Cambrian: Opinion

It’s time to grow, so I’m planting seeds in my garden

Diane Brooke
Diane Brooke

For the first time in quite a number of years, spring is springing in me — I feel like planting food again! The first year Love of My Life lived here, he planted a wonderful plot in our side yard. And oh, my goodness how the diabrotica (cucumber beetles or “man bugs” as some of us call them) did ravage that garden! Neither of us was particularly motivated after that even though we did get some tasty grub out of it.

Funny, I have lived all by myself for two years now and suddenly got a bigger dining table that has a leaf to it, subscribe to Costco, have three hens that produce more eggs than I certainly need (but I love them and you need a few to keep them happy — kind of like me and my girlfriends?) and I’m finally feeling like putting in some onions and kale and whatnot, not just the medicinal herbs I usually run through (even those, I’d let die in recent years).

Without a grandchild or man in sight, I don’t know what’s come over me. Perhaps it is Divine helping me open that path. I dunno. Maybe it is because I’m happy, happy, happy and that makes me feel like nesting for my own sake … for once in my life. Something about maintaining my independence, possibly.

With a lovely health food store right in town now, the other market also carrying more organic choices, Farmers Market and the lovely CSAs available (Community Supported Agriculture —subscription boxes of in-season produce), why bother? Dirt. Grounding is so incredibly important, and the easiest way to do that is to put your hands and feet in the earth. I walk barefoot as often as possible — even in the chicken coop (hey, it’s organic!). But, I need to see dark stuff under my stubby nails to feel really connected.

And then there’s the activist side of me. I read a disturbing fact about the food we eat these days (yes, there are lots of disturbing things, really). With all the seemingly different “new” foods in magazines and chic restaurants, 95 percent of the world calories now come from only 30 species. All the hoopla we see in grocery aisles is simply different spices and different packaging and marketing. That’s all.

So, while not everything I’m planting is heirloom (do try to invest in as many of these types of plants as possible as they will help rediversify our plant populations), they are at least non-GMO and organic! I want to know that I can collect the seeds of these plants and regrow my own crops. Commercial seed producers (think Monsanto) have traditional farmers by the short hairs, as their seeds are chemically engineered and sterile! For Big Ag, well, they don’t care. Their mission is to rape the land as quickly as possible to get their cash crop before anyone else. Do I sound bitter?

I need to reconfigure my chicken yard to keep the girls out of my food beds as they tend to rototill everything in sight. I need to start collecting my wash water again and redistribute it to other purposes so I can water my small plots/boxes that I don’t have to pay even more than I already painfully do for H2O. I’m getting ready with natural pest deterrents. I’ve got the seeds in the ground, and little sprouts are already peeking out.

Yeah, it’s time to grow — in so many ways.

Dianne Brooke’s column appears weekly and is special to The Cambrian. Visit her website at Email her at