Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On leeks and optimism.

I've written before, on my other blog, about farming and gardening and optimism. About the hope for the perfect weather conditions to enable the crops to germinate, to grow and to thrive. The hope for days that are not too hot, too wet, too cold or too humid. The hope that the irrigation pipes don't block or burst, that pests leave that crop alone, that there are no diseases, not too many weeds and enough water to irrigate. The hope that there is no flood, or fire, or wind storm. The farmer/gardener hopes that Mother Nature is kind and enables a delicious crop to be picked at the end of the growing season.

Today my littlest, my farmer boy and I spent the day in the kitchen garden and my heart felt full of that optimism. That love of growing clean, whole food to feed our family. The knowledge that the moon is waxing and it is the right time to plant roots. That warm winter sun on our backs. That feeling that comes from sharing an experience I love with those I adore. That hope that we are passing important knowledge on to the next generation. And that hope that if all goes to plan, in a few months time we will eat the fruits of our toil.

This morning we took the leek flower heads that we had saved from last year and we pulled off their seeds.

Then farmer Bren let the wind and a colander help him separate the seeds from their pods (winnowing).

We made a seed raising mix from our compost and sand.

We sprinkled leek seeds in rows.

We covered those seeds with more seed raising mix.

And then my farmer girly carefully wrote labels for the trays.

I cannot think of many better ways to spend a morning.

And I feel full of inspiration and optimism that spring and warmth and bounty are just around the corner.

Do you feel it?
How and what does your garden grow at the mo?
Is there dirt under your nails?
Have you ever grown your own leeks before?
What's making you feel hopeful and optimistic?



  1. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a morning ... and the sun was shining too, bonus!!

  2. Someone wrote on my blog yesterday that farming takes a lot of faith and that is spot on....somehow every year we stress about the weather we are getting and my new to farming husband says 'it's never going to happen' but having watched my parents go through it, growing up with it makes you realise that it generally comes right and your stressing in between doesn't help anything! We hav our winter barley harvested (not without some major hiccups) but it is done, just as we hoped it would be.....farming is as old as the hills, we're not going through something that our ancestors haven't already.

    Great post....full of hope!

  3. I have been at home the last few days looking after 2 sick children. While they rested I have read nearly your entire blog!!! Thank you for inspiring me - I have just enrolled in a day of "learning to grow a veggie garden" at my community garden , and am now heading back to my crochet which has been laying idle for far too long. Thank you!

  4. I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm. Every generation before me as far back as i know have been farmers too. It is such a gamble. If it was just about making money, you'd be better off taking all your dollars into the casino at the start of the season and betting it all on black. Consolidate all the worry to one short moment. But it's a lifestyle choice. . . and such a good lifestyle at that!

    rachel ox

  5. getting ready to put in some root veg this week. probably more carrots and beetroot. got some leeks growing at the moment, going a bit slow but as soon as the weather warms up a bit they will take off, i am sure, yes you need that optimism with gardening or farming.

  6. Another beautiful post Kate.

    Just last night my boy was eating sugar snap peas & asked why ours didn't grow. It's the third time we've tried growing peas & each time they grow, sprout a couple of pea pods & then promptly die. It's the same with carrots. We plant, they look good & then die. BUT. We CAN grow amazing tomatoes & chillis! Our cabbages have survived & look wonderful. The onions & garlic seem to be doing just as well. I have managed to keep the critters away from our lettuce, the kale is thriving & only one of the spinach disappeared. As far as I am concerned we are dong well. I know we'll try again with the peas, we'll do things differently, try something new & hope for a different outcome...Hope is my middle name so I always have it.

  7. planting seeds from 12 months ago, to be ready in a few months time...
    the very antithesis of 'fast food' :)

    i love it.

  8. I love the plant tag. Just gorgeous.
    Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day.

  9. What a lovely way to spend the morning!
    At the moment I am feeling very optimistic at the thought of a little puppy being here to follow me about....

    Sarah xx

  10. I love the way you are self sufficient in your garden. I am learning about saving my seeds and our first lot of rocket is flowering this week and I hope to go out and collect the pods when I have time tomorrow.

    I was wondering when it would be time to plant leeks! Looks like I will be going out to buy some seeds this week :)

  11. Ok, you made me cry. I am planting my next lot of trees, fencing the kitchen garden, dreaming of a farm enterprise, working to earn money for the afore mentioned...the hope, the potential, the optimism.

  12. It is a much smaller scale on our little suburban block, but currently we have potatoes, celery, spring onions, radish, and a stack of herbs growing after starting again. Even if it is only one ingredient in the evening meal, I love knowing it has come from our garden.

  13. what an incredible gift you are giving your children. we have just moved into a place with a yard, and some garden space. although i have just about no idea, i am hopeful that we will be able to prepare some good soil, and plant something that will grow and we will eat. my kids need to know this. we all need to remember this! :)sarah

  14. We're growing our own leeks this year, for the first time. They are just shoots right now, but we've been learning about "mounding" ready for later on ~ fun and games!

  15. Oh i am so optimistic about spring kitchen garden crops - i've been able to grow lettuce all through Winter IN CANBERRA!! If that doesn't scream success, i don't know what does. Seriously, we've had so many -5C nights & my little lettuce is so happy (ditto coriander & parsley) much to the chicken & ducks delight, as we had feed them their greens. Love Posie

  16. Beautiful post :) I love leeks. At the moment we only have a straggly collection of herbs but we'll get there one day ;) Loved these photos so much. Kx

  17. What a truly lovely (part) family activity. It has been feeling Springy here in NW Tassie with jonquils showing there faces and sunshiney days.... optimism abounds :)

  18. Love love love leeks but haven't tried growing them yet. Will have to plan them for next time. I'm excited that we might actually get to eat something out of our first kitchen garden this winter, and I really need to get on with ordering seed for the summer season soon! Meanwhile, we are drowning in 4 home grown eggs a day, and I really need to brush up on my egg recipes. Anyone got any good ones?

  19. amazing how connected your lives are to the seasons. beautiful! xo

  20. I'm growing leeks for the first time time this year. In wheelbarrows. Two wheelbarrows. One lot are fattening up nicely. The other lot have just gone in. Lots of quiches and leek and potato soups coming up!

  21. What's making me feel hopeful and optimistic are all those lines in Pepper's Es. Too cute! xx

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