She Brings Me Water

An aeclectic look at the nearby world

Why Bother?

“But the act I want to talk about is growing some — even just a little — of your own food. Rip out your lawn, if you have one, and if you don’t — if you live in a high-rise, or have a yard shrouded in shade — look into getting a plot in a community garden. Measured against the Problem We Face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it’s one of the most powerful things an individual can do — to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind.”

The title of this post and the above quote are from an article in the New York Times (April 20, 2008 ) written by Michael Pollan  (author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals) in which he talks about why one might want to plant a garden and why one should, if one can, and why one might have to whether one wants to or not.  The “Problem We Face”, of course, is global warming. Did we plant our garden because of global warming?  Not really, but other reasons that Michael gives for doing so do are, among others, ours as well.  You can read the article here.

In a previous post I wrote about the blueberry plants we planted and how I was really hoping they would bear this year; well, one is trying to live up to my hopes.  The picture is of our Legacy blueberry with clusters of small, green blueberries.  There are still some strawberries in this patch of ground but our two resident foxes generally eat those.  Speaking of the foxes (which I believe are gray foxes, because of their black-tipped tails), they are becoming more accustomed to our presence and trot by us unconcernedly as we work outside.  One even came onto our porch one night (through the cat door) in search of popcorn. 

There’s been more planting in the Native American garden: the Southwest quadrant is planted in Ruby Queen corn; after they have come up we’ll plant Mexican cucumbers (which are supposed to deter the raccoons), King of the Garden lima beans, and Golden Honeymoon and Tigger melons.  I also planted nasturtium seeds on the sides of the zucchini and squash hills to keep away borers, and transplanted marigolds to the corners because of their ability to repel all sorts of pests.  And speaking of pests, some sort of bug nibbled holes in the basil and tomato seedlings, so yesterday we whipped up a batch of soap spray and sprayed all the seedlings. 

Today I sowed some radish seeds in the cucumber hills, as they are supposed to keep away the cucumber beetle.  And I planted three mounds with Detroit Dark Red beets.  Beet greens are good just steamed by themselves and seasoned with lemon pepper, garlic and butter or olive oil.  The beets themselves I like to peel, slice and cook till tender, then add some hard-boiled eggs till the eggs turn a lovely red-purple.  Then I use them to make a salad with chickpeas and feta or mozzarella cheese. 

Since this garden post seems to be turning into an eating post, I should also mention that our asparagus is coming up thinly, so I bought some from Cullipher’s Farm Market to supplement it.  Last night, I steamed them and seasoned them (lemon pepper, garlic, butter and olive oil), sauteed some mushrooms (a la Julia Child: slice some very dry mushrooms, put about half a stick of butter in a pan, heat pan but don’t add mushrooms until the butter foam has just begun to subside, add the mushrooms and brown on both sides, add as much red or white wine as you want, salt and pepper to taste), added some shrimp, combined this with the asparagus and feta cheese and served it all over couscous.  There’s leftovers, if you get here quick, and don’t forget to go read Michael Pollan’s article.

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