Do It In The Dirt – Gardening that is

Do It In The Dirt – Gardening that is

galangal grown in the dirt

Galangal in the dirt

Growing in the dirt produces a far better crop than all of the other techniques like hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics and chemical gardening. Chemical gardening is a term I use for that system of growing where the dirt or sand is only a medium for holding the plants up. All of the nutrients are supplied by chemicals and the plant is defended from insects and disease with the constant spraying of chemicals.

I agree with many people that hydroponically grown plants are near perfect in appearance and present a lot better in the supermarket for the short period of shelf life they have.

But plants grown in the dirt stay fresher longer, survive a lot better out of the coolroom and just plain taste better.

krachai in the dirt

Krachai being over powered by galangal and turmeric

Growing in the dirt means making your soil fit for the purpose of providing all the requirements your plants need to survive. Don’t pamper them too much as they won’t bother making any effort. A little bit of tough love is required.

Take a look at the galangal, turmeric and ginger in this garden bed. The galangal is a second year plant. I didn’t harvest it last year and this year it has really grown. I guess the proof of my assertion is the amount of rhizome harvested. So I better dig a piece up and have a look.

ginger in the dirt

The ginger is all replants from the harvest last year. I have just planted more of it. This year I will keep it in the ground instead of digging it all up. That way I should have fresh ginger all year round.


The turmeric has also taken off.

Based on looking at what happens in life, plants are similar to people. If you pamper people, they don’t develop the strength that is required to cope with life. If you play in the dirt, you get exposed to all the bacteria, good and bad and the body acquires the means and know how to assimilate the good bacteria and defend against the bad.

If you live in a sterile environment, your body hasn’t developed the techniques and knowledge to defend itself when it is preyed upon by opportunistic invaders.

Peter Cundall is always playing in the dirt

Playing in the dirt and growing things is a formula for good health and longevity. Here’s a quote from Peter Cundall.

pete always plays in the dirt

Peter Cundall at home in Tasmania.

“We are comfortably poor here, and it’s wonderful. Wealth is superb health. You get that through what I like to do – hard physical work, and the sheer joy of eating what you grow. The last time I went to the doctor because I was sick was 1951. I’m no macho man; if I had something wrong I’d be there in a flash. But every 12 months I have my tests. Last time the doctor examined me he said, ‘That’s the heart of a man of 35. I wish it was mine.’”

Lower Back Pain

Lower Back Pain

You may have worked out from the timeline on the posts that my work rate has slowed down a bit. Especially with the wicking bed construction. They are building a two story house two doors up and the subbies must be laughing at the old bloke down the road.

lower back pain has slowed me down

Lower back pain has slowed me down. In the time it took me to build the hugulculture wicking bed, look how far they have got with the new house build.

They started building about the same time I got the bobcat bloke Gino in to level the site. I had already painted the cypress sleepers with one coat and cut them to size when they laid the concrete slab. In the time I got to building the bed and filling it with soil, they have dug and poured the footings, done the rough in plumbing, poured the slab, stood the frames for the ground floor, done the floor for upstairs, stood the second story frames, put up the scaffolding for the gutters and downpipes guy, installed the roof and insulation, installed gutters, removed scaffolding, second roughin for plumber, electrician initial roughin, airconditioning roughin, computer wiring guy, windows installed and are now working on the gyprock install.

Me, I’ve put together a 5 metre by 1.8 metre wicking bed and added the frame work for my pest exclusion material.

Lower Back Pain

The reason I have been a bit slow is lower back pain. Just looking at a 2.4 mtr, 20cm x 5cm cypress sleeper was hurting, let alone bending over and picking it up from the ground. The following might give you an idea of how I was feeling. I make my own compost and I wanted to transfer some to the garden from one of the big piles.

Not the cure for lower back pain

lower back pain cure?

The cure for lower back pain – NOT!

I got the wheelbarrow and a spade. A spade is a lot smaller than a shovel and was about all I thought I could manage. I wasn’t rushing as I new it was not going to be the easiest of tasks. I loaded the first spadeful and was thinking that I should be able to keep going. The second spade full wiped that idea. The only way I was going to get this done was to get down on my knees and shovel it in from there. That way I didn’t have to bend. Going slowly, I was able to move four barrow loads of compost to the garden. But I knew something needed to be done if I was going to get the things done in the yard that I wanted to do.

I don’t like going to the doctor. I reckon most of them are a blight on society and are just legalized drug pushers. That’s not to say I haven’t known some great ones and been impressed with their knowledge and human kindness. The problem is me, I dislike taking drugs, tried that, think it’s a waste of time and life. So I needed to do some internet research. So armed with the knowledge I knew where the pain was, lower back and right hip, I went to work. I also thought that I had been sitting on my arse too much using the computer and that I had stopped playing sport. This made me head in the exercise direction.

I came up with the following exercises that haven’t cured the pain but have made it much more manageable. There are days when I think I am floating, I feel like James Brown.

Go to this url,0

back pain, low back pain, yoga for back pain, back pain relief, yoga for back

Supine Hamstring Stretch

This exercise seems to be helping a lot. I can feel that my right leg is a lot harder to straighten and  get to the vertical.

back pain, low back pain, yoga for back pain, back pain relief, yoga for back

Two-Knee Twist

When you go to the page you will get all the instructions on how to do them properly. I do the first three at the moment. When I started I was gung ho and did them all but found I wasn’t as motivated after three days, so dropped it down to the first three. I now find I am increasing the times spent holding each position.

Breathing and counting

I have found that to time myself I breathe in while counting:  and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 then I breathe out: and 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and 10. I count to sixty and repeat three times on each leg for the first exercise. I count for two minutes on the second and third exercise.

I have confirmed my suspicions that a couple of old sport injuries have contributed to the pain I am feeling from these exercises as they highlight the areas I have difficulty with. Like in the above picture, there is no way yet that I can lay one leg on top of the other doing that twist, the upper knee sticks up about 15 cm from the lower knee. My right hip has pain and that is the knee that sits up the most from the lower knee.

Has it done any good for the lower back pain.

I have been doing these now for three weeks and on the weekend I was able to fill up the wicking bed with some logs and about 5 cub mtrs of compost soil. On Monday night I found it difficult to get off the couch, I had to rock a bit to get some momentum but I was fine on Tuesday and Wednesday. So for me yoga type exercises are a must. I need to develop the habit of doing them on a daily basis.

I will also look for a few exercises to improve my stomach muscles and core as I think they will help as well. I have learnt to approach these things slowly as experience tells me that when I go all in to start with I find it difficult to maintain the enthusiasm to persist. If I start slowly and master a few techniques and stop myself from trying to be perfect in the first couple of days I start to light a slow burn wick that gets brighter over time.

You may have gathered that I am a bit of a tight wad and loathe wasting money. I also believe that the answers are already there in your head, you just have to slow down enough, listen to the voice inside and act on that internal knowledge.

PS: As a child learning English at school I was told repeatedly, “when writing a composition, don’t start your sentences with I”. On re-reading this post, I find that nearly every second sentence starts with I. It will take quite a bit of thinking and time for me to change all the sentences starting with I, therefore I am leaving them that way. If you have any suggestions that makes it easier to write a sentence without starting with “I” then I am all ears. Would love to hear them.

All the best    Olman