Thursday, April 07, 2005


We have seen the real value of real diversity in our lives time and again. The year the potato blight came through and got the long season potatoes, we still had tons of potatoes because we also had very short season, Yukon Gold, potatoes that had completely made themselves before the blight hit. The Incas made a specialty of growing potatoes in the Andes, and each little biome, each elevation and side of each mountain, had a potato that grew best there. They had hundreds if not thousands of varieties of potatoes. This year we’re growing at least 12 different kinds ourselves, although in years past we’ve grown as many as 22 different kinds of potatoes.

Evening before last I burned off a neighbor’s small garden plot. I mowed for them last year and this year I’ve agreed to also put in a small garden (only about 12 X 18 but I may expand that a bit) for them. She will probably do a lot of the tending and most of the harvesting but I’m planning it and planting it. They’ve been real good to us, and I suppose we’ve been good to them: you know, what real neighbors act like toward each other. There was a ton of mugwort over there so I added some to my small perennial bed. She’s always asking me if she doesn’t need to buy fertilizer -- I don’t think she grasps that we are organic and not going to use chemicals that we deem harmful, period. But she’s willing to put up with me anyway which I am grateful for. For a rather sparsely populated mountain holler, we’ve got a pretty diverse group of neighbors who pretty much all have a live and let live attitude.

Husband has been hauling in manure from a nearby horse barn. They are glad to get rid of it and we are glad to get it. I am amazed that such richness is just something they need rid of. The circle garden looks like a patchwork quilt now with different beds covered here in last year’s weed hauls, here in transplants mulched with grass clippings, here in a seedbed mulched with sawdust, here in potatoes piled high with manure. It is a beautiful work of art. And shoveling sh*t out of the truck yesterday was just the thing to loosen that catch just under my shoulder blade for husband playing chiropractor to later pop it very nicely.

April is such a magnificent month, the month the leaves come back. Spring is such a wonderful time in the garden -- all hope and no weeds. And it brings to mind this most hopeful of Scott Nearing quotes: “I have many doubts, many doubts, no certainties, many expectations and a lot of confidence in the possibility during this lifespan of making some sort of contribution to the expansion of our expanding universe. Now, that contribution may only consist of turning this brush into topsoil and adding it to the topsoil here instead of standing this way and watching it wash down the Penobscott River.”

1 comment:

Joe Tornatore said...

this spud's for you.