It had been a lacklustre day in the garden. A bit of weeding and trimming dead flowers. The soil looked dry, the garden beds looked brown and dreary. I felt rather the same.
I don’t know what drew me to snout around in the forsaken potato bed. Unloved and unwatered for weeks, since the once-flourishing potato plants inexplicably developed some kind of disease and dissolved back into the ground overnight. Heavy rains, maybe? A nocturnal pest? Wrong spot? Who knows. Another failure.
So it was with significant surprise that I began digging commercial sized spuds out of the half metre plot. They kept coming and coming, until the bucket was half full with purple-skinned Ruby Lou potatoes. All this from just eight eyes planted four months ago. More than 3kg worth. Winning!
How quickly my mood and attitude lifted that afternoon.
I tentatively dug into the Toolangi Delight side of the plot but, not feeling anything immediately, decided not to push my luck.
Nonetheless, it was as though the potato discovery had broken the seal on my summer harvest.
Where before I seemed to be growing just leaves, suddenly zucchinis began to peep out from underneath. Trusses of tomatoes, still green for now, hint at more success to come.
Braids of garlic hang in our shed, enough to keep the ubiquitous Mexican and Chinese varieties out of our home this year. The Australian Brown onions finally came through with the goods, though not in the quantities I’d hoped for.
A small mulberry tree given by a friend in autumn has introduced our family to the finger-staining delights of this luscious fruit. So long as we can beat the ants to the bounty.
Bean, cucumber and sunflower seeds that had stubbornly refused to sprout now have their speed skates on, and the three tall corn stalks each carry three cobs, although I’m not quite sure when to pick them.
We have a World’s Largest Pumpkin working up to its name a little each day as its vine marks out a creeping path across the garden.
And perhaps the cutest thing I have ever seen growing is the baby watermelon. Hidden beneath the jagged leaves of its vine, the tiny things look like beach balls for fairies.
Gardening can feel like magic sometimes. Or perhaps it is more to do with trusting nature to do her work.
This month I have learned not to underestimate my efforts, even when they seem literally fruitless. Maybe the payoff won’t be when I expect, but when the time is right. All it needs is that sprinkling of fairy dust called optimism.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”