I have just signed up to do my Diploma in Permaculture, based here in the UK. After having lived for nine years in southern Spain I am in a bit of a transition, returning to my mother land, starting a new life in a little village unknown to me, starting a new course and starting to think about planning and planting a vegetable garden for the first time in my life!!!
Having visualized myself into this new stage of my life (for a few years I didn’t know what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live or how I could get there, wherever there was!!) I now find I have the garden of my long held dreams. I pictured being near the sea, having views of the sea from my window (which I have, from my bedroom and kitchen) and having a garden. All of this I pictured, all of this I wanted, all of this I dreamed of, and now the realisation has hit me that I have never gardened before and I don’t know where to start!!!
Similarly, ten years ago I visualized myself living ‘off the grid’ on a grand farm in Andalucia, surrounded by nature and living ‘the good life’ I managed to get there as well but I never managed to take care of the land… Isolation, lack of transport, public or otherwise, lack of knowledge and experience, soon drove me back to living in a city, which I don’t regret, I had many great years living in Granada and I learned a lot about myself, about the spanish culture, about survival and about living out our dreams, but NOT about gardening…
So here I am again, fortunate enough to have manifested the life of my dreams, or at least the place of one of my dreams. I should say I have a really lovely, large, lush, south facing garden. For someone who doesn’t know about gardening, who is relatively new to permaculture I have really stepped off the deep end..
However, lack of hands-on gardening experience, lack of land-based planning design, lack of understanding of plants and natural systems does not stop me wondering, and getting excited about, what exactly will grow from a seed!!!
Last night I planted my first seeds, indoors, with great trepidation and excitement. As I was working away following the text books (no other way to do it at this stage) I thought, ‘I just do not know what will grow from these seeds’, with that I mean amounts, what will mature, what each plant will look like, how I will recognise them (apart from the obvious if they get to full fruition) how much is enough?? That is a big question for me, how much is enough? I imagined at least being able to feed myself, hopefully having enough to give bags away to visitors, even having enough to start my own catering business (another design plan) but that is probably stage two.. but when I ask the question, how much is enough? It is two-fold, or maybe many-fold, how much seed do I need to grow enough food to feed myself and within that what is enough food to feed myself and for how long? But the question of what will grow from a seed, and the question of how much is enough led me to all sorts of musings on the bigger picture: world hunger, food production, waste, what is enough, why do some people have more than enough if all it takes to feed us are a handful of seeds?
A sobering thought and a sad reflection of our times. But a spark ignited in me, and I know I am not the first to have had this spark, and I have probably arrived very late at it, but none the less a spark was ignited, that is, if I can grow vegetables from these wonderful little seeds, anyone can. From that I thought, if I can learn about permaculture, understand it, put it in practice and grow vegetables then I can plant more seeds and grow more, and I am not just talking about produce…
And so I start on the journey of recording my observations, my trials and errors and my musings.
I hope I will be joined by others along the way, those with lots of experience, those wishing to learn also, those who are taking their first steps like myself and those who are out their sowing the seeds and caring for the land and our future.
Lets see what can grow from a seed!!!