Monday, 25 June 2012

Myth Ten : Organic shmanic!

There are days I wish I’d never done all that agonising research about soil microbes, and nutrient run off. There are days that reaching for a bottle of quick fix for every weed and pest known and shamelessly spraying it everywhere sounds a darn sight better than hand picking 28 spotted ladybirds, and squishing snails by moonlight. 
Trev - Save me from straw!

Someone once told me that there’s something weird about having your friends over for dinner (play hide the zucchini on the plate), providing them with a glass of your best vintage elderflower champagne before handing them a wooden mallet we called exsnailaburs and a torch and telling them that before they get dessert they need to take their ex-snailabur into the garden and whack the hell out of every passing snail.  The snails had got to plague proportions by that stage. They’d even got into my letterbox and partially eaten my first royalty cheque.  How much easier would it be to spread piles of innocent looking, commercially available and cheap as chips, pellets. 

Squishing pear and cherry slugs while thinking on which pest I hate most is not conducive to the romantic image of sustainability, of all those butterfly filled gardens. Because darn the butterflies, if you’ve done your research you know every butterfly starts as a caterpillar.  Let me pull off their wings, I love you, I love you NOT! 

I tried an experiment in organic weed death. It involved expensive bottles of pine oil, which kind of worked, but when you worked out the cost, I’d better off paying someone to pull them for me. I tried cider vinegar, and it was relatively successful but same story. I’ve tried pouring boiling water, torching them, and various other assassinations but in the end in an organic garden nothing beats blisters.

So there, you have my ten most unpopular misconceptions on sustainability at home. I’ve missed a lot. Climbing on the roof in thunderstorms to make sure your  tank gets filled.  Discovering your son has swapped all his home grown nutrient rich organic school lunches for Uncle Toby’s Roll ups. It’s endless. But we’re still doing it. We fall off the wagon every now and then. Sometimes I forget my glasses when I’m in the chocolate aisle and the éclairs trapped behind a mountain of plastic are deemed psychologically worth it. But for the most part we are good. Not perfect. Never perfect. But we are pretty good. So if those nappied chooks have got me this far in my rant, in my sustainability at home crisis, why am I not throwing in my trowel?
Tomorrow: Why we haven't thrown in the trowel... and why it's all worth it!

1 comment:

Special K said...

Hi Linda
I read your book Living the Good Life a few years ago, and it really inspired me. Now reading your blog is a daily highlight - I love your writing and how you've managed to avoid that smug-everything-is-perfect tone that so many blogs go for. I have a garden blog here, in which I attempt to turn a suburban backyard that's been left for 20+ years into something less boggy and crazy, and I often look at the picture in Living the Good Life of your backyard for inspiration. I wish you all the best, Kimberley