Sunday, 2 June 2013

Growing skills

No close friend or casual acquaintance of mine would describe me as a gardener, never mind a keen one. I like to have a nice tidy garden and am perfectly capable of admiring a beautiful well-stocked garden. But I would rather work extra at what I know I can do reasonably well to earn the money to pay the gardener to do the work.   But this year I decided to do something in the line of growing things.  Beans, tomatoes, and a few flowers should be within any thinking man's reach, I reckoned.

Its taught me a few things. Not that I had any illusions, but you feel it more when you've had the personal experience. Its hard work even when the scale of the operation is limited. I can understand the worry farmers must feel when the weather turns. Too cold, too dry, too hot, its all a worry. Nature seldom provides circumstances Goldilocks favoured for her porridge - neither too hot nor too cold. And when it does appear balmy there's usually a catch somewhere.  

I worried about the slugs eating the bean plants (WD40 - a lubricant - works well I was told; I sprayed it liberally; not on the plants, even I know better than that - but on the outside of the containers. I am concerned at the small white spots that have appeared on the young leaves of  my two tomato plants. I know nothing about fungal or viral diseases of plants and how to fight them. I'm letting nature take its course. I can afford to since there isn't a lot riding on my success at growing things. I am thankful that I don't have to depend on my farming skills to feed myself. I have renewed respect for farmers and growers everywhere especially in poorer countries with scarce resources, neck deep in debt, everything invested in the crop, no insurance to cover unforeseen events, and all too exposed to the vagaries of nature. They may not know it but they must be naturally gifted risk managers.

But these plants have come up nicely. 

I'd like to think I can take some credit for them.. at the very least I didn't do them any harm when they were merely bedding plants that I bought in the local market. 

Its like having children - hard work, worry, concern, disappointment when things go wrong but joy when they turn out okay.