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June 13th, 2011

garden: the verb

In the morning before I go to work, I take a little stroll through my garden. It’s meditative and therapeutic, and it’s a great daily reminder of what my job as online editor is really about: the garden.

I can get overwhelmed with creating online articles and slideshows. I can easily get lost in writing newsletters and cropping images. I can be consumed by Facebook and the petty drama that swirls around on Twitter.

Some days it’s easy to lose sight of the larger picture. Today was one of those days.

But when I plugged my camera into my computer, I remembered my walk in the garden this morning.

Reddish-orange calendula blooming in the morning light.

calendula

The tomatoes in cages surrounded by a living mulch of clover.

tomato-clover

The garlic scapes curling and gliding like swans on the water.

garlic-scape

The bean runners racing up the teepee.

bean-runner

And I think, oh yeah, I am a gardener.

That’s what’s at the core of my job.
I garden and I learn.
I garden and I create.
I garden and I share.

Or perhaps this is more apt:

The garden teaches.
The garden shares.

Let me also say that I am a committed organic gardener. I do not use chemicals. I do not support poison farming. I fully believe that organic and sustainable practices in our agriculture and food production are the key to improving our health and our environment. Period. No free pass for corporations talking out of both sides of their mouth.

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April 18th, 2011

inside and outside

The garden at our house is moving along nicely on two fronts: indoor and outside.

You know about the peas, but we also planted spinach and radicchio by seed. The spinach looks good, but the radicchio is taking its time. I planted them together in one of the 2 x 8 raised beds in sort of a diagonal stripes.

turnip greens

turnip greens

We went up to the cold crop sale at the Rodale Institute last week and got some broccoli and arugula seedlings and a bag of onion sets. I put the onions in a few different beds, a row here, a row there, sort of out of the way along the back edges and outside corners of some of the bigger raised beds. I put the broccoli in the bed where I overwintered turnips and collards. (Wondering now if that’s a brassica overload; perhaps some crop rotation was in order. Live and learn.) We’ve been eating lots of turnip greens lately. Last October I planted about 40 bulbs of garlic in the other 2×8 bed. This all sounds like a lot of work, but my raised beds were ready to plant because I kept them heavily mulched all winter. The soil looks great, full of worms, ready for a productive season.

Inside, everything I planted a few weeks ago is up—except the marigolds. I’m wondering if my seeds were bad, or if they’re the kind of seed that needs darkness to germinate. I’ve left the fluorescent light on 24/7 since I planted the seeds. The rest of the seedlings seem to like it.

seedling-helper

The secret to growing seedlings is finding good help

And this past weekend, Iris and I planted tomato seeds. OG senior editor Doug gave me some of the seeds that he’s trialing in the test garden. I’m stating 4 varieties: Velvet Red, Black Icicle, Italian Heirloom, and Henderson’s Winsall.

soil+seed+water+light+love=tomatoes

soil+seed+water+light+love=tomatoes

This is random, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the correlation between having kids and growing a garden. As new parents or new gardeners you have no idea what to expect. You worry a lot about the “right” way to do things and it can be stressful to say the least. But I’ve noticed, as my wife and I are getting very close to having our second child, that things are a little less stressful. Not that it’s not incredibly exciting; it’s just exciting in a whole new way. More on that later.

My seed potatoes shipped today. I should have them in time to plant them on Good Friday. Going for the mulch method this year. I had them in the ground a lot earlier last year.

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