|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
My 2003 Garden
This summer, I look forward to enjoying breakfast, lunch, and dinner in my garden, picking and eating ripe vegetables directly from living plants. In a few weeks, I'll harvest between 2 and 3 gallons of sweet organic strawberries. Since March, I've been enjoying eight different varieties of lettuce, red and green basil, and enough spinach to overwhelm Popeye the Sailor-man. Three different varieties of garlic are close to being picked and six types of potato plants now stand about two feet tall. Each day, I enjoy spearment tea from an enormous bush. I steep a gallon of tea at a time and need no sweetener for the resulting sweet aromatic beverage. Last year, I planted my first garden. If me, with a scarlet- red thumb can do it, you can do it too. I used the principles of "square-foot gardening." My plants taught me valuable lessons. Waiting for them to grow took so much time. I was impatient. I learned the reason why their initial above ground growth was so slow. My plant reserved their initial energies to promoting successful lives. Their initial growth was happening underground, out of my nearsighted vision. What chemical messages were the plant's roots sending to micro-organisms in the dirt? Those chemicals probably included yet-to-be discovered natural herbicides and pesticides. At a certain time in the plant's above ground growth spurt, she would manufacture new chemicals for flying insects and hungry small mammals. Do not eat my leaves! In order to mature to healthy summer plants, plants first had to develop strong foundations in the spring. Their root systems would spread unseen to promote such growth. Roots and foundations. Are we any different? We must have strong blood. They must too. Our bloods are so similar! I learned that from reading about the 1930 Nobel Prize award given to Dr. Hans Fischer. The most important protein in human blood is hemoglobin, containing a center atom of iron. The protein in plant blood is chlorophyll, containing a center atom of magnesium. Other than that, the two molecules are nearly identical. Plants need sunlight to manufacture that protein. Exposing tiny seeds to proper sunny exposures in my garden insured proper growth. Ellen G. White once recognized that good blood was essential to keeping a living creature strong. In 1905, she wrote: "In order to have good health, we must have good blood; for the blood is the current of life. It repairs waste, and nourishes the body. When supplied with the proper food elements and when cleansed and vitalized by contact with pure air, it carries life and vigor to every part of the system. The more perfect the circulation, the better will this work be accomplished." Plants circulate waste too. The process of photosynthesis creates waste. A plant circulates waste products through her body and excretes minerals into the soil. Nitrogen through the soil. Oxygen through her leaves. Her waste product of oxygen nourishes air-breathing mammals. There is nothing sold in any supermarket to compare to the sun-ripened taste of ripe, red cherry tomatoes. Nor can one find cucumbers, peppers, carrots, or peas to compare to what I grow without the aid of pesticides and herbicides. Ninety-two years ago, in 1911, Ellen G. White wrote: "Families and institutions should learn to do more in the cultivation and improvement of land. If people only knew the value of the products of the ground, which the earth brings forth in their season, more diligent efforts would be made to cultivate the soil. All should be acquainted with the special value of fruits and vegetables fresh from the orchard and garden." Five dozen corn stalks grow outside of Lizzy's bedroom window. Last year, I planted six varieties of tomatoes, 20 plants in all. This year, I've got thirteen varieties in the ground and a total of 40 plants. I planted bulbs last fall, and my garden is now a splash of color. Dozens of nasturtium plants promise further June beauty, with large green leaves surrounding my broccoli, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, carrots, and turnips. Planting a garden couldn't be easier. I was once so intimidated. Here's what I did last year. This year's garden will save quite a bit of food bill dollars and provide delicious organic produce. Last year's garden: http://www.notmilk.com/forum/garden.html Plant a seed today. Buy a tomato plant or two. Nature pretty much does the rest. I add about five minutes per day of easy work with my hoe.
Robert Cohen, author of: MILK A-Z
Executive Director (email@example.com)
Dairy Education Board
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