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Smothering the Quack, Digging in Potatoes

FRi-DAY, June 1st, our second official week with LLOOFING at the Market Garden and CSA garden-farm sites!  Warming up with a cup of tulsi tea after four hours in the misty, moist showers.  dripping, dirty wet working along side of Kerry, with Flint coming in for our last hour together.  Been @ Barns Park Garden every day this week building beds, seeding and planting out starts from the DIGs Hobbit Greenhouse. 

Today put in four kinds of peppers: Golden Bells, Thai Hot peppers, and two other HOTs along with a few tomato plants….ALL of them were being nibbled on by what looked like little, tan colored aphids…we carefully and meticulously picked and squished off even the innocent, teeny tiny babies.  transplanted “criminal” cilantro which wanted another year in our market gardens.  All but one of our six plots at this garden site, in real good planting shape, including the inner circle shaped 7-Sisters garden, which now has been planted with 2 sisters—-a ring of sunflowers and a couple kinds of potatoes. This bit of rainy weather is beginning to soak in, at least an inch or so, and all of us garden-farmers have felt grateful for dampened soil as we dig, plant and mulch the beds.

Kerry brought bunches of Black-eyed Susan rhizomes, so we pulled out the Star-thistle that was lining the bottom of the Teepee, planted them all around, poked in Scarlet Runner Beans and Rattlesnake Pole beans, along with Purple Lotus Amaranth and expect to have a wonderful resting place in the middle of this sunny garden.  Wild Plums and Hazelnut planted in the East of the 7-Sisters Garden wheel.

Once Flint arrived we loaded the wheel barrow with the remains of our 150 lbs of potatoes, the fish meal and also a soil drenching solution of an organic fungicide to empower the potato’s sprouts to overcome some of the mold that has gathered on them since they’ve been sliced and patiently awaiting the burial process. 

The taters planted with the Americorp folks are “rising” as in not planted deep enough, so I spent some time going around and tending to their re-tending.  There is also a whole lot of that ornery, Agropyron repens (the latin name sounds ornerier than quack grass) sprouting up, and so wondering what kind of smothering seeds along with buckwheat might help the soil and deter their mighty, claw-like roots.

I’m definitely still learning how to allow my internal knowings that seem to emerge in the presence of and alongside these gardens….and share those tellings and ways.  This is very much a merging of ways I was taught farming as a kid in a rural agriculture area, and now as an adult in permaculture training, using different kinds of “tools”.  A big part is in observing not just talking, which can be tricky to do at the same time.  What I mean is more than looking at the listeners, but asking myself when I watch people “did they get what I was saying?” kind of question… that those taking it in, doing the tasks, understand and can successfully, follow through…..I’m the LLOOFer leader after all.

So much of all of this garden-farming business is about the intimate relating to SO many other than human species, that I sometimes forget the human species all together!  I remember walking away from Flint and the potato-planting Americorp folks, perhaps not wanting to be overbearing, or having faith with minimal guidance they could figure it out. In the end, I was not properly care-taking the potatoes. Neglected taters, aarks!! I’m making a note on my brain board to do check-backs and find language that is clear, and considerate of everyone including the seeds, plants and tubers we are spending time with.

So much mending and tending, along with what to do about rotting and molding (potatoes), and the ever important time-time-time-timing of it all.  “This now”  is the message that comes to me… like at 5 am this morning the first thought was to tuck the taters in with fish meal AND the organic fungicide and to make them one of the “Sisters” rather than planting them in the abundantly sprouting, ornery Agropyron repens space.  Once the planting party began,  with all of us determined to work while getting a good soak, Kerry sang out an opening ditty I hadn’t heard in years…. “one potato, two potato, three potato four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more….” as we plunked them in their soil burrows…