Thoughts from the Garden by Shaina Cantino

Planting mustard greens and arugula last week, I thought about how incredible seeds are.  They appear to be not much more than little pebbles, or dried flecks of straw.  And yet because we've learned from experience, we trust them—if we put them in the ground, they'll do something.  That, with our love and a decision of timing—a decision based on hundreds of years of observation—we tuck them in.  We support them with what we think they'll eat (and not all at once, a slow digestion).  When we step away, they do this miraculous thing.  Little stone-like bits turn to shoots and extend.  They reach!  Like kids reach as they discover their own movement.  It's silly that I trust seeds so simply and am challenged to trust myself.  What if I imagine that gentle hands have put me in moist dark soil, knowing I will do what is intuitive?  To radiate up (and down).  To trust in fertility—the growth that comes with encouragement and love—even when we seem stone-like, still in a seed bag or first set into soil.

A note on what’s up:

Straight, thick Carrots just out of the ground!  The straightest and thickest I’ve ever rubbed soil from.  They are dense and flavorful.  As are the hardy Turnips and Beets (bright and yummy when raw and still dirty).  More of these same veggies yet to come.  The yellow Summer Squash are still swelling after weeks.  They are now joined by several volunteer Delicata.  The Chard is glowing, the Cilantro is passing, the Shingiku is very tall.  I have been picking the Calendula flowers daily to dry—they will be medicine soon.  The tomatoes in our lovely new hoop house are just coming on.  Kalyan and I mixed up some compost tea, which I sprayed them with this morning.  I love imagining the perfect little microbes eating and gaining strength (very like the ones in our own guts).

Recipe for compost tea: pantyhose donated by Victor’s mom, several handfuls of rich home-grown compost inserted into feet of pantyhose, a stick to dangle pantyhose from, a 50 gallon barrel of water, and an aerator.  Let sit 24-36 hours.  Apply happy microbial water to any and all plants, wait and watch.

All always swimming in a sea of kale.  Hopefully we’ll float on this kale well into winter, as we were so lucky to do last year.

Next up: garlic into the ground.

The garden has been loved this year!  By many hands and arms and eyes and tongues.  Thanks to Madoka, our volunteer gardener for three months this summer, as well as to Kalyan and all those who helped during the work weekend and after.

In one of the evening staff garden parties in July (shared by Kelsey, Matt, Beu, Kalyan, Jake, Madoka, and I), I began to teach the well-loved song “Inch by Inch.”

Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones
We are made of dreams and bones
Need a place to call our own
(or I have sung it “feel the need to grow our own”)
'Cause the time is close at hand

Grain for grain, sun and rain
Find my way in nature's chain
Till my body and my brain
Tell the music of the land
(or Tune my body and my brain to the music from the land).

The sunflowers are blooming in the garden right now.  (Some are bronze, some golden.)   My dear friend/sister Shelley (who has just departed for Berlin from her year of passionate devotion as Executive Intern) pointed out how they have a bosom-like center, rich and dark and dimensional.  She remarked on how they radiate outwards from that core.  We tend to notice first, of course, the multi-directional gold bursting of petals.  The sunflowers reminded Shelley and me about letting those same channels that radiate out also soak in what they touch, to bring it back to the center.  That maybe it's ok to radiate in different directions and still count on a center where the quiet, fertile seeds are.  

Thanks to compost tea parties, trust in seeds, many hands moving in song, and the supported healthful soil of Earthdance, we have a bountiful blissful garden! 

(I am moving to the Valley this weekend.  Any and all garden help makes a big difference.  And is a joy!)