DO YOU remember a time when puddles of mucky water, dirt, long, stout sticks and an absence of responsible adults was all you desired in life?
My job during this year has been to monitor the weed tea. This involves using a long stick for vigorous mixing of smelly water and invasive weeds, marinating in a barrel and two rubbish bins, in full sun.
I also get to add water to the containers, and throw the pungent, decayed weeds into the nearby compost bays, where they add compost-activating microbes aplenty.
It’s the dream job. Right?
Well, it’s not for everyone but it does propel me back in time to a childscape of freedom and those simple pleasures to do with watery games in dirty places.
There is definitely a link between gardening’s muckier jobs and childhood’s mud pies.
In any case, the weed tea has been an absolute highlight of my gardening year; not only fun to make but really effective in helping to break down big heaps of garden waste.
There were many other highlights in this gardening year. Remember the lemons? And the buckets and buckets of broad beans, the armfuls of leafy greens (including kale, of course), turnips, leeks, the crunchy broccoli sprouts and a cascade of sweet peas that scented the air for weeks.
I met community gardeners from all over south Gippsland and got to know a few local ones a little better. Special mention of enthusiastic newcomers to Wonthaggi, who arrived to help in the garden in early spring, from refugee and displaced persons camps on the Thai Burma border.
Only one lowlight to report – gardener’s back – a condition so common it barely rates a mention. You can spot us at the swimming pool, spluttering up and down in the slow, slow lane, trying to “strengthen our cores” for the next weeding onslaught.
If you decide to have a go at brewing up your own weed tea over the summer holidays, please do what sensible people do and wear gloves and an old tea shirt. This marvellous, whiffy liquor has a way of lingering about your person.