14 February 2012
Another square metre
The City Garden has been neglected a little lately, with most space taken up with tomatoes that are just quietly doing their thing in the background, I haven't really tended the Garden as closely as I should. So last weekend I had a huge working bee, pruning and trimming and weeding to try to gain control again. And at the completion of all that work, after realising that a couple of flowering plants had come to the end of their useful lifespan, I managed to salvage another sunny square metre for vegetables. It's the simple things that make me happy...! So now that square has been composted and dug through and I've just planted a new crop of Cavelo Nero. We haven't had any growing since early summer and I've been missing it. I also worked through some of the other parts of the garden and planted some Ruby Red Silverbeet and bush beans around the nearly finished tomatoes. Being able to step outside the backdoor to pick vegetables fresh for dinner just can't be beaten.
Gaining the square metre reminded me of my favourite gardening book called "One Magic Square" by Lolo Houbein (Wakefield Press 2009). Although I have quite a library of books on growing vegetables, this is the one that I keep going back to, and if you are thinking of starting a garden and want some inspiration, or just need some good advice, this is the book to read. Lolo's basic idea is to start with a 1m x 1m square so that you don't get overwhelmed, and then build up from there. She includes many suggestions for how to plant out the square, all of which are designed to work with the type of cooking you do. So if you eat lots of curries, plant a curry plot, or similar for stir-fries or salads. Importantly she reminds readers to think about what you actually eat and plant that. The book also has masses of useful advice about basically everything you could want to know about growing your own food, as well as a scary chapter about food security called "The Terrible Importance of Growing Food", which should be compulsory reading for all. It's a great, down-to-earth book that makes growing some of your own food sound not just like a good idea, but like an essential one, and one that is definitely achievable.