from a snowy walk in the Rattlesnake, Missoula, Montana

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Several months ago I got “serious” about gardening, I got manure from a friend and made a little plot and planted seeds. Which I watered diligently for about a week until goats and chickens discovered it and feasted. I was crushed, but I should have known better--gardens here need protection. A little bit later a guy from the village built me a structure. When I say structure, I use the term loosely, it was a ramshackle, cobbled together with scraps from my compound. He even dug beds and put in manure for me! I spent a few weeks watering my prized ramshackle garden--people would walk by and laugh at the structure--its that comical. As the winds came the structure slowly got blown away bit by bit and goat discovered it....At that time I was done. Completely frustrated and a little defeated.


Then summer came. The thought of not having produce for 8 months depressed me. The only thing you can get in my village is onions, potatoes, bell pepper and apples or oranges. Since I can’t store anything that is what I eat. Its depressing, boring and not to mention not very nutritionally diverse.


Sarah is a master gardener and successfully grew lettuce and many other goodies last summer and gave me seedlings. I rushed home Thursday morning with my precious seedlings feeling inspire to re-vamp my dilapidated structure and grow! Only to find a dozen Ipelegeng workers in my yard and no garden in site. I kept asking “garden o gkea?” they would point to a burn pit with remains of my garden. WHAT! I just couldn’t understand it, why would they tear down a garden-yes, it wasn’t in the best shape...but none the less, it wasn’t theirs to tear down. I marched over to the Kgotla to talk to the Kgosi. Of course by this time, everyone in my yard and everyone at the Kgotla was laughing at me (I am a constant source of entertainment). The Kgosi explained to me that he had instructed them to tear it down as part of the yard cleaning and he didn’t know it was my garden. He promised that it would be rebuilt.


Low and behold. Not five minutes later a man came with a shovel and began to construct me a garden. Now this structure is bigger, better and more structurally sound. The best part of it-aside from the fact that the door is a car hood...the shade netting was made from an old mosquito net I had so I didn’t have to buy any!


Here is to gardening adventures! Wish me luck!


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