Friday, May 26, 2006

growing hope

Gardening is a tangible way to grow hope.

“Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have fashioned a secret garden… ‘They have had to take the seeds from their meals and then scratch at the soil in order to get that going.’ said Mr. Willett, who first wrote about the garden in The Washington Post”

“Using water to soften soil baked hard by the Caribbean sun and then scratching away with plastic spoons, a handful of prisoners have reportedly produced sufficient earth to grow watermelon, peppers, garlic, cantaloupe and even a tiny lemon plant, no more than two inches high.”

Read the full story here.

Also I wanted to share my happiness with this year’s garlic harvest. This is what’s left of last year’s garlic.

I used cloves of it to grow this year’s garlic.

These pictures might not accurately display the fact that this year's the garlic cloves are almost twice as big. I can think of three reasons for the obvious increase in my yields.

First, I have been adding organic material to the soil in my beds for the past 4 years. I’ve been using cover crops, mulching with leaves and adding compost regularly. Each year there are more nutrients available to the plants and the soil is able to retain more moisture. Second, I grew this latest garlic all winter under old windows serving as cold frames. This surely increased the growing season and helped to give my garlic more time to grow larger cloves. Lastly I used urine as an organic nitrogen fertilizer to get things started in the fall. Other standard practices for my yearly garlic planting include spacing individual cloves about 12 inches apart in mid autumn and planting them about 1 and a half inches into the ground. Often I have some cloves from the previous year already sprouting in my pantry so I use those. The garlic sends up shouts and grows actively until it gets cold. The plants growth seems to slow down only to speed back up as spring arrives. As it gets hot the tops of the garlic wilt and die back to the ground. This signals that they are ready to harvest. There’s nothing like fresh garlic.

Let me take this opportunity to say that I have been reexamining my life’s effort and have decided to take advantage of an opportunity to reach more people with my thoughts and ideas on what I believe is a coming culture shift. I think a peak in the production of certain types of fossil fuels will require a shift in the way we live our lives. The good new is that I think this shift could heal much of the anxious, lonely aggression that seems so prevalent in our nation. The bad news is that it will probably be a painful process for many. There will be those that feel it coming and adjust in preparation and there will be those that will resist change long after it has obviously arrived. I hope to educate some of the latter but the bulk of my effort will be on helping those of the former adjust so that they might survive, even thrive in the post peak petroleum era. This is a cryptic way of saying that there’s change in the wind. I will be using the internet to help in this effort in a different way in the near future. Please stay tuned.

1 comment:

elendil said...

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and a few other NGOs, have designated June Torture Awareness Month. I've created a blogroll you can join if you're interested. You can find it here. The idea is that everyone is linked to from the blogroll, and in exchange, you discuss torture (as you already do), and link to the Torture Awareness site to help support the NGOs.

There's a lot of bloggers concerned about human rights abuse in the War on Terror. If we coordinate, we can show our support and help Amnesty and HRW make Torture Awareness Month a success.