The horse's pasture to the East...

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


The landscape is slowly waking up. Forsythia is blooming and the fields have a delicate pale green cast to them. Time to garden! 

Definition of garden

1a :  a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivatedb :  a rich well-cultivated regionc :  a container (as a window box) planted with usually a variety of small plants

If you look at the definition of the word garden, from the Merriam Webster Dictionary, you can see that a garden is all inclusive of whatever you are growing in the ground or a container, inside or outside. So anyone can grow something anywhere and call themselves gardeners. 

There's a movement afoot to make gardening available to everyone without the interference of corporate entities. I'm going to be attaching some of the videos about these groups to this article because I truly think that growing your own food and herbs is the best form of revolution there is. It's peaceful, beautiful, enlightening and satisfying. If you don't have a place to put your hands in to the soil, then create a place to grow within the environment you live in. When you grow your own food, you take back your independence. YOU control the food that goes in to your body and you give back to the Earth, even when growing hydroponically in recycled bottles in a tiny apartment. There are now communities online with thousands of members who are crowd sourcing, sharing their ideas about how to lessen the carbon footprint while recycling containers and growing their own organic food. 

Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress. Lack of serotonin has been linked to depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar problems. The bacterium appears to be a natural antidepressant in soil and has no adverse health effects. These antidepressant microbes in soil may be as easy to use as just playing in the dirt.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Antidepressant Microbes In Soil: How Dirt Makes You Happy ( from an article by Bonnie L. Grant )

I've been a gardener for sixty years. Yikes! Big number, isn't it? My Grandpa started me off on the quest for mud between my toes and dirt under my fingernails when I was "knee high to a grasshopper". That was his phrase. He would laugh at how earnest I was about making straight rows and doing exactly what he was doing with the soil. He didn't have a voice so he would point at his knee, catch a grasshopper, point at it's joints and at me. We had our own language, my Grandpa and I. I'd smile and back we would go to our planting, weeding, loosening of the soil, and watering with my own little watering can he'd found for me in the back of the barn. 

There was no internet when I was a young woman. But there were seeds, hand tools and spades, soil and pots. I grew something every place that we lived, including the tiny studio apartment in Berlin, Germany. There was a window with a ledge and flower pots were cheap and plentiful. I grew lettuce and spinach, cherry tomatoes and flowers in that window. In the process I made friends with my German neighbors who I would wave at everyday while watering my tiny, urban garden. It wasn't long before the barriers of language were broken when we shared our bounty back and forth ; flowers for herbs, herbs for lettuce, tomatoes for seeds. I can't remember their names but I can still see their faces, the smiles, when we compared our window gardens. 

I hope you're taking the time to watch these short videos as you go through this article. Each of them has a theme that CONNECTS together. This one is about the CONNECTION we have with the Earth and the fact that most of us have lost that CONNECTION. We need to find our way back to the garden, to the Earth and all of the lovely, natural gifts she offers. 
I've added the videos to inspire you. Now all you have to do is decide how you're going to use the ideas here. To help you get started I'm going to add some information about my favorite places to order seeds. Tools you can find at any big box type store. Better yet, go to garage sales and estate sales. Some of the tools being sold there for pennies on the dollar have history and are made better than the new tools. One of our favorite family jokes is about the "Cheap Hoe" I've used in my gardens for more than thirty years. I bought it at a garage sale for fifty cents and it's still going strong. But that's another story...

EdenBrothers.Com - Eden Brothers Seed Co‎ 633-6336

I've been shopping with Eden Brothers for more than twenty years. I especially 
love their wild flower mixes. You can buy them in bulk for excellent prices. Their
website is very easy to shop from, service is excellent and the germination rate
for everything I've bought has been way above average. They sell vegetables, herbs,
almost anything you're looking for. I would give them a five out of five stars.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: Rare Heirloom Seeds
Buy Heirloom Garden Seeds online. Over 1800 varieties of Vegetables, Rare Flowers & Herbs. 100% Non-GMO open pollinated seeds. 

If you're like me, you love seed catalogs. There's nothing like having the actual, printed on paper catalog in front of you for dreaming and planning out your garden. Baker Creek is an excellent source of heirloom seeds from all over the world, all of them carefully sourced and organic. The catalog is a work of art loaded with information and ideas about how to get started with your own garden. Better yet, this catalog is FREE. If you love to make vision boards or to sit up at night with catalogs next to you while you plan out your garden, order your catalog from Baker Creek. (I save mine from year to year!) This company is another five out of five stars for me.

Organic Non-GMO Vegetable Seed - -For growers and gardeners‎
Excellent Quality. Over 700 Organic Varieties. Free Shipping. Free Catalog.
(802) 472-6174

I found High Mowing at a Mother Earth Fair a few years back. I bought some of
their seed packs, listened to a presentation, looked at some of the tools they 
offered and I was hooked! The seeds we planted that year had an excellent 
germination rates and very high yields. This is another five stars out of five stars
for me. And did I forget to mention the FREE catalog?! Another one to add to 
your stock pile.

Dutch Gardens Catalog - Search & Find Quick Results.‎ delivers the best results from across the web.
Learn More · Quick & Easy Answers · Find Relevant Information · Search & Find Now

I've ordered my bulbs from Dutch Gardens for years. They have excellent bulk prices and a wide variety of bulbs and seeds. I would give them four out of five stars but only because I'm not as sure of their sourcing for organic products. If you love flowers grown from bulbs I would highly suggest them as your go to source. 

Start your own revolution. Use this as a way to RESIST. Find your way back to the gardens, fresh food you've grown and the magic of watching the first tiny sprouts come up. Share with your neighbors, CONNECT to the Earth and find your way home. There's nothing like plunging your hands in to the dirt or, even better, rebuilding the soil for centering yourself and regaining control of your life.
Do the best that you can with what you have wherever you are. Be a "soldier" of the Garden and bring green in to your life. 
This was written for the memory of my Grandad and his love of the Earth. Thank you for the gift of a lifetime Grandpa. I love you!
I am, ever yours, Nancy, smiling with green stuff between my teeth and mud between my toes. 

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