The Big Picture

The sun has been beating out of the skies all weekend, most probably since you read my last piece in the tribesman where funnily enough I wrote about the lashings of rain and how the man with the remote control for the weather we get somehow or other balances it all out over the course of a year. I’m thinking this week I have been proved right.

On The SodShow on Friday just passed, [the weekly garden radio programme I present along with Brian Greene] we had the guys from the Outdoor Trek shop on talking about camping and the great outdoors. The sign over their door of course reads…

there’s no such thing as bad weather – just the wrong clothing

I had to get that in…. But why a camping shop on a gardening radio programme ?

This was a follow up to the Davie Philip interview. He’s the person charged with managing the green side of electric picnic. My reason for having him on… was to maybe get us to take a stand back and to take a look at the big, very big picture. The big green picture that is, what we are actually doing and just how green in reality we are, if not for anything else just for one weekend.

In there he spoke about the fact that the tents that are left behind are not recycled. The point of the outdoor trek lads, was to follow this up and the hope is that maybe one, after investing wisely in a tent may go and take camping a stage further. That may just bring someone to a place where [for example] I went camping last year like Lough Key Forest Park. This might just give us a better appreciation for nature and the trees and earth that surrounds us. Heck, someone may on returning home plant one in their own garden as a result of being there.

To bring this back to gardening, somewhat, there was a discussion on the blog sometime ago where I made the point that buying organic produce, in this particular case organic pasta, that had been imported from Bolivia to be delivered to my home, potentially, in North Dublin may be mildly immoral, for want of a better word.

In the same breath recently I saw a gentleman purchase organic seed potato and straight away pick up some bags of compost, which were not organic. Is this making sense here…? For the produce that results from organic grown in non-organic cannot be organic produce then.

The alternate: On RTE’s Four Live tv programme on Friday just gone, I spoke of the fact that in my own garden I use my garden’s soil as a growing medium. I try not to buy seed but instead replant the potato [one of the examples used] that has been left in the end of the bag. You know the one, on which the sprouting has actually started. [Technically know as chitting] And rather than throw this out I chop it in half and plant it, which gives me my potatoes. But the produce is not organic.

So which is better ? One will give me non organic produce, but I and you can figure out on an etch a sketch that I’ve been kinder to the environment in my gardening ethics. Pardon the punned cliché, but it is very much food for thought.

On a brighter note, maybe, I’ve always like the thinking that wouldn’t Ireland be a [more] beautiful country if every home planted just one tree. I commented this to a friend of mine recently. His response was that… well, let me rephrase, the chap is a trend chaser. Last year he had decking which is now an allotment… well, that’s what he calls it. Of course the allotment must be low maintenance! I asked him if he felt the birds and the bees nest in his deck or his vegetable patch.

This is were I’m hoping the big picture is maybe starting to unfold. I like to say that gardening in any of it’s varying guises should not cost the earth. In there I have of course intended that sentence in it’s finest double entendre format. If nothing else, in my gardening or in particular of growing my own fruit and vegetables I know it does not cost me more than I can buy the produce for off the shelf. I like to think I pretty much do my own thing and pay very little attention to the so called rules.

On Sunday I did a wee little youtube video on sowing my lettuce seeds. As I wrote the text I fondly thought back to the 1980’s growing up in Dublin when gardening and growing was the patch of grass-less soil to the right hand side of the washing line. It also contained the heap for anything that could have formerly photosynthesised. Lettuce were bought in white polystyrene trays as sets, part grown like a tray of bedding plants. Some more experienced gardeners chose to grow theirs from seed. But my point or mild jest was in asking the question

Vegetable patches…. aaah do remember the days ?

And whilst vegetable patches and paths, made way for the avant garde gardens it seems I, personally, in my own garden, have just continued on as I was, whilst the world and all its new sundries passed me by. Sure I created gardens for clients that may have been a little different and like a Mother and Fathers bond to their child I love them all. Sincerely.

I suppose the quest is and may continue to be that we take a stand back and not forget that within nature and our gardens, no matter the size and no matter where and how we choose to do our gardening, we very simply don’t forget the big picture.

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