NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Letters - Ann Kidd, by email (abridged)

En­cour­ag­ing my son to grow a vege gar­den has been an in­ter­est­ing jour­ney, es­pe­cially given the chal­lenges life has thrown at him.

But per­se­vere we have, be­liev­ing that he would be bet­ter to have his own gar­den than hand­outs from food­banks etc. Get­ting him to feed the soil rather than just take from it is another mat­ter. Get­ting into deep sh*t took on another mean­ing as we at­tempted a walk up the Wither­hills, where I spied pine cones and dry dung! For­tu­nately the car boot al­ways has a ready sup­ply of plas­tic su­per­mar­ket bags - one never knows when they could come in handy.

On re­turn­ing to his flat, I tried my best to in­ter­est his neigh­bour in do­ing a reg­u­lar dung run, all that dry stuff beg­ging to be gath­ered, run over with the lawn mower and added to the soil. Doesn’t one have to feed the soil too? Came the quick re­ply:

“You pick up and talk sh*t, and you want me to spread it too?”

I en­joyed a talk by Prof Walker (late soil sci­en­tist Thomas Walker, known as ‘the Prof’) some years ago when he said there was al­ways a stan­dard re­ply to any­one who asked him where was the toi­let, when vis­it­ing him.

“Third cab­bage on the left.”

His belief was that one day we would rue al­ways tak­ing from the soil, never re­plac­ing with na­ture’s bounty.

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