3 ways to grow the best veggie garden (and other things I’m Googling)

We planted a veggie and herb garden outside our kitchen window. I don’t have a cooking (veggie) clue on how to grow them, but I’m going to try. A veggie garden is something KK has been talking about forever but we just never got around to doing it because we were always busy.

The bark chips are still to be laid but I simply love it! In these boxes are lettuce, kale, baby tomatoes, chives, chillis, brinjal, rocket, basil, lemongrass, coriander…. and some other bits & bobs.

Yeah, yeah. That famous Jo’burg uttered phrase. But I don’t think “being busy” had anything to do with it at all. It’s about priorities.

Before I left my job at the Blue Bank, I used to wake up at 05h30, dash out the house by 06h30, slump home exhausted after 18h00 in the evenings. No time spent with my dogs, no time available to go for sunset walks, and certainly no time to spend in my garden.

The plants gasped for sunlight under the overgrown trees, the grass died, the pool paving became brittle in the sun. But I never took notice, because I was busy…

A year ago, I sat down and drew up a vision board. If I was to leave my job after 20 years in corporate, I needed to know what I was giving up and what I wanted out of life. What mattered?

My office with my vision board (yellow) up as a constant reminder of what I promised myself. Also, my race medal hanger reminds me that I am capable of achieving goals, but also to go run!

Besides the obvious one of being happy, I wanted my life back. I wanted to be free, less anxious and to start being passionate about things that mattered in life. That really mattered to me. On my list was a healthy body, sharp mind, being passionate about the work I do.

But also finding joy in things outside of work.

Shit! I have no idea how to grow veggies. I’ve been Googling and watching YouTube videos, even following new accounts on Instagram. Learning a new hobby is thrilling! Digging my hands into the damp soil is such an incredible feeling!

It’s a small thing but you have no idea how excited I am about picking my own butter lettuce!

When last did you take stock of the things that matter? Before you answer, go look at your garden and ask your plants what they would say.

Ps: If you grow your own vegetables or herbs, I seriously welcome any advise! Or an invite for supper. LOL

Keeping my hands busy

I recently took up crochet. Besides recognizing the joy it was bringing to my circle of friends, I was keen to learn a new skill. My coloring books were gathering dust and I was picking up in conversations that crochet was becoming quite trendy.

What? Was this old-fashioned hobby making a comeback?

As a newbie, I was advised to start at the wool shop at Northlands Deco Park where “everyone goes.” They were right, the place was a hive of activity! People were scanning through books of both knitting and crochet patterns laid out on a table. Squeals were heard when a new delightful wool was discovered. Others hovered at the shelves as if they were in a library choosing a new book to read.

I strolled through the many layers of coloured balls of wool shelves along the wall. Stroking. Squeezing. Brushing my fingers lightly over the knitting needles like a feather. Acting like I knew exactly what I was looking for. Crochet hooks of different styles and sizes hung on the wall. OMG, where do I even start?

After mustering up enough courage to ask for assistance and revealing that I was a total newbie to this world, I walked out the shop with a crochet hook and x9 balls of wool, smiling.

I couldn’t contain my excitement!

Crochet is one of the easiest hobbies to grasp. With a basic understanding of the simplest of stitch I started crocheting a large square to finally stitch together a lap blanket.

The wool looks pretty but is a pain to work with!

If only my Granny could see me now!

Here’s what my new hobby has taught me:

  • My hands are too busy to hold my phone. This is the biggest plus! For a change, crochet allows me to take a break from social media. Everybody needs to do this.
  • You listen to TV shows, rather than watching. I find it almost impossible to look away when I’m crocheting meaning I can’t watch TV at the same time. Some shows can be listened to, like Will & Grace, others not. Good Girls needed my full attention.
  • I bought wool that was on sale. I realize now just why it was on sale. It’s fluffy, hard to work with. Grrr! Hobbies take time and practice to hone the skill. You don’t get it right the first time. Lessons learnt.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt is that, just like running, you have to make time to do it. If it’s 10 minutes while supper cooks or being the passenger in the car on a trip. I’ve also set aside time on weekends to just sit and crochet. No disturbances.

With so much else going on, and with so much I want to do – reading, running, walking Emma – prioritizing my time and what I spend it on has been an eye opener for me.

Crochet makes me look down and zone out. It’s actually quite similar to running in fact. But less sweaty. 🙂

My very first square done!

Okay, hands up! Who wants a crochet blanket for Christmas?

Colouring to zone out

I stress. I stress about the smallest issue and allow those thoughts to eat me, to consume me and overwhelm my thoughts. So when I noticed on my social media feeds that a couple of people were colouring in as a way of de-stressing I thought, eh, let me give it a try.

Just to be clear, I am not the creative one in my family. My sister studied art and to this day will paint the most exquisite paintings. So it’s odd that this appealed to me.

Gwynnevere Salgado paintings

Two of my sister, Gwynnevere Salgado’s, paintings

I bought two different adult colouring books (and one for my sister). I also bought a range of colouring pencils and kokkies.

Colouring in

Some of the ones I’ve completed from my colouring in book

I started on my first pattern and since then, I’ve been hooked! My hand aches! I sit in front of TV and colour in. And I really do zone out. I get completely fixated on the page and the colours and the shading. I’m in my element!

How ironic that such a simple thing can be so addictive and yet so wonderful and fun at the same time! Has it helped me de-stress? I zone out and focus on my thoughts and get clarity on some issues. It’s helped me to zone in while I zone out, if that makes any sense.

It also gives me another hobby. Running takes up quite a bit of my time but this is easy to pick up and do whenever or wherever I feel like it. And let’s be honest, it’s also a much better option than hours of Candy Crush.

(This post is unsponsored. I’ve seen various colouring books at Exclusive Books as well as PNA. Go on, do it! Join me in this addictive fun!)

Unfinished hobbies

kitten and bear cross stitch

Count your blessings cross stitchSecrets cross stitchI'd much rather do some cross stitchLillies in the water cross stitchThere are two things I hid from people when I was a young adult. The fact that I studied Library Science and the other is that I loved doing cross stitch. I always thought people would consider me a huge nerd. I mean, cross stitch isn’t the coolest of hobbies. It’s typically done by old grannies or librarians, right? Or so I thought.

But just the other day, KK and I were chatting about hobbies and that we don’t really have any. In between our daily stressful jobs, any spare time gets eaten up by running and training at the gym. I keep saying I need to make time to read, but then waste it all trawling my Facebook and Twitter timelines. I am ashamed to say that I have so many unfinished cross stitch kits packed away in the cupboard. Unpacking some of them rekindled that feeling of just how much I love cross stitching…

This was my very first kit which took me a day to complete. The bug had bitten. The cross stitch kit that started it all

 I really hope to go back and finish all the unfinished ones some day and maybe even have them framed and hung up all over my house with pride because you know what? I love cross stitch!cross stitch cross stitch nero cottons cross stitch at the beach the Lord's prayer cross stitch pattern and frame Cross stitch patterns three seasons cross stitch Patterns