The Homestead operates as a democracy and at no time is this more apparent than that glorious day in late June when the new edition of the Kings Seed catalogue is crammed into our mailbox.
Over the month or so following its arrival, the prized booklet sits front and centre on the coffee table to be thumbed through and scrawled over. Crosses appear beside the photo of that funky watermelon (Georgia Rattlesnake – who can resist that name?!), the side shooting broccoli and yet another incarnation of the perfect carrot. Heavy, black circles mark one Homesteader’s idea of the perfect viola/marigold combination for the front garden border. Numbers are scrawled in the margins, crossed off, rewritten,overwritten, and sometimes unintentionally duplicated. Then the discussions begin. A little later (or much, depending on the mood) the definitive list is tabulated, the online form completed and, a couple of days later, those little green and white packets full of promise are in our possession.
Don’t get us wrong, not every member of the Homestead has an undying passion for what we reap and sow. A couple of us don’t care a jot, being happy to go along with whatever ends up on their plate. But for some of us it is a big BIG deal.
There’s an allegory regarding democracy that uses the premise of a group of people choosing the colour to paint a room. People vote by ranking their top three choices in order, with the first choice receiving 3 points, the second 2 and their least favourite 1; a system which results in the room being painted yellow. That being the colour no one selected as their first option, but got through on the strength of being everyone’s “it’ll do”.
As a group, we want to avoid having to ever settle for yellow. Is that possible?
So far, we seem to have swung it, but only by indulging in discussion: lots of it. Long, sometimes loud, always passionate thrashings out of the whys and whereabouts and how-manys. Yep, we know this isn’t an option for the governments of the world because it all takes a huge amount of time and also a healthy disregard for your personal popularity. Oh, and trust.
How on earth is watermelon going to grow in ground that is predominantly sand? Yes, it is a cool name, but it’s going to need a heap of water, hence the name: WATERmelon. How environmentally friendly is planting something needing a resource our ground doesn’t retain…yes, I’ve heard of mulch…hang on a minute…by the duck pond, you say? On the other side of the fence where the ducks can’t…hmmm…catching the splashy runoff…yes…in that little unused suntrap garden…??? You know what, that could just work. Shall we give it a go?