Jul 18, 2009

Our first harvest

Miracle of miracles, it works! Plants grow! You put some seeds in the ground, add some seaweed and grass cuttings, weed once or twice, then voila! a crop comes up.

I'm talkin' about garlic. Handfuls and bushels of it. Red Russian, Saltspring, and two other types i can't remember now. We planted, and they grew.

I know this is basic, but for 42 years I've eaten food, seen plants and trees grow, and read about how it all works. But to first-hand be part of the full cycle of the miracle is a whole new experience - one that involves my soul and sweat and connection to the world, not just my stomach and wallet.

I finally am starting to embrace the true Wonder talked about in that old poem/poster "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten":
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
When we moved onto this land at the end of September, it was too late to plant any food crops except garlic. So plant we did. Then plant some more. Two randomly chosen rows in the old flower garden (resulting in a beautiful medley of curly garlic scapes and perennial flowers), then a third patch in the middle of the yard to replace a thistle patch, artistically planted in a heart shape. We had no idea what our garden would look like or where to plant, but just needed to put something in motion to mark the beginning our our journey.

And now 8 months later the garlic is ready. We have been daily enjoying our garden's many varieties of salad greens, chard, beets and spinach, and from the yard harvesting cherries, dandelions, nettles, and other happy finds. But this garlic is our cherished firstborn; the first thing that we planted alone, in our brave ignorance and faith. So when we next come to Vancouver peddling long braided bunches of the island's most-most loved garlic, know that it's spiced with all the hope and excitement of a family embarking on a new life. Not quite onions, but still enough to make you cry.

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