gabriola garden

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cucurbits, Organic Nutrients, and Renewal

I’ve always avoided apocalyptic movies and books. The thought of Mel Gibson dressed in futuristic biker garb battling Neanderthals leaves me cold. It’s been years since he made that movie, and now he’s arrested for drunk driving, muttering supposedly racist remarks.

But I digress. Once again, apocalyptic visions are making the rounds of the Internet. A lot of it refers back to an article by Geoffrey Lean in the Independent, a UK publication. “A disaster to take everyone’s breath away,” is a compelling look at how the Amazon rainforest is drying up (at a mile a minute, it seems) and that one more year of drought will cause irreversible damage to the so-called “Lungs of the World.”

I have a great deal of respect for David Suzuki and the other environmental scientists who are ringing the warning bell, but somehow their message seems muted on a cool summer morning, when I take my Golden Retriever for a walk and observe the miracle of nature all around me. If there is one lesson that nature can teach us, it’s that of renewal.

Nature has been trying to teach us this lesson since time immemorial. Some say that what today is the Sahara desert used to be a lush forest at one time. Others swear that where today deep water covers the Earth, there used to be a thriving civilization called Atlantis.

Each plant, each bush and tree, sprouts new shoots in the Spring, to underscore this message of renewal. All we have to have is eyes to see and hearts to feel how Gaia, the magic Earth Mother, renews herself each year. Yet we would rather spend our hours tuned into an electronic reality, rather than enjoying the “garden” all around us.

Speaking of gardens, my tomato plants have taken off like gangbusters, and clusters of fruit are maturing very fast. They’re getting bigger and bigger. I look forward to that first homegrown tomato salad! (Just slice several large tomatoes, using a sharp knife, then slice a white onion, sprinkle with oil and vinegar, and presto—tomato salad. Season to taste!)

Another favorite of mine is cucumber salad. My dear mother (God rest her soul) showed me the fine points of making a succulent Cucumber Salad with sour cream, Hungarian style. You must slice the cucumbers very thin and soak them in salted water, then press them between your fingers to squeeze the water out and of course, drain the water from the bowl. Add a sprinkle of vinegar and dollops of sour cream, salt and pepper to taste—or dust with Paprika, and voila, “salade de concombre avec de la crème aigre.”

All of my cucurbits are progressing nicely. As you know, I feed them with 100% organic plant food, by the name of Iguana Juice, Grow and Bloom. Advanced Nutrients takes good care of my vegetables and Sara's flowers with 100% organic nutrients. My zucchinis are not quite prize-winning size yet, but they’re getting there. I also have a few squash (which Sara likes to roast, like potatoes, with lots of butter) and a pumpkin or two for the kids.

Although—how does the cliché go? The pumpkin is always sweeter (ha, ha)! Come Halloween, they prefer to go pumpkin hunting themselves on a big pumpkin farm. I can’t compete with that!

posted by Tim at 10:32 PM


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