A combination of several factors has prevented us from doing any serious gardening until now. There’s the fact that in our eight years of marriage, my husband and I moved four times (and gardening does go better with permanent residence in one place); then there was always something, such as being pregnant, or having a new baby, or keeping garden-destructive livestock such as chickens and goats, or it being the Sabbatical year (which, for Jews living in Israel, means you can’t plant in soil – only in containers).
Of course some of it, let’s face it, was just plain lack of motivation. More determined people would have invested in sturdy fences and large containers they can take with them when they move. However, in the past months we really felt ready and willing to finally start gardening seriously and diligently, and there was only one thing that stopped us.
To put it simply, our neighbors had goats. Now, we have kept goats in the past, and we know these animals are clever, nimble and extremely difficult to contain. However, we also believe it is the responsibility of the owner to prevent his livestock from becoming a nuisance to his neighbors. So we talked, we explained, and we pleaded… and all we got in return were some pretty lame excuses. To top it all off, at night I would hear our neighbor sneak off and let his goats out. He wanted the benefit of pasture for his animals without the responsibility of controlling them.
Luckily for us, we weren’t the only people annoyed by having their fruit trees repeatedly eaten down to the ground. After several neighbors lobbied together, the goat owner gave in and the offending goats were sold. I felt as though I could dance.
So we recently started a small garden, which we plan to expand in time, once we get a little more practice. We’re hopeful and really happy to watch our plants grow without being eaten. Here you can see a climbing tomato plant, a patch of mint that is really thriving, some flowers and some lemon balm.