Long term blog followers will know that in the past and with one exception in a year, Thursday’s have always been blue sky days and glorious regardless of season when we are volunteering in the Food Garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG). And so it was yesterday – a heavenly day in every way.
In advance of our return to volunteering, we had been through Covid 19 ‘training’, filled out new paperwork and agreed to abide by changed conditions for our efforts. Over the past months, our ‘family’ of Food Garden volunteers had exchanged emails and phone calls, participated in many Zoom online meetings, and met occasionally for a meal together. With the news that we could return, we buzzed with excitement. Our suggested work time has always been 10am-3pm although we are not expected to stay the entire time. I knew I planned to arrive around 9ish, another told me he’d be there by 8 (and in fact he arrived 20 minutes before then). As I bussed to the Gardens an exchange of texts alerted me that another two would be arriving around the time I expected to arrive. Buzz. Super-excitement. We all felt vitally alive. ‘Can’t wait’ was our mantra. And once there, ‘can’t leave’ almost became our new mantra! I left a little before 3pm while others were still enjoying planting new vegetable crops.
Soon after arrival, the resident magpie family sent a representative waddling across the pathway to welcome us before Food Garden Coordinator Adam took us for a short tour of the garden so we could understand the work which needed doing. The plants which surprised us all were the unusual crimson flowering broad beans. Strikingly beautiful.
T was already harvesting brassicas ready to distribute to charity, and a couple of others moved to help him. As each container was filled we lined them up, eventually covering them to prevent a marauding currawong having an easy feast.
The big job for the day was to weed a long brassica patch where last year we had planted and tended garlic. We all came across a few rogue garlic plants that has somehow survived and let them continue to grow.
Hours later, after four of us worked on it, the bed was cleared. The cabbages and other plants looked larger and more magnificent with the new space around them.
Mid-afternoon planting began. Garden beds needed to be dug and readied then leeks, spring onions and kohlrabi plants were lined up, spaced, removed from their potting containers and set in the ground.
A joyful day of great satisfaction.
As any gardener knows you never finish all that you expect to achieve; the time passes and not all on ‘the list’ gets completed. And so it was yesterday – but we know those other jobs will be waiting for us next week; joys such as picking the cumquats and the freshly growing tea leaves not to forget we will be extracting more healthily flourishing weeds!