Urban Organic Gardener Interviewing Erwin from “@garden.of.oz“
If you’re looking for a new account to follow on Instagram that is loaded with beautiful imagery, interactive “games”, and some amazing homegrown produce you’ll need to look no further than Garden.Of.Oz!
Have you always been growing your own food? If not, what sparked your passion?
For years, my parents have urged me to “plant something” in my backyard garden. YES, I did have a “garden”, approximately 40 square meters in size… But it had NOTHING in it but mulch, and some low maintenance plants! The type I didn’t have to water or take care of. They didn’t even produce flowers from what I remembered! EASY! No mess, no fuss!
And then it all started about 3 years ago… My parent’s invited us over to their house one summer afternoon… because their corn was ready for picking (FYI: I think you guys at @UrbanOrganicGardener recently featured that very photo which showed my kids playing in my parent’s backyard amongst the thriving mini-field of corn!).
My kids absolutely LOVE corn! And I love it too! Our 3 kids came up to me and said… “We should plant some corn Dad!” “Yeah Dad!” “Yeah we want some corn Dad!” “I have money Dad, let’s buy some corn seeds, I’ll pay for it!” I DON’T REMEMBER who said what, but they just inundated me with requests to plant corn! I remember hearing my wife in the background saying “Dad won’t do it… he’s too lazy!”. It was supposed to be a joke, but it had so much truth in it! I was lazy! I have always thought “Why plant some, when I can just come HERE (at my parent’s house)!”
But not that day! After hearing my kids beg me to plant them, I was determined to do it! Too bad, my parents told me that I would have to wait until NEXT SPRING before I could plant corn again, as it was already late summer and there just wouldn’t be enough time to plant and see a harvest of corn.
But I was so motivated I HAD TO PLANT SOMETHING! Hahaha My Dad gave me some Green Beans seeds they have saved from previous seasons and said “Here, plant these! They will do well all the way through Autumn!” And so I did! I remember checking EVERYDAY whether the seeds have sprouted yet… hehe (too keen!) And when they finally sprouted, something ‘changed’ inside me. I said to myself, “I wanna do this!”
Needless to say, those batch of green beans went crazy prolific and the rest was history!
Have you ever made mistakes or failed doing something? How did you overcome any obstacles?
During my early days of gardening, I failed at so many different things! For example:
· Planting seeds/seedlings too close together
· Planting the wrong seeds in the wrong season
· Not realising that different plants have different needs
And up to now I continue to make mistakes! Some I have found ways to deal with, and some I am yet to figure out how to solve.
I find that the best way to overcome any obstacles in gardening is that you must have patience. I am very patient… I do a lot of research… I talk to a lot of like-minded gardeners on Instagram… Check blogs and watch YouTube videos… ALL OF THESE TOGETHER is a powerful learning tool!
But if I have to choose one that I like the most, it is talking to like-minded people. There is nothing better than getting first-hand information from people who have successfully done it before. And that is why whatever I learn, I always make sure to share it with others! To help them with their own journey!
What are some of your greatest rewards with a lifestyle such as the one you live?
This is a tough question to answer, not because I don’t know what to say… but because I don’t know which one to tell you first!
On a personal note, the sheer joy of knowing that all these vegetables I harvest is the result of all the hard work I’ve done… it really is a truly wonderful feeling! From a SINGLE SEED, comes baskets and baskets of beans, or eggplants, or tomatoes! Isn’t it AMAZING!??
My family gets to eat fresh vegetables free from all the chemicals! On top of that, my kids get to learn where food comes from! And since they help me around the garden, I know for a fact that one day, they too will be doing exactly what I’m doing… Feeling exactly the same happiness I am feeling!
The amount of like-minded people I got to meet, both on Instagram and in person… it is unbelievable! Some of the people I have met in person through Instagram will now forever be my friends…
And last but not the least… many people would randomly message me on Instagram THANKING ME… about how I have inspired them in their own gardening journey! These are people whom I have never met… from all over the world… quietly watching my posts… Whenever something like this happens, I feel a sense of accomplishment… a sense of pride… that what I am doing is truly worthwhile and rewarding!
This is part of the reason I run those “Garden of Oz Games”! TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER! A lot of people on Instagram just “watch on the sidelines”… I feel that these games bring them out of their shells. I have been overwhelmed by the support… And many have thanked me for introducing them to so any wonderful accounts! So this is definitely another rewarding aspect of gardening! 🙂