Support for home gardeners during COVID-19

Good morning gardeners,

Amidst the current chaos I hope that you are finding an oasis of peace in your gardens. Perhaps a few of you may be just beginning your own garden and yet to discover what a source of comfort, security and emotional release it can be at times like this.


While we’re all affected by the pandemic situation (not just the virus but the far-reaching impacts of its disturbance to ‘normal’ life) I hope to share information and encouragement for resilience at home and in the garden. And I hope that every single one of us, and every single household or family that gardens can become a hub of calm, organised action and of compassionate support within our own circles. 

I wrote last time about the ‘silver lining‘ in terms of the pandemic creating a stronger than ever motivation and opportunity to enact our strategies for food growing and resilient local living. Now I’d like to go one layer deeper.

It’s also an opportunity to deepen ourselves and our inner resources. 

File:Permaculture Zones.svg

Permaculture Zones. Source: wikipedia


Let’s have a think about that in terms of the kind of zoning that you may be familiar with from permaculture. We typically conceptualise the landscape (including our gardens) in zones radiating from the home and the people in it, through the areas of most intensive activity, inputs and outputs, through to the areas of least intervention and most undisturbed nature. We mostly live at the ‘centre’, while still caring deeply about what’s ‘out there’ at the furthest zone and knowing that every part of the ecosystem is connected. We try to circulate resources thoughtfully within our system, and this is most concentrated towards the centre.

By now I guess you are probably seeing some analogies for our closer-to-home life in response to COVID-19. Interpret it in whatever way is fruitful for you, but I’d like to be clear that I’m not talking about locking ourselves in bunkers and arming to defend the ranch! No, we want to spread abundance and courage, not fear.


I’m starting to hold zoning in mind a bit like this (and it keeps evolving!)…

  • Zone 0 – the centre of calm that I continually aim to access and to renew within myself. (Mindful breath, gratitude, noticing the space between thoughts.)
  • Zone 1 – my immediate family in the household and our garden – the place where I learn how well (or not) I’ve connected with Zone 0.
  • Zone 2 – our extended family and close friends – those for whom we feel a strong sense of direct responsibility. We can look after them best when Zone 1 is in good shape.
  • Zone 3 – our near community – those outside the household with whom we interact most (with all the necessary precautions) to build mutual support, share resources and develop greater collective resilience. We share some practical resources between Zones 1, 2 and 3.
  • Zone 4 – our broader local community and our city. Here we target information resources, in and out.
  • Zone 5 – the world. Yep, keeping an eye on that now and then too.

Like garden zones, there are overlaps and blurred edges. But I’d say in blog time I’m visiting Zone 4. In phone time it tends to be Zones 2-3. In those rare moments of TV and newspaper time it’s Zone 5 – necessary but not where I should be putting most of my time. So life this week is mostly Zone 1 in the daytime and Zone 0 when I sit in bed before sleep, when I wake in the middle of the night, and if I’m lucky for a few minutes when I wake up in the morning. Plus when I do solitary gardening.

I’m going to go tend to Zone 1 now. Which of your zones needs your attention now?

I’ll be back when I can, and next time I will aim to offer practical information in response to questions. Please post your questions either as comments here or on the linking post on facebook. If you have a lot to say, maybe email me at Given time constraints I’ll respond mainly to the Adelaide area.

Go well xx

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