A person who undertakes to grow a garden at home, by practices that will preserve rather than exploit the economy of the soil, has his mind precisely against what is wrong with us. . . . What I am saying is that if we apply our minds directly and competently to the needs of the earth, then we will have begun to make fundamental and necessary changes in our minds. We will begin to understand and to mistrust and to change our wasteful economy, which markets not just the produce of the earth, but also the earth's ability to produce.
Gardens are not work. They are friends.
In the era of deadly spinach and tomatoes and green onions from thousands of miles away, I'm pleased that it's becoming more clear to people that gardening is not difficult, overly time-consuming or out of reach. What's the tradeoff for a few glorious hours in the sun over the course of a season? Delicious, healthy food, a marvelous tilth for the future, new habitat for some exciting residents, lessons in life, reproduction and responsibility . . . etc., etc., etc. Work?? More like a big ol' playground!
Yesterday, I encountered the first praying mantis of the season--a little brown thing in my laundry basket, actually. So it immediately got a new home in the tomatoes, hopefully to do something about the Mexican bean beetle larvae we pick of day in and day out. I've spotted a toad a couple of times, too; I hope there are more among the mints by the "pond." A pair of harlequin cabbage bugs undertook a bit of risqué activity on some tender young kale, but the fritillaries haven't taken up on the passionflower vines yet. There's a healthy understory of purslane among all the planted plants, because I don't have it in me to remove them--they were Ghandi's favorite vegetable, and make a fantastic gardening snack. And such an intrepid, hardy plant deserves a place in my garden, I think. It takes a lot of work to be that prolific! They're familiar and reassuring in their abundance.
So far, the harvest has been collards, French sorrel, romaine, rosemary, basil, tarragon, chives, thyme and nibbles of purslane. Soon will come yellow squash, green tomatoes, serrano and habanero peppers, cucumbers and maybe a pinch of celery. The okra is about to burst its buds, a volunteer roma is jammin' by the fence, and there are marble-sized watermelons nestled under the vines. This year marked the first planting of heirloom-type strawberry popping corn, which is up to my waist, and it almost goes without saying that there's spearmint in overabundance. Three seasons of horse manure (now chicken manure! W00t!) kitchen scraps, shredded paper and love have turned our loamy sand into sandy loam, and the plant family is shouting its gratitude.
Thank you in return, my lil' green buddies!