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The Life and Times of a Broccoli

The lives of our broccollis began as seeds purchased from our local garden store. Their lives ended when we cut the hardy nutritious florets from their thick stalks. They lived on in our kitchen as we ate them raw, steamed, or made them into delicious stir-fries.

We started the broccolli seeds in small pots at the beginning of our lives together. They lived in our sun room and on our front porch. We allowed them to soak in the rays in the sun room. During the colder winter and spring, we moved them from the inside of our sun room to the outside deck and then back indoors again during the night time. We ensured a consistantly moist soil. Of course, not all sprouts make it. Also, when the sprouts became crowded we removed smaller plants. Some sprouts faded as other sprouts flourished.This ensures space for the healther plants to thrive.

We prepared the land for the soil when the broccolli reached a height between 3 and 5 inches. I envision the roots of the plants to be equally below ground as plant that is above ground. Thus, its helpful to change the plant’s living space when tthe plant’s roots reach the bottom of its small pot. We shaped the earth into an individual  pot for each of our plants. As we rooted the sprouts in Mother Earth, we watered heavily so the roots would know they could live in their new home.

From this point on, the broccoli thrived. We watered them every four to eight days depending on their needs. At this time we also watered, herbs and cabbage in the Earth and cared for sprouts in our home’s sun-room.

In the midst of this, aphids did attack one plant and a gopher ate the roots of another one. We simply removed the plants once.Generally, broccoli detours pests. This just reminds us that, just like in life, unpredictable events occur . In these times, we do our best and move on!

Broccolli is extremely hardy and flourishes in our environment, a moderate and coastal beach town. The life of a broccolli plant ranges from 4-6 months, depending on weather and sprouting conditions. For example, even though we planted our plants at the same time, we harvested them at various times based on their readiness.

We have now cleared our broccolli. We continue to enjoy the brassica in our kitchen though. The new room made space for our cucumbers and GIGANTIC winter squash plants.

July 12, 2012 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

Summer Afternoon

Blue-tinted dragonflies zoom. Public Enemy beats in the background. People yell on the rides at the beach boardwalk. A group of pigeons fly overhead. Basil grows taller. The espiga sprouts from the top of the corn stalks. Butterflies, bees, and white mouths flitter around. Winter squash begins to consume the parcel. Broccolli grows its second heads. Don Emilio tills his land. A sweet breeze relieves us all. The blue heron flies above.

July 3, 2012 at 6:51 pm Leave a comment

Peace, calm, and tranquility

from Friday June 22

A teacher of botanical medicine once expoused the ways and the manners of a person dedicated to plants. She said that the human should approach the plant with respect, ask for permission to harvest, water, prune, etc., and ask for forgiveness if the human hurt the plant. Humans abuse plants, she said, when they harvest or prune quickly or disrespect the plant in anyway. Conversely, a human and a plant generate a positive relationship when they base their relationship on reciprocity.

This enters my mind today because our farms plants require no human work today. It is a wonderful summer day, that if the plants required something we could easily complete such tasks. Yet, we have completed consistant heartfelt work and the plants grow, seed and die indepedently.

June 25, 2012 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

beloved basil

The basil harvest has begun. This harvest warms my heart and kitchen. As the basil grows, a sense of comfort, warmth and strength overwhelm me. It may sound strange to talk about the way one’s plants affect one, but they do affect us in all different ways. Basil nurtures, warms and loves.

June 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm Leave a comment

The Culinary Herb Celebration

By now you’ve heard and read so much about the various culinary herbs in our garden. Its true we do love to spend time tending to oregano, mint, time, tarragon and basil. We now have plenty of dried herbs for our kitchen and to share with loved ones.

We dry our herbs in various ways. One can make small bushels, tied with string or wire. Then hang bushes around ones house in cool dry spaces. Another method for drying herbs entails putting the herb harvest on a cookie sheet or other similiar surface, cover with a light peice of fabric (bandana, dish towel, scarf, paper towel etc.) and allow harvest to dry. After a few days or weeks, depending on the moisture in the air, the culinary herbs should be dry. One can now pluck off the edible parts and pack into a jar. The sticks can be used in vegetable stock, to make art, or compost.

