Mum’s memorial vegetable garden mark 1

Hi All,

This is the first of the posts where I am “not here” that I didn’t write before mum died. I am typing this post on Sunday 8th of January. 2 weeks since we shared mums “best ever Christmas” with her. She hijacked Christmas and made it her bitch and at the time it made me a little irritated, but now, I am so glad that she did. This time 2 weeks ago she was wheeling out more food than the 5 of us could comfortably eat in a fortnight on top of what we had provided in elegant sufficiency. Mum was always one to over cater and when her rum balls didn’t work (all 3 varieties) she got as mad as hell and almost threw them across the room (according to the girls where she was staying when she made them). Today I am just about to head out with Steve and make the very first vegetable garden bed on Serendipity Farm.  It’s in honour of mum and how she wanted us to make one when she was here over Christmas. Thanks again to all of you letting me blend my mum into my posts on Serendipity Farm. It is never easy to deal with someone else’s grief and when it is born out in the public arena it becomes somewhat uncomfortable. This is my year of living honestly and so I have been honest with you all about where this has taken me. I am sorry if anyone is uncomfortable about this, but I will be slowly bleeding mum out of my sadness and into my memories and can’t help but share this amazing conundrum of a woman with you all. If you read this blog and you like who we are and what I have to say, some of it came from her genetics so ultimately you are sharing her here every day.


In saying that, “the show must go on” as a much admired singer once sang just before he exited this world in a most public fashion and life doesn’t stop its cycles for anyone no matter how low your circumstances lay you. It is always waiting to take up where you left off and keep spinning and Serendipity Farm needs me to get up and over that hurdle and get my (somewhat large at the moment) ass into gear. We just made a somewhat wonky and rickety vegetable garden using some old corrugated iron that we found out the back of the shed and some pine stakes to hold it together. We got a bale of the chooks hay and 4 bags of horse manure that we had been stockpiling for when we saved up enough to get the veggie garden into reality. We have since learned that while you are waiting for something to change, you will be missing out on all that growing time. That was so easy to build and this garden bed will be finished off and planted out when I get back from Western Australia. Mum kept on and on at me about getting a patch of broad beans going for years now. I love broad beans and it was only stubborn refusal to be told that stopped me from growing them in the past. No one is telling me anymore and in hindsight, my petulance seems incredibly petty. I am not someone that needs to learn her lessons twice, so consider me chastened and the lesson learned. Steve has plans to repopulate the entire area with similar veggie gardens while I am gone. We will pick up a load of good top soil from the Exeter Landscapers (a little tip about where to get the best weed free soil from a fellow gardener at the markets) and after ameliorating the soil with some of our secret weapon (Eco fish), and a good slurp of power feed and seasol they should be G2G. We have some severely advanced tomato plants hiding out in the glasshouse that may or may not survive out here in the ‘real world’ but as ashamed as we are at our horticultural ignorance about vegetable growing, we are willing to take a bollocking and go back to school (so to speak) to learn what we have to learn. I guess we should have headed down into the Polytechnic veggie garden when we had the chance but we were too busy propagating and grafting and doing what we were passionate about at the time and the veggie garden was mainly full of wankers that we were keen to avoid :o)

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And so begins another chapter on Serendipity Farm. Mum may be gone, but her legacy of “suck it and see” will live on. I will be at mum’s funeral today. No doubt finding it difficult to speak as I try to sum up my mother’s life in a few short words on behalf of our side of the family. Steve will be sitting on the deck with a glass of red and a spare for mum should she feel like popping in after the big event and sharing a glass. If she chooses to leave it, I am sure that he will polish it off in her honour. It has been a most difficult beginning to a year in as long as I can remember, but it has also been the most enlightening time of my life. I can go forwards after leaving my mum behind and take her with me in my soul. She will be present in every garden we build, in each of the precious babies (that didn’t die of boredom or possum attack waiting to be planted out…) that we plant out on Serendipity Farm. She will always be here in spirit, out on the deck looking out smiling at the view. It’s your place as much as it is ours mum, please feel free to just drop in whenever you see fit, there will always be a place for you here. She told us on the last day that she was here, that “whenever I am out doing the watering I will be back there with you all” and so Steve says “while you are visiting, make sure to do your bit and water the plants” :o). Maybe I will plant out those geraniums that you insisted would ward off possums…maybe I won’t, but at least I am thinking about what you said and that is a start mum. I will have so much to share with you all when I get back in 5 days’ time. Until then, I will be posted by my most loyal deputy Steve and hopefully the results are readable and you see the pictures that are posted. I trust you to at least try to post them babe :o)


I just had a look at the pictures that are going to accompany this post and for our prides sake; we need to explain a little bit about the ground conditions here on Serendipity Farm. This land has most probably broken people stronger than we are in the past. Frank next door told us not to bother trying to dig it as there was no point. It is full of rocks and on a serious slope and good luck to trying to dig or bang in any sort of poles anywhere. We made the outside chook run when mum was here in April last year for 2 weeks. We had just picked up our chooks and they were being kept inside the wood shed until they got used to their lot when they would be let out to be free range hens. The wonkiness of the garden bed that we made in relation to the incinerator in the background is testament to this situation and nothing to do with any lack of care that we took in making the garden bed. Consider this little epitaph a disclaimer :o)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. microgardener
    Jan 12, 2012 @ 15:59:58

    The garden bed is a great effort, especially in the circumstances you are dealing with right now and you should be rightly proud of this achievement.

    My little tip is to make sure that horse manure gets wet really well so it starts to compost down and release the nutrients rather than burn any future unsuspecting seedlings that dig their tender roots down and get sizzled. If you get a bottle of molasses from the local produce store (it’s about $2-3/2 litre in a recycled juice bottle up here), add about 1-2 tablespoons of this to a bucket of water – you would probably need a few for this size bed but it’s a cheap and effective technique for turning the manure into compost much faster.

    Molasses is a simple sugar that will activate the microbes in the manure and get them into a feeding frenzy while you’re away and kick start the decomposition process. I mean, think about it – if you were going to sit down to a menu of manure, wouldn’t you need a little sugar to help the medicine go down??! This will also help to build a bacterially dominated soil (which is what vegies prefer).

    I get cheap horse manure from a neighbour and use this system and it makes the most wonderful compost. The worm capsules are in the manure already so this will also mean you’ll increase your worm population. However, dry manure will sit there and do naught!! Keep the progress pics coming. 🙂


  2. Kym
    Jan 13, 2012 @ 23:16:55

    Mmm molasses eh well that is one tip I will try…Thanks


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