Friday, June 20, 2008


Meitheal is an old Irish concept that involves neighbours helping each other on the understanding that it's mutual, and won't be taken advantage of. In the days before mechanisation, you needed a lot of hands to save hay, to harvest wheat, to feed the workers - helping out was being part of the community.

In Dublin, my neighbour and I swapped seedling, plants and produce. But none of my neighbours here are crazy vegetable gardeners. And invariably I have too many plants - I always grow some spares in case of collapsing greenhouses, slug attacks, and other garden disasters.

However through teaching gardening to the kids at the school and Montessori, I am starting to build a gardening community. L. from Leo's creche is going to trade me an Indian head massage in return for all the plants we have given her, M. from the school is going to owe me some emergency child minding. I would gladly give the plants away just to know they have good homes, but to be offered something in return makes me realise how much they are appreciated - and that feels really good!

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