One can use herbs in any dish. I suggest garnishing eggs and potatoes with herbs to gain the best sense of the herb’s flavor. Another way to get to know the flavors would be to make pasta with olive oil, squeeze of lemon, salt and herbs or your choice. Culinary herbs awaken your taste buds and bring out flavors of the complimentary food.

Whe one plants a garden, one has plenty of gitfs for loved ones. Mother Earth gives and returns exactly what you put into her. Her gift in turn may be given to others. Already lively in our kitchen, our culinary herb harvest will find its way into the kitchens of many of our loved ones soon.

June 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Father’s Day in Our Community Garden

From sea to shining sea, Americans celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday, June 17. In our garden, too, we recognized fathers and fatherhood. Our garden lives because of the strong families and strong fathers in our community. This blog post is a brief description of the life in our garden on Father’s day.

While Francisco and his son planted onions and watered, Beto cleaned his land and planted basil. Don Domingo pushed the wheelchair of Tío Pedro, while Tío Pedro’s wife prepared the tortillas, rice, and birria. One of Tio Pedro’s daughters harvested nopal, in English, cactus. Meanwhile, his other daughter ate the plum tree’s harvest. Joe and Carlie harvested plums, too. The hummingbirds hummed and the doves coooed.

Later, after the watermelon received water, Don Frederico shanked nopales with Tío Pedro’s daughter and grand-daughter. Tío Pedro told jokes and waited for birria (a delicious Mexican entree.) Don Domingo sat, smiling behind the entire scene. Francisco, his son, and Beto continued to work the Mother Earth.

Meanwhile, the corn, beans and squash begin to flower. The squash flowers are yellow and the gourd has white flowers. White, red, and purple flowers grow from the green bean plants. The ladybugs flit around the corn, beans, and oregano. The ladybugs eat the aphids and other bugs. In this way, we farm organically.

Gladiolas color the garden with shades of purple, white, red, fuchsia, orange, peach, yellow, and pink. The bees and hummingbirds love the nectar! Gladiolas attract good bugs and birds, in turn, fighting other insects that might want to destroy our harvest. The gladiola flowers also make wonderful gifts during this season. They stand one to three feet tall, right now!

Our garden lives for our families. In our culture, the older men, of the “father-figures” of our community, require land in their golden age. They require land because our tradition of working the land for the love of working the land must be passed from this generation to those of the next generation. In this way, we maintain our culture. This is a culture rooted with the roots of the corn, beans, and squash that began some 8,000 to 12,000 years ago.

On this Father’s day, our garden celebrates our fathers, our forefathers and our ancestors. Each of us has the right, and in some ways the duty, to honor our fathers. In our garden, we celebrate our fathers by farming, working and loving Mother Earth!

~~~~~~~

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn has a great introduction to corn 🙂

June 18, 2012 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

a moment from the milpa

I would like to share a brief moment in our garden that reflects the community aspect of our commuity garden. I hope you enjoy….

Along one side of Don Domningo’s parcel, we find a row of squash planted for community members to harvest. I harvested just two today. I then began to tell Don Domingo that my neighbor’s maiz has children, “Mingo….”

At that moment a young boy appeared in the garden. I introduced myself, “Hola, yo soy Carlota.”

Yo soy Christian,” I am Christian, he responded.

Don Mingo,” I said, “El maíz de mi vecino tiene hijos.” My neighbor’s corn has children. It is important to destroy the corn’s children becauses the children simply use nutrients to grow off the main stock of the corn, which hinders the stalks growth. With children, the corn will not grow healthfully. I wanted to help the corn grow. At this moment, I hoped Don Domingo and Christian could help me.

I informed Christian’s father that the corn had children. He understood and advised Christian to accompany Don Domingo and I to the milpa, the indigenous word for corn field. We cleared the corn’s children and allowed the main stock of the corn to grow healthfully.

This is a brief description of one of the many serendipitious moments that occur in our garden. Don Mingo knew that the owner of the corn field would appreciate our work. Because of this we helped the corn grow stronger. The abundance of the sun, hard work and love enables the plants to grow so quickly right now!

June 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

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