The spring harvest yielded wonderful vegetables. There's a view of Sh'mal's
patch in May '08. You can see the collard greens in the center, which are the hardiest veggies in the patch. Just to their right is kale. The garlic chives (three sprouts on the bottom of the photo) make for delicious additions to salads and many recipes. The Daikon radishes are huge. See the lush, soft patch of lamb's quarters near the fence? Lamb's quarters grow like weeds. They are rich in nutrients. Wikipedia
is full of info on Chenopodium album, also known as goosefoot, lamb's quarters, pigweed or dungweed.
Here are a few facts on Lamb's Quarters from Wikipedia. Linnaeus
described the species in 1753.
"The leaves and young shoots may be eaten as a leaf vegetable, either steamed in its entirety, or cooked like spinach, but should be eaten in moderation. Each plant produces tens of thousands of black seeds. These are high in protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. Quinoa is a closely related species which is grown specifically for its seeds.
Archaeologists analysing carbonized plant remains found in storage pits and ovens at iron age and Roman sites in Europe have found its seeds mixed with conventional grains and even inside the stomachs of Danish bog bodies. It remains arguable whether the weed was included in the diet deliberately.
As the common names suggest, it is also used as food (both the leaves and the seeds) for chickens, hens and other poultry. However, the nitrates in the plant can be converted very efficiently to nitrites in the rumen of cattle, leading to changes in haemoglobin and reducing the ruminants' oxygen binding capacity.
The stalk hardens with age. In China, the stalk had been used as a walking stick since ancient times. For example, the following passage comes from Romance of the Three Kingdoms/Chapter 1:
" ... the old man had a youthful countenance, and was carrying a walking stick fashioned from the hardened stalk of a goosefoot (Chenopodium album) plant."
After the harvest, the thriving plants withered in the heat. Certain plants rotted, especially kale. Kale emits an odor you won't soon forget when it rots. Here's a view of Sh'mal's patch after a month of summer the summer heat. The "before weeding" shot!
Here's the "after weeding" shot. Tending your garden gives a sense of completion, especially to people who love closure. You can accomplish a lot in a visit. The sense of accomplishment is so visible once you're done. It just feels good!
A visit to the garden is more than just practical. It's a social event. You never know who will drop by.
According to my friend and Haile Village Bodywork proprietor Carla Van Arnum
, the feeling of enjoyment is a form of ch'i,
or life force. Carla inspired the Zoobird group Mind:::Body:::Spirit
and the discussion Different Forms of Ch'i,
which I hope you'll consider joining.
Ron Chandler and friend Ted dropped by. We admired Ron's Purple peppers. Ron makes some amazing salsas with these peppers. He told me he pureed and froze them.
Ron's amazing peppers, on closer observation.
Ron's Purple peppers convinced us all that art imitates life. There were the colors that inspired the great painters!
Ron's colored peppers. What beautiful plants!
The Sh'mal patch after a couple of evenings work weeding. Combine the exercise, ch'i, and sense of accomplishment and you've got smiles all around! Thanks, again, Sh'mal.