Nia M Wardani | A Logbook of Life Discoveries

Take A Glimpse at My New Living Grocery

Purple Eggplant Flowers
Eggplant Flowers

I have always wanted a garden of my own since  I got married. I dreamed of a garden that can fulfilled my kitchen needs. Normally, I go to groceries for all greens and spices. But most of the things I bought will usually end up in the trash bin because the greens are no longer fresh and I rarely have a time cook them. So, I was thinking, if only I have them as fresh as I pick them from the plant a moment before I cook them, it will be very good, for health, also for my budget.

I wanted a garden, but I cannot make it because it was a rented house, where we were suppose to keep everything as similar as when we were moving in. The backyard is also small and mostly shaded by a huge rambutan tree from neighbor's garden. The front yard is also shaded by another rambutan tree and guava tree, and there were a lot of decorative plants.

November last year, I moved to a new house and the new house has wide front yard and backyard compared to my previous house. This time the house is actually ours, not rent house, so we could actually do a lot of things that we wanted to do at the previous house. We agreed that backyard will be the vegetable garden while the front yard will be mostly used for flowers and parking area if we have any relatives coming.

The backyard, however, had been left untouched a couple of months after we moved to the new house. Mostly because of we had a lot of things to do at work and the backyard is quite 'wild'. It was full of weeds. Even the weeds can reach as high as the water tower at the far end of the backyard. Of course, there are a lot of wild life there, especially insects, reptiles, and mollusks.

One morning, when I was ironing on the floor, a snake successfully entered the house. I was alone, while my husband was still in masjid. I was so shocked. I cornered the snake while waiting for my husband to come. My husband finally arrived and got rid of the snake. I suddenly realized that the backyard should be immediately taken control of. I should declare my 'territory' to the animals.

It was not until January that I started to proceed the backyard. I bought several seedlings from the local market: several varieties of chillies and purple eggplant. My husband initially put them in three plastic pots, but then we replaced them in the direct garden soil. We cleared the spot around the seedlings to let them grow freely.

And we neglected them.

It was only few weeks that I take care of the plants. Then due to work load from school and heavy rain almost everyday in our area, I completely forgot about it.

God takes the best care of the plants. That's the best part in gardening. I checked the backyard again around the beginning of March. The weeds were as high as before. I could barely see my plants. But, what I found? FRUITS! The chili plants has lots of chillies in it, I couldn't believe. The plants was hidden under the weeds, but they survived.

Chilli plants and eggplants
Chillies and Eggplants

You know when you can see the result of an act, you are feeling motivated to continue the act. That's what happen. I was so motivated that I started to go back to the backyard almost everyday, doing work bit by bit.

And the work pays off. I can say now I have a vegetable garden in my backyard. Neighbor called it 'living grocery'. I have now three different varieties of chillies, eggplant, green onions, turmeric, ginger, water spinach, spinach, and lemon grass. I started growing dates. I put them in the pots do I can put them as decorative palm in the front yard later on. Every seed from the fruit I ate I collect them and try to plant them. I tried to plant even coriander and black pepper, but they are not sprouting yet. I want to add more and more plants in the future.

Spinach and Water Spinach Sprouts in Direct Sow Garden Soil
Spinach and Water Spinach Sprouts

During this #workfromhome #wfh period, I have plenty of time I can spend in my garden. At least one hour a day, I go check the plants. I am currently clearing greater area to get more space for future plants. I sow seed everyday. Also learn to garden everyday.

Since I am very much new to gardening, there are many things I should learn about gardening. I watched several YouTube channels and read websites. I am very much inspired by James Prigioni's Food Forest. He has the energy to make me motivated to start gardening, giving basic information for beginners, also most importantly, he gives important references in gardening, such as Geoff Lawton, Masanobu Fukuoka, or Mel Bartholomew. From there, I research different methods and views in gardening.

During this research, I realized I was not alone. There are a lot of people and communities, having no prior knowledge about gardening, started growing plants for bigger purposes: to reach food sustainability and even more, to take care of the Earth.
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I am a former teacher with ten years of teaching experience. I left formal teaching and found my peace through private tutoring, blogging, and gardening. My mission is to help other teachers improve their lives. Let's get in touch through my Instagram @nmwardani

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