Winter is my absolute favourite time of the year. In the subtropics it is a time when you can get lots of things done because it’s cool enough to work outside all day. At least it was – there haven’t been many days this year that stayed cool for long; the effects of climate change are making themselves felt, reinforcing the need to grow food differently.
This winter, my garden has finally reached the stage where there are no bits left that I am too scared to tackle, that I have ignored for months (or years) pretending they would go away if I just didn’t look at them. Like the three aging compost bins I was afraid to start digging in for fear of unleashing a monster, the dead acacia I could not get down due to a mortal dread of chainsaws (as well as not having one), the water tank pad that finally got built, and two old fences I knew needed to be replaced sooner rather than later so that I didn’t want to plant anything next to them.
The final one of these procrastination corners was an area under one of the mango trees – it had become a bit of a dumping ground of things for which I had nowhere else and was littered with old pots, black plastic sheets, a pile of gravel and who knows what else – all overgrown with weeds and grass. I finally sorted it out, and now I have a pleasant, shady place to sit while pondering my next move.
So this prompted me to finally take the plunge and make my first video. On first impressions you may think it is just a mess, and it is in some places, but a natural environment, which a food forest tries to emulate, is messy. Nature is messy, and the more mess and chaos, the more life and biodiversity. But amongst the black plastic, bits of tin, discarded pots and wood, there is a definite hint of something more wondrous to come. In some areas it is starting to have that ‘established ecosystem’ feel about it, especially where it has been left to its own devices for a little while – no surprises there. But if I wait until the garden is perfect before showing it, it will never happen.
So here it is in all its ‘warts and all’ splendour.