Friday, April 17, 2009

In my off time...

When I am not thinking of art, making art or beating myself up for not making more art...I grow food.
I have had a garden, in a community garden for many years now. When we lived in Santa Barbara we lived in an apartment with no yard, and now we live in a townhouse with no earth as well...I wanted to learn how to grow my own food, so I spent hours reading every organic gardening book I could find.
When I found that a friend was having a baby and I wanted her little one to eat strawberries from my garden, so I set to it!!
I had a beautiful HUGE garden plot at the Pilgrim Terrace community garden in Santa Barbara:
I had 8 varieties of tomatoes, hops for beer brewing, lettuces, carrots, peas, squash, was my personal Eden.

It took a mere month of missing my garden when we moved to Ventura, when I starting looking for a new garden plot and found Jordan Community Garden. I was put on a waiting list and after about 4 months I had my phone interview about organic techniques and practices and I was in! The plot is smaller then the one I had in SB but I have mine planted pretty thickly. I discovered after two years of tomato disappointment, that there is a virus in the soil that kills tomato plants. So summer is a mixed bag....I try still (I am a glutton for punishment) to grow a tomato plant, but understand that my harvests will be small at best.

I planted new kinds of food this winter, turnips and parsnips and two varieties of carrots and a myriad of potatoes.
Yesterday, I harvested my turnips for a farmers market at my nieces school. I turned over 13 pounds of turnips for the sale! They were so beautiful, the colors so saturated and the turnips were huge! Some the size of a Jicama.

I find that my garden creates a sense of calm for me, when I feel stressed or sad, I simply head to the garden and after a moment or two all is reset in my mind!
I get a great sense of pride and joy from growing food for our home, and friends!

I use to take pictures of myself in the garden for my grandmother to see; it was a common ground for us and made for easy conversations during difficult times in her dementia development. I would send weekly pictures and calls when I harvested food or saw something new starting to grow. She and I would talk about food and that often lead into her telling he how to cook something or what she remembered eating at some point or another.

My grandmother died this last December, I still catch myself taking snapshots for her, but am slowly realizing that I am taking pictures of harvests to record for myself or for future memories to have with my niece or nephews.

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