Yet these people are often judged. It is amazing how just having another heartbeat near you and the soft fur to pet and a warm body to hug and snuggle with is everything to me and I assume them.
I am appreciative to wake up every day now. Not all days are great but that is normal the bad days are less but I guess if I don’t leave my home it makes it less likely I will face a trigger. I find it so very hard to trust people. I can be out and friendly in small groups say at a cafe on an irregular time frame. Being around people for too long or too often, the noise, music, smells perfumes etc. Exhaust me. There are benefits to this I don’t go out much and therefore spend less than in my previous life. This is a very simple life. I can honestly say that as hard and all as it is life after my breakdown, I am thankful for it. I began living a simpler life not as a choice. It is my life. I am so grateful for the life I lead now. I have realised I am actually happy in my own space on my own. This is a huge change and it is thanks to having a fantastic psychologist who has really heard and is so supportive. It is the thing I believe is the hardest thing for those with any mental illness to find. Support and help that is pertinent to you as an individual and where you are totally heard and feel safe to share what has to be shared to
The wind had knocked over my broad beans and many were broken off. I cleared the bed and bought the beans in side. I will think about what I will do with them tomorrow. I also harvested some garlic even thought I knew it was too early. It meant the bed was now fairly clear for the next crops to go into. Silver beet and a leek were harvested.
What a feast I had an omelette with carrot, onion caramalised, capsicum, silver beet, garlic, broad beans, using two eggs and a quarter cup of milk. Started on the stove top then grated cheese finely on top(grating it finely you dont’t use as much) put into a low oven to bake gently while I had a shower, Perfectly cooked when I came out. Delicious. I paid $6.50 for a dozen organic free range eggs from the farm, my milk is Tasmanian, $4.50 for 2 litres not homogenised, the capsicum red was $1.30 and the onion red was 80 cents. I used a few slices of capsicum, about 1/4 of the onion, the cheese I buy when on special usually about $9 for 1kg (this one is Bega tasty). with my vegies which have costs involved in setting everything up( I know) these were very cheap, as all were from seeds I had saved last year.
So from being very reluctant to garden I now feel more peaceful, I enjoyed it, and always find having my hands in the soil or just weeding, does improve my mood. I do take vitamin D supplement during winter as I suffer with low to very low vitamin D levels. (common in Southern maybe all of Tasmania.) I do try to get into the sunshine and yes I do feel good for achieving what I planed and more, along with cooking a fresh healthy meal. Along with having a shower, something that embarrasses me to write but it is my truth, has been over a week since I had one. I have put a load of washing on which was very needed too. I am not a domestic goddess. I do like to cook, and bake. Yet like many things I like and enjoy I get so overwhelmed at times. Which is so strange compared to my working life when I was in charge of facilities. These are the things having a mental illness impact for me; along with my inability to fill out documents, read complex things, to organise, to commit to anything or retain some things in my head. I am so grateful for my garden and to be physically able to work in it. To be able to grow some vegetables for myself.