Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Too Many Books?

Here's a funny story that happened to me
the other day, with a potential lesson (or two)
for us all to think about...check it out.

In the town in Minnesota that I'm from,
there is a massive backyard garden that has
been tended to for over 50 years as the rest of
the town developed around it.

The gardener is a hard old man, but truly friendly.

I was ASTONISHED by the amount of growth in the patch,
so I had to get closer for a more detailed look.
Luckily, the owner was in there, doing his thing.
I had to express my amazement.

"Really nice garden, sir! Excellent looking!"

He got up and started talking with me.
Caveat to all reading this:
If you ask an old person about their garden,
BE PREPARED to stick it out. They will talk
and never stop. Haha...they must love it when young
people show an interest in what they are up to.

I asked him about compost, and he said that its a JOKE.
Get this, he said that by putting old plant matter back
into the soil, we are risking the chance of spreading any
potential diseases into the soil, forever screwing ourselves.
He was pretty adamant about this.
He asked me; "Where did you hear about composting?"
I said; 'from EVERYONE"

and the classic response...

"You read too many books boy."

Possibly. But Im still pretty sure composting is what works.

Check out the story of Scott and Helen Nearing for some
real HERE for their classic on

What does he do? He has about 1 TON of sheep manure
shipped in from a nearby farm every 2-3 years.
That is great, and his plants were ridiculously large,
but what if everything shut down and he could no longer
have access to that manure? Then what?

All these old-schoolers have so much manure in their
gardens...that the idea of composting never had to cross their
mind. They would give veggie scraps to the pigs or chickens.
We, as the neo-gardeners of the 21st century have been
exposed to much more information than they, but
they have the hands-on experience. What is best?
Something to think about.

He also said that he doesnt grow vegetables like
broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and kale because they
attract these white butterflies that he absolutely cant stand.
Its true though, I saw one of those butterflies in my garden
yesterday, and those vegetables are the ones that always
get chewed on. Guaranteed usually. I really
think that they come in the night for a all-u-can-eat buffet.

He was really cool though, and Id love to spend more time there.
One last lesson...
I told him that I had to go because I was headed to a friend's home
to visit for a while. He then asked me how many friends I have.
I replied - "What?"

Indeed...he said usually it will be less than you can count on one hand.
He asked me, "Who can you call in the middle of the night
if shit hits the fan? many friends can you call?

"Most people have 3 or 4 friends,
and the rest are just acquaintances."

So...lesson for the day?
Find those 3 or 4 and let them know how
awesome it is to have them in your life.
Make them a raw snack and share it on a nice summer day.
Couldn't hurt, right???

Im now on the hunt for organic sheep manure.
You should have seen those cucumber vines. 7 ft tall!!!

Im happy if I get 3ft!

And too many books? NEVER!
You can never read enough!
How very little I would know if I didn't get into books.