Hi, this is Ro writing today. I want to write a blog post about our amazing Food Forest at Shekina Garden, but I've been putting it off because how could I ever do it justice? So let me just give you a little snapshot...
This area out the back of the property, over the last year, has been transformed into a wonderland. Joshua is the mastermind and coordinator of the magical transformation happening in the Food Forest at Shekina Garden, born out of a growing love and knowledge of Permaculture and a passion for beauty and growing the food we eat.
We see caring for the earth as an integral part of our spiritual life. The Divine has gifted us this spectacular planet to care for and live off, to protect and cultivate. We look forward to the day when the whole world will be made new, and the glory of God will cover the earth! Until then, part of our work here on earth is to care for, respect, learn from, and bring back to abundance the little patch of earth we have been entrusted with. Sounds lofty, perhaps, but to me, gardening is holy work.
So to tell a little of the story so far of our Food Forest...
In May 2017 we hired a guy and a tractor to come and level the ground a little. To plough through whatever weeds had survived dry season, and mulch it all up into the newly soggy soil at the start of the wet season. (Wet season starts here in May, usually with some wild, windy lightning storms, then settling into more regular rains in June, which become daily in July and August, trailing off during September.)
We soon threw kilos and kilos of beans and legumes into the soft wet soil to begin a cover crop of awesomeness, fixing nitrogen into the soil and blocking weed growth. Mung bean, kidney beans, pigeon pea, soy beans...
Then came even more fun...
A pathway to facilitate a meditative walk through the whole property had been concocted by Heather, Chinua, Leaf and Joshua as part of our Grand Plans for the whole of Shekina Garden. Paths through the soon-to-be Food Forest were laid out by Leaf and Joshua.
Five banana circles were dug and planted.
Tapioca and mulberries and citronella and lemongrass were propagated.
Trees were planted! So many kinds! Lemon and orange and lime and mango and cocoa and jackfruit and mangosteen and guava and coffee and pomegranate and Jamaican cherry and dragon fruit and papaya...so many papaya.
Whole coconuts sprouting new growth which will take years to grow into huge palms and bear fruit.
I sprouted a baby moringa tree from seed that our friends Brian and Katie gave us, and it's grown about 12ft in the last 12 months.
To protect our baby avocado tree we created an Avocano! An avocado volcano!
We planted and propagated all last wet season, then watered and watered all through dry season to keep things alive. Then this wet season everything has absolutely exploded with life. Every shade of the colour green imaginable. I tell our friends that it's a magical fairy land. And it really is. Wild bees have started a little comb on a tree. Butterflies are in abundance and the soil is full of fat, happy worms.
We've also added aloe vera, pineapples, Thai basil, cannas, Mexican sunflower, sweet potato, zinnias, Queensland arrowroot, turmeric in abundance...and so many more species that are edible and/or medicinal.
I brought dozens of marigold seedlings from my garden at home and planted them along one section of path.
From one small comfrey, carefully brought from afar, Joshua has spread comfrey plants all over.
Plans for how we can incorporate seasonal foods growing on our property are becoming part of our conversations and dreams for Community Lunches. To feed our traveller tribe fresh organic food from our own gardens - bliss!
Low benches are being made in little shady spots where a couple of people can sit and have a chat together.
Hand-painted signs and bible verses can be found in various nooks.
A plan for a labyrinth is afoot.
Plans for two small bungalows are being drawn up, so that travellers who want to do a dedicated Jesus Retreat with us can stay onsite.
Mmm, really I can't do justice to the loveliness which is this little patch of land at the back of Shekina Garden. You'll just have to join us one Thursday for Community Gardening Day and get your hands dirty with us, to fully appreciate it! Consider that an open invitation!