Thursday, 6 August 2015

Crucial Conversations: Messages From The Garden #2

When I moved to my current place of residence I was moving from a farm house where the dairy farmer had allowed me unlimited of space to pursue gardening. The new residence in the small town of Ixopo had a patch that I could use for a garden. After the family had settled in I set out to clear the patch of land, which at that time was overgrown with weeds and had old stalks of maize from the previous season notwithstanding the fact that the maize crop had been harvest more than five months before the time in question. The lawn that occupied the rest of the yard had also crept into this patch of land. After clearing up the grass, the weeds and maize stalks I set out to dig to get the soil ready for planting.

A sad state of affairs confronted my efforts. Previous occupants had dealt criminally against the piece of land. Broken beer bottles, plastics, plastic bottles, oil and fuel filters, broken ceramic tiles, and traces of engine oil were amongst the many undesirables that I unearthed as I tried to get the land ready. Added to these undesirables was some strange looking soil which I quickly deduced was the result of pieces of broken bricks which had been dumped on that patch when the house was being constructed. Though the broken bits of brick were by this time very few those that had disintegrated had compromised the fertility of the soil.
Crucial Conversations: Messages From The Garden
For two months I dedicated my weekends to getting this six by two metres patch of land ready. First I picked up all the undesirables listed above. A process which many a times seemed to be going nowhere because the more I picked up the more I unearthed. Next I imported topsoil and cattle manure from a farm where a friend was working. The farmer was kind enough to allow me to get soil from the heaps on the edges of the silage pits and an unlimited supply of manure was availed to me. I turned the soil, manure and watered it several times until I was satisfied that I had done the best that I could. As I was contemplating putting some seed into the ground the municipal tractors came to cut grass in the stadium which is opposite my place of residence. I took advantage of this circumstance and I collected several loads of grass which I proceed to place in pits which I dug in each space where a vegetable bed was going to stand. In the opinion of my family members I had gone overboard in my land reclamation efforts but if you ask me I will tell you that I was just making sure. I didn't want to leave anything to chance.

Many a times in our lives we find ourselves confronted with similar circumstances as what faced me and my small patch of land in one or more areas of life. I knew I wanted a garden but the available land was just not suitable for the enterprise that I had in mind. I could have spent all my time wishing I was still at my previous place of residence. I could have resorted to buying my vegetables or asking for vegetables from friends who had thriving gardens. Come on, I had a valid excuse not to plant a garden. But I have learnt in life that my most valid excuses are my worst enemies because they give me a reason not to do anything. And whenever I have found myself with a valid excuse I have failed to progress.
I am asking you to embark on your own process of land reclamation in whatever area your life you need to plant a garden. Reclaiming the land is a lot of work but it can be done and I am challenging you to start now. Don't put it off. Don't listen to any other voice except to the one that is saying it can and it will be done.

Written by Tendayi Mawango for Arthur Mutambara

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