February 14, 2011

Creating a vegetable garden

Very early in my 'Chambers' experience I decided to establish a vegetable garden and orchard. My previous interests (theatre, restaurants) were now several hundred kilometers away, and new hobbies were urgently needed. In the spirit of getting carried away with my own ideas, I decided not just to grow vegetables, but to become self sufficient for fruit, vegetables and herbs. For good measure I also decided to learn to cook so that I could create culinary masterpieces from my organic produce. The best laid plans...

Farmer Joe built four raised garden beds from recycled railway sleepers and I enthusiastically planted dozens of seedlings. Remember the series of mishaps I referred to in my first post? This is where they began. One week after planting, I came home from work to find the garden completely demolished. Every last plant had been pulled out by the roots and thrown aside. In a single day. Nothing left.
Insisting on a solution that didn't involve a shot gun, I had Farmer Joe string fishing line across the entire area with little strips of alfoil attached to scare away the birds. The cockatoos stayed away and I replanted, though for several weeks it looked as though crazy people lived in our house who were expecting a visitation from space.

The new plants matured and we began to harvest. Enter mishap number two. Farmer Joe and I were woken at dawn by the unusual sound of sheep bleating outside our bedroom window. Farmer Joe had left a gate open.
800 sheep. 800.
I stood in the dirt in my dressing gown in front of the dust bowl that had been my vegetable garden and (I am embarrassed to admit), cried. Country life has some unique challenges.

Farmer Joe built a fence, I replanted and the garden grew again. We are now enjoying bountiful harvests of tomatoes, zucchinis, sweetcorn and beans. The cockatoos stay in the trees and the sheep can only stare in from the other side of the fence.


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