Autumn 2020 – Constraint can sprout creativity

Like everyone we are navigating our new normal. The garden, the season and our wild places continue on their cycles unaware of the human species madly treading water around them.  Thank goodness for these places of calm.

Just like in a garden and in nature when a gap is created new opportunities arise. I love a new gap in the garden and with this open mind set the increased time at home opens up the chance to again share what we do in our garden during the seasons. It has also opened up an opportunity to work with our eldest daughter whose big gap year plans to work and travel screeched to a halt. Bella is helping with some major garden projects and  helping me share with you what happens in the garden (with the help of social media – gulp). I am happy to have her around for as long as possible.

prefered image lou & Bella

When I last  wrote in November 2019 we had bought water for the first time. It didn’t rain after that and once again we really rationalised all the water we used. This meant scaling back food growing in our vegetable gardens, saving any water used inside to keep important plants alive (orchard trees, grape vines shading our north facing pergola and other recently planted young trees). The upside, what I like to think of as creative problem solving included:

  • reassessing where we buy our vegetables from,
  • what we cook and eat weekly,
  • what plants and trees were surviving despite the extreme heat days,
  • how we use our space outside,
  • the infrastructure to support us being able to grow some vegetables (wicking beds folks) and what we needed to change.

Pride is a virtue that is bound to be challenged and the pride of growing a fair proportion of our veg was a badge I definitely wore! Letting go of this was brilliant and offered the chance to subscribe to a weekly veg box from the amazing RADgrowers. Possibly some of the stress of growing great food was transferred to Erin – however the community of subscribers, Erin’s commitment to her growing system and the joy of the weekly box of totally in season veg was liberating. I love it and then another constraint popped up. Cooking only what is in season and in the veg box. We didn’t back down and this was yet another creative opportunity to dive into the many cook books I own. In fact I completely rationalised my cookbooks  to those that really focus on seasonal cooking.

We have in our part of the world had rain and our Autumn has been just delightful. We continue receiving the weekly veg box as we still don’t have full tanks and unlimited water (just like our internet really). What we focus on growing are the veg that are either not so market garden friendly eg peas, beans (which are a pain to pick in volume), carrots (can never have enough of these) and more winter greens – again because we eat a lot of these.

As for the other unleashed creative opportunities, we have planted some more shade trees to our north west of the garden, are paving an area of lawn that never was really lawn and are planning another wicking bed.

So constraints can be opportunities for creativity if we are open to this mind set. It is of course OK to totally freak out for a bit and feel overwhelmed –  but it will pass. Just like the seasons, sun, moon and all those other cycles.

As with any of the writing I have done, I look forward to sharing more.