How many times have you moaned about not having enough time to do all the jobs in the garden? You have a few hours, but you still can’t manage to finish everything. And the garden waits for no-one.
As the biblical poem goes, to everything there is a season, and if you miss the time for planting or reaping, you have to wait another year.
I recently discovered the Helpx website. HelpX is an online listing of host organic farms, non-organic farms, farmstays, homestays, ranches, lodges, B&Bs, backpackers hostels and even sailing boats who invite volunteer helpers to stay with them short-term in exchange for food and accommodation.
HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience.
The first HelpXers I had came in October last year. Yong and Leelee, a married couple from Borneo, stayed with me for two weeks. Yong had never used a splitting maul before, but still managed to split almost 10 tonnes of Norway spruce that had succumbed to green aphid disease. Leelee stacked the logs into an enormous mountain and she also worked in the vegetable garden.
This March, another couple, this time from Hong Kong, spent a week at Field Cottage. Danny and Jess had never worked outside before, but put all their energy into preparing the garden for new planting. At the same time, Gail a 70 year old HelpXer from Florida worked on a large shed that had just been erected. In less than two weeks, he managed to weatherproof it inside and out, as well as tackling some of the heavier jobs around the garden.
Apart from the fantastic help these visitors provide, it is also great fun to host them.
Now that the gardening season is starting to hot up, I am organizing my next round of HelpXers. If you need extra hands in the garden this summer, why don’t you try HelpX?