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    Have you ever run across Chris Maser's "The World Is In My Garden"? It's a great exploration of the garden as a microcosmic representation of the world at large. You might enjoy it, based on your post.
    2008-02-05 09:00:33 Posted by roguewriter ()

    No, I hadn't. Thanks. I am posting this great review excerpted from The World Is In My Garden: A Journey Of Consciousness by Chris Maser, Zane Maser. Copyright © 2005. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

    So it is that while working in my garden, I can, for a while, be untouched by the various wars (both those of ideology and those of physical weapons) that are raging in the outer world, or by the disease and hunger that ravage this country or that, or by the corporate greed that is destroying whole ecosystems and cultures, both at home and abroad. It is not that I don’t care about what goes on in the outer world, but rather that my garden is at once the field of battle in which I struggle within myself to grow, an isle of solitude in a sea of worldly strife, and an entrance into a realm of reality beyond the material, much like the rabbit’s burrow leading to Alice’s Wonderland. It is here, in my garden, that I personalize my perception of the world in a scale with which I can cope and to some degree affect. Here, as the French painter Ingres says of art, ‘one arrives at an honorable result only through one’s tears.’ Thus, in some small way, I can affect the world at the scale of my garden by consciously learning to understand and work with those physical, biological, and spiritual principles that govern the intrinsic wholeness of Nature’and myself as a quintessential part thereof. As such, it is spiritual succor that I find in my garden when the burdens of the outer world grow too heavy for my shoulders. It is here that I kneel before the Eternal Mystery and find peace in turning the soil and in weeding. And it is while weeding that my inner vision shifts, and I often see my garden not as an infinitesimal place in the world, but rather the world as an infinitesimal part of my garden. I say this because if my garden were encircled by a high stone wall in which there were four gates, one for each cardinal direction, I would name each gate by the element it brings to the inner unity of the circle wherein lies my garden. One gate would be named ‘Ecological Consciousness’ in honor of the awe inspired by Nature, another ‘Social Consciousness’ to commemorate the human struggle for just governance, the third ‘Personal Consciousness’ to highlight the courage it takes to change and grow, and the fourth gate would be named ‘Spiritual Consciousness’ to connote the unity of all things found within the garden, which is a reflection of the same unity found without.

    Keep an eye out for our new book "Growing with the Seasons" which is going to be published this summer by Sunstone Press in Santa Fe, NM
    2008-02-05 10:19:44 Posted by giannangelo ()

    nice info....with your blog..
    keep it up..
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    When we finished sifting the compost near our old garden, we decided to go in and look around, not expecting to find anything other than weeds, since we had allowed it to become fallow and return to its previous natural state. To our surprise, around the edges there were tulips coming up. We dug them up and heeled them into the sifted compost. In the middle of the garden, we found daffodils and a few groups of grape hyacinth, which we also dug up and transferred to the compost for the ride home.

    Taking one more walk around, we saw the heads of asparagus poking up through the dirt and one spear that had arrived too early in the season and had frozen. Upon closer inspection, we found more coming up. By prodding with the shovel, we were able to find their main root balls that now were around six or seven years old.

    Asparagus reaches its prime after 6-8 years and can remain a good producing plant for about 15 years. It is a member of the lily family. Its name is from the Greek, meaning “sprout” or “shoot.” Cultivation around the Mediterranean had been going on for thousands of years, but it was first domesticated by the Macedonians around 200 B.C. Asparagus is used not only as a food, but also as a medicine.

    It contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in sodium. It is a nutrient-dense food that is high in folic acid, calcium, potassium, fiber, vitamins B6, A, C, E, and Thiamin. Chinese herbalists use asparagus roots to help reduce inflammation by the compounds called steroidal glycosides.

    We brought the plants home and dug a deep trench, added gypsum and bone meal, and watered it well. Then we planted the crowns about 6 inches below the top of the soil. The bone meal provided phosphorus to help reduce transplant shock.

    The Dutch and English brought asparagus to this continent in the 1700’s. These original plantings are unimproved, non-hybrids called “Washington Varieties,” named after Waltham and Mary Martha Washington. Today the hybrids used commercially and in home gardens are divided between those for the northern climates, (the Jersey varieties available through most garden catalogues) and a variety called UC 157 used in the Southwest, California, and Mexico.

    Asparagus is in the garlic and onion family, and is therefore susceptible to Fusarium root rot that exists in all soils at some level. A low pH is more conducive to the growth and spread of Fusarium fungi, so raising your pH up to at least 7.0 is a good idea. For nutrients other than phosphorus, one should use the results of a soil test to provide a complete and balanced NPK.

    Last night we picked ten “whips” or the smaller diameter spears. They are a little tougher than the larger spears because most of the fiber is in the skin, so the larger the spear, the less the fiber. We ate them raw, although we also enjoy them steamed with butter or a dip. Since it only takes a few minutes to steam or stir- fry asparagus, the Roman Emperor Augustus coined the phrase “velocius quam aspargi coquantur”, or “faster than you can cook asparagus.”

    One of the more unusual features of asparagus is the smell of one’s urine shortly after eating it. There are disputes as to the exact compound, but it is known to be formed as a “derivative during the digestion and subsequent breakdown of beneficial amino acids that occur naturally in asparagus.” (Merck Index, pg. 271.)

    We look forward to harvesting throughout the season, lasting until late June or early July, at which time we will allow the last spears to grow into ferns. The fern is a factory that supplies the energy to the crown and storage roots for the next year’s crops.

    These early spears of spring reified our winter garden images, as did the transplants that we carefully spaced in the newly planted Greenzbox™, visualizing their size in comparison to each other when fully grown.

    This turn of the season awakened us suddenly from a mental garden to an edible epiphany. Our own winter ferning has resupplied us with the energy, to bring about once again, the renewing affirmation of the garden and the eternal fact that we are growing.

    2008-08-23 15:49:51 Posted by giannangelo ()

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