This article was originally posted on the public blog on July 4, 2012.
The Garden Patch
Organic vegetable gardens are ideally planted in idyllic natural settings surrounded by trees, flowers, and perhaps a babbling brook.
But if you haven’t noticed, we’re working with far from the ideal here, people.
Tip #1: If the only available spot for your organic vegetable garden is, in actuality, down a prairie trail within sight of a pump jack and open oil flare, amuse yourself with the irony of the situation. Keep your fingers crossed that you and your veggies are out of range of the toxic byproducts. If you are not out of range of said byproducts, revel in the intense survival drives of both the Plutonic punk garden and Plutonic punk gardener.
Pump jack and oil flare
Tip #2: The concern may cross your mind that chemical spray drift from neighbouring fields could find its way onto your organic produce, but again, a make-do situation on Planet Earth is a make-do situation on Planet Earth. Try to suck it up. Under the intensity of these times on Planet Earth, there’s really no pretending. We're doing the best we can, and the planting of an organic vegetable garden under such conditions is a true attempt at survival between the cracks.
Tip #3: Most gardeners will use a motorized garden tiller specially designed to work the soil of their garden spot in preparation for planting. If you don’t have access to such a machine, a disker hooked to a full-size tractor will work in a pinch. If you know or are related to a farmer or rancher who can assist on this front, you're in business.
Tip #4: If you find you don’t have a hoe because you left it at an aborted strawberry picking job years ago, just dig your row with the edge of a spade.
Tip #5: Usually, gardeners will use a string tied to two stakes stuck in the ground to ensure their rows are made in straight lines. If you are a DIY freestyle variety of gardener, though, and don’t have string or stakes or really even the inclination to use them, you can dispose of this step as a finicky aesthetic quibble.
Tip #6: If you find you have a surplus of seeds after you’ve planted your row, just add a bit of length to the end with the trusty spade. This will obviously create rows of differing lengths, but diversity makes the world go round, right?
Tip #7: If your garden stubbornly refuses to come up, resulting in a (premature) declaration of its failure by those who observe it, comfort yourself with the Plutonic principle that spontaneous, against-all-odds growth is not only possible but probable. This is a Plutonic punk DIY freestyle garden, after all. There’s no counting it out early. The phoenix shall rise.
Tip #8: Due to multiple factors, you may find that not all your garden comes up. In fact, only two of your ten potato plants may come up due to the use of regular, rather than seed potatoes. Again, as a DIY freestyle gardener, accept that improvisation sometimes comes with drawbacks. As a true Plutonic punk gardener, however, immediately shed concern about or attachment to the dead zones, focusing only on what has survived. Applaud the survival of the plants that have showed themselves, growing under these inhospitable planetary conditions. Love and tend to the plants that have courageously burst forth, and think of the meals you will enjoy.
Tip #9: People will generally maintain a weed-free garden patch, but when your garden has been disked with a full-size disker and tractor, you are going to end up with a lot more ground than you need. Keeping weeds at bay will mean removing them from your rows and from the surrounding area, but leaving a perimeter of weeds to do their thing. The weed patch will, of course, be much more green, full, and lush than anything you planted, but just ignore this taunting from the natural world.
Raggedy-ass DIY freestyle garden
It’s true that these crooked, raggedy-ass rows of arbitrary length and spotty growth would scandalize the old folks. They would continue to scandalize anyone with more usual ideas about gardening. Luckily, this garden spot is out in the country, down a prairie trail no one uses, hidden by a jungle-like patch of weeds around its perimeter and will escape most notice and critique.
Hidden down a prairie trail
Under the attempted corporate, agribusiness monopoly by genetically modified and chemically-treated seeds and food, growing and eating organic or non-GMO is a revolutionary act.
If you do not have the space, the time, or the inclination to do your own DIY freestyle gardening, please visit your local farmers market or contact your local Hutterite colony and load up for the year.
Many vegetables can be quickly blanched and frozen and will keep all year round. Having local garden produce at your disposal through the winter months is a wonderful thing.
Ceres in Gemini: Information and Disinformation about Genetically Modified Seeds
Dwarf planet Ceres (grains, cereals, and the fertility of the Earth) entered Gemini (media) June 24 where it will stay until September 26. It will retrograde back into Gemini December 4 until April 25, 2013.
Issues related to food and agriculture are going to be talked about, thought about, and covered in the media during this time, and there will be ongoing releases of information designed to sway public perspective.
Soon after the ingress, I heard a “news story” on a local radio station involving an interview with a shill for the genetically modified seed industry. This individual was talking up the benefits of genetically modified alfalfa, using the standard argument that we need to move to GM seeds in order to produce more food for a growing global population.
In actuality, genetically modified seeds have not proven to produce much higher yields at all. This is just one of the common faulty arguments used to promote insanely dangerous, untested, and unproven genetically modified seeds.
The push for the widespread introduction of genetically modified alfalfa is on, with multiple GM corporations trying to get in on the game, but the introduction of GM alfalfa would be devastating for the organics industry and for all non-GMO crops and livestock.
In Canada, a proposed moratorium on the sale and planting of genetically modified alfalfa was blocked in March, 2011 by the Harper Conservatives. The pro-GMO Conservatives now have a majority in Canadian Parliament, and allowing the widespread sale and growth of genetically modified seeds in this country is on the agenda.
With Ceres in Gemini for the next while, the organized and monied media push for the widespread use and acceptance of genetically modified seeds/foods will be heating up. Pro-GMO propaganda will be flying fast and furious, and the opposition to GM seeds and foods needs to match it step-by-step.
Please vocally oppose genetically modified alfalfa and all genetically modified seeds and crops, and support a moratorium on their sale and planting. Talk about the issues, and keep them on the public radar screen when you can. Support and buy food from local, non-GMO farmers whenever possible.
For more Willow's Web background on GM alfalfa: