I’ve been digging. Yanking weeds and tugging at stubborn roots. Shoveling, tilling, turning. Trimming overgrown foliage and pruning unruly branches. Raking, clearing, collecting. Gathering dead leaves and fallen palm fronds. Removing, discarding, relocating. Transferring plants into new homes (pots) and distributing them around the garden and surrounds. Sorting, sifting, filtering. Separating rubbish from productive soil. Bits of plastic, fruit stickers, polystyrene and tea bags (I can confirm that none of these decompose readily).
I’ve inherited a previously loved but now wild garden. Before I begin to nurture new growth, first the space must be transformed so it is ready for seeds to be sown. I hope to grow bounteous vegetables, attract bees (and birds) and create a relaxing little nature escape nestled in urban life.
My garden project has been timely considering the current social distancing restrictions and lack of other recreational activities. I can’t help but relate this process to that which is going on in the world at the moment. For those of us who are healthy and not stunted by joblessness or poverty (recognising that this scenario does not apply to all), it has been an opportunity to pause.
If we choose, it can also be a chance for us to embrace change and reflect on what old, overgrown or rotten aspects of our pre-Covid-19 lives we might want to discard before we are ready to cultivate a new, better world. Conversely, like my garden, with its existing raised garden bed infrastructure and many already thriving plants, there are many facets of our pre-Covid-19 lives which we can incorporate into the foundation of our future lives.
So let us consider, what is worth salvaging from our old lives and what is best left in the past? Like my garden, there are many aspects of our lives which can be form a solid base to build upon for the future. What can we add to this to enhance it, to help it grow into something beautiful and wondrous? More soil, some seedlings, perhaps some nutrients? More balance, some kindness, perhaps more social cohesion?
As an aside, I’m attempting to create a worm farm, which I hope will be able to both devour my kitchen scraps and provide nourishment for my future vegetable garden. Following Gardening Australia’s advice, I have installed a plastic bucket in the soil, into which I’ve drilled holes. I’ve spotted worms wriggling in the surrounding soil, but thus far, they have failed to appreciate how delicious and nutritious my kitchen scraps are (the ants are onto it though). If my plan works, this worm farm will help me reduce the volume of waste I sent to landfill and stimulate growth and recycle nutrients in my garden.
While the chaos and disruption that this coronavirus pandemic has wrought on our lives has not been our choice, we do have a choice to decide how we move forward from here. How will you choose to transform your life and your community so our global society can evolve into a more sustainable, healthier one?