Saturday, May 28, 2011

My garden this spring is a first step in a longer process - part scientific experiment, part evolutionary system, part skill-set expansion.  I planted eight different varieties of potato.  6 in regular rows, one into broken sod and one under a leaf pile.  I'm planting a mix of squashes as well as a watermelon called moon and stars.  4 heirloom tomato plants went in today, Pruden's Purple, Peacevine Cherry, Black Krim and Jaune Flamme.  Also a quartet of Cassius Cauliflowers and a habanero pepper all bought as starters from the organic nursery.  A patch of parsnips went in just for the heck of it, and basil in a couple of places.  Beans and turnips are still to go in and should fill in the remaining patches.

As much as possible I'm going with heirloom varieties, that is, non-hybrids that breed true and allow you to collect seeds from your more successful plants for the following year.  Not only does it let you fine tune your plants to your local conditions, but it gives you more control over your seed supply (if you can master all the skills involved, of course).  We'll see.

The key to vigor in any evolutionary system is selection from diversity, and that is the logic that guides me here.  It's even more important because I don't trust that our industrial food system (which favors standardization and monoculture over diversity at every step of the process from farm to table) not to get tripped up - either by climate change or fuel shocks or something less foreseeable.  A vigorous gardening culture, with a diversity of varieties could be the key to surviving that with a minimum of malnutrition.
I want to read this night-leaf tarot:

 . . . Sometimes, deep in the night
it rains; and in the morning I find it hasn’t been
a dream. Tarot waiting to be read on a wet
driveway— random lilac, red maple; sharp
green spades that cradled gardenias: what
do they know of warnings and misfortune?
Leaf of the cherry, red heart, organ of fire:
I name you as if I could thread your bones;
I name you not knowing your mystery.
Luisa A. Igloria 
05 27 2011