Thursday, August 14, 2008

Living a sustainable life

Sustainability is a theme that has been gaining momentum in my life. Midwives talk about sustaining their practice so that they do not burnout, and they maintain their joy for the job. Educators are investigating how they can integrate sustainability into course curriculum. And, as the cost of petrol goes up, the idea of doing collaborative work online instead of taking numerous plane flights is increasingly attractive.

My bit for sustainability
I have been thinking that I'll grow my own vegetables. I only have a small urban garden, but I have a few ideas about how I could manage that. It feels like the right thing to do, both philosophically and financially.
Being a responsible gardener
But my husband says I have to prove that I can be a responsible gardener. At the moment he says I am not - I don't look after the garden I have so, how will I maintain a vegetable garden?

What do you think? Does it look like I would make a good gardener or do you think I'm living some sort of weird fantasy life? The last thing I want to do is admit my husband is right!


Claire Thompson said...

I don't know what is in that bottom photo, but it looks pretty gross! However, I think looking after a vegetable garden is more motivating than a flower garden. I'm not a green thumb, but I love harvesting my peas, cherry tomatoes etc and as a result I do a much better job of looking after the veg garden than the other plants in my yard. There's bigger pay back. So I say go for it!

Sarah Stewart said...

I can tell you now, Claire, it is pretty gross - a wild experiment to see if I can re-produce the big bang and the slithering of a new life form out of the water onto land!

My dad had an allotment many moons ago and I remember it being hard work, although the food was just delicious.

Carolyn said...

I feel exactly the same. Want a veggie garden but not sure how to go about it. I am surrounded by fantastic gardners and I try to keep on top of the weeds but they always take over. I can never win :(. I love fresh vegies especially things like home grown radishes and carrots.

Craig said...

Your gardening looks like mine!!!!! You should see my herb garden :-)

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Caro & Craig, may be I should just go to the farmer's market for my veggies - probably a lot less painful.

Anonymous said...

Ah ha! See I thought you were having a water garden! I gave you the benefit of the doubt!
That said, we have lots of perennial plants in our front garden. In the back yard we grew some tomatoes and lettuce this year. The usual chives and what we call winter onions (just harvest the green that pokes up!). A few herbs make their way to the pots on the steps.. but that is about that.
Go simple... or take a walk to the local farmers market. Support the local economy! It is all good!
That all being said... the 'yard' of our house is smaller than the main floor. It takes 4 mintues and a 38 seconds to take the push mower and deal with the lawn. =) small is good!

Sarah Stewart said...

No, it's not a water garden, thank you very much. :)

I think that I will grow a few herbs like parsley & basil. And I can grow tomatoes in my porch. If nothing else, that would be nice.

Samuel Mann said...

Sarah, the answer may be closer than you think. While the the LivingCampus is about more than gardening (a centre for sustainability education...), it is also about gardening.

Lots of us want to be better at gardening and one of the hopes of the LivingCampus is that together we can learn together and from experts. It is worth remembering that much of that old time knowledge was nearly lost once, and had to be rejuvinated with wartime campaigns - we can dig for victory again against a different threat.

To this end there's a group of OT students working out how the LivingCampus can involve resthome residents to pass on some of that old time knowledge.

The garden will be based around active participation and around messages, we're still working out what those messages are, but one of them is "if this is how much space you've got, this is what you can do with it...". What other messages should the LivingCampus tell?

Sarah Stewart said...

Thanks for that, Sam. I need to have a closer look at the project. I love the idea of getting information and advice from older folks - it's like us girls learning about knitting from our grandmothers.

My trouble is: I'm a lazy 'whats it' & I do keeping a veggie garden takes commitment & I don't know if I have that.

M-H said...

A few veggies and herbs are great, especially if they're only a few steps from the kitchen door. You will have delicious omelets, salads, casseroles, soups, sauces.... You don't need to grow a lot but grape tomatoes (they hang over the edge of a pot and look really lovely), those fancy lettuces that you pick a few leaves at a time, baby spinach, chives, parsley, oregano, rosemary and sage are all things I have grown successfully in NZ. And mint will grow anywhere.

Sarah Stewart said...

I was thinking about those special lettuces, M-H, because we eat a lot in the summer.

I did try growing strawberries last year but the plants would only yield one or two at a time and we'd all race home from work/school to see who could eat them first.

Leigh Blackall said...

first class has already been. But this Thursday night...