Planting Time Again


To be honest, there is rarely a time when planting ceases. There are just heavy planting times and light planting times. Upcoming October and November are heavy planting times so I might as well get a start on it. Which is why having blossoms in the garden is indispensable. If I’m on my knees planting, I want to be able to look up and see something beautiful, like these lovely artichoke blossoms.


Today, it’s a basket of elephant garlic that is going into the ground. This spring I saved plenty of elephant garlic so that I wouldn’t need to buy any to plant this fall. Self-replication is a feat of nature that is woefully under appreciated. What if you could buy shoes that were self-replicating? You’d only have to buy one or two pair, ever. When one got old, you’d set it aside and wait for it to grow two or three new pairs of shoes. Such shoes would be called magical. Why don’t we call our crops magical? They self-replicate year after year after year.


Deep in the garden, a Costata romanesco zucchini has grown to the size of a beached whale. Come next spring, the seeds of this fruit will self-replicate and take over the world if I let it. The gigantic leaves of the zucchini are on their way to becoming soil. Tired from soaking in sunlight all summer long, they are turning white with powdery mildew. Milk is effective at treating powdery mildew. Diluted ten to one with water, milk is as good as conventional fungicides and better than benomyl and fenarimol at treating powdery mildew. But, as it is time for these leaves to return to the earth, there is no point in prolonging their lifespan.


The rewards of planting are finding things to eat. Today there is corn, shoots of napa cabbage, tomato and basil to take into the kitchen for an early autumn feast. I’m sitting in the garden, soaking in the autumn sun, and listening to the buzzing of bees as I write. The tragedy of industrial food is how it has divorced us from nature. When you wander the vast aisles in the box stores picking out your food products, you hear no buzzing of bees, the whisper of the wind in the trees doesn’t tickle your years, the autumn sun doesn’t warm your cheeks, nor can you feel the verdant earth between your toes.

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