And So It Grows

Yesterday, it was time. And once you start harvesting the garlic, it’s hard to stop. You grab each one by the neck and give a little yank and never tire of oohing and aahing at the size and miracle of it all.  My younger daughter got the honors, and it was fun, especially considering I was supposed to be gone a week already and I know this unexpected pandemic time with her is limited and precious.

The funny part? I didn’t plant them. I skipped planting when it was time back in November to tuck each clove into the soil, pointy end up, as the first action I took to eliminate the edible landscape that surrounds my house in preparation for leaving for Peace Corps Uganda (which would have been last week).

But then COVID-19 happened. And as usual ever since 9/11, every time I hear bad news I plant — and hence, the wild and crazy results from this historic year-on-steroids necessitate I be out there with my machete yet again. But the garlic must have grown from forgotten and lost bits of the previous year’s crop. Perhaps I have as well.

It’s the last of the lettuces and peas right now. There’s kale and potatoes and a dozen types of herbs, and the first of the tomatoes and squashes. The peppers are flowering. The beans have started their climb. The Jerusalem artichokes are already taller than me, and malibar spinach is vining everywhere.

The hairy vetch and flowering buckwheat and the first of the summer wildflowers are doing their best to keep the bees alive*, and hope once again springs eternal for an abundance of pollinator-dependent crops to come.

There are three teepee trellises in the side garden, and the Sharing Garden by the curb is bigger and more diverse than ever, both in what’s planted there and who I meet as a result. (I live in the most ethnically and racially diverse single-family-home neighborhood in my city, and I’ve met more neighbors in the past three months than I’ve met in 25 years as people take their multiple shelter-in-place walks each day.)

The word jungle has been muttered more than once in reference to the backyard, where the fig tree I cut down has grown again. Blueberries and blackberries abound. Sorghum, that heritage grain I love so much for so many reasons, stands tall and proud already. The chia and okra and watermelons and sweet potatoes are starting to rise to the occasion of the mounting heat. And that pomegranate tree that has never had fruit because it’s in a spot not right for it (like me, I thought) has fruit this year.

And so it goes. And so it grows.

* over the past five years, I’ve experienced up to a 98% elimination of pollinators, seemingly coinciding with when my neighbors start spraying for mosquitoes

Here’s how to plant garlic.


If interested, here is my Amazon author page. I also blog at Traveling at the Speed of Bike.





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