Countless lives have been touched and nourished by these beauties.
The seeds spoke to me, as I enjoyed creating this seed mandala. I used this act as a prayer offering upon my altar for the safe journey of my family, as Gordon and the children travelled south into the desert for a camping adventure. The dissolution of the mandala will bring these prayers and love back into the seed jars, so when they have a chance to be planted, by my hands or yours, they will flourish and grow with this sweet love imbibed into them.
Sometimes we follow the prayers of the old ones, and sometimes we feel called and inspired to create new traditions. Thankfully the family has returned safe and renewed from their time upon a sacred mountain in New Mexico. All is alive and well here on the farm!
This week, we have seen much expansion and growth, as well as the flowers continuing to bring forth their beauty. It has been an extended heat wave here, and even though we humans swelter, the plants seem to thrive and expand exponentially each day. The corn is beginning to tassel, the beans have tiny pods, and the tomatoes are beginning to ripen. In just a few short weeks, we will have an explosion of color and flavor that will grace the kitchen table.
I have a new love affair with a plant this season, the cardoon. I was gifted a plant by a good friend several years ago, and that mother cardoon has since self-sown many generations of babies all over my perennial garden. Cardoon is in the Asteraceae family, and is a close relative of the artichoke. While we haven’t gotten much into the food preparation of the cardoon stems, I find that it is an invaluable insectary plant that provide abundant pollen and nectar for our native bumblebees as as the honeybees.
Here is the bud before opening:
And here it is once the flowers have opened! The bees seem nearly drunk with nectar, and they work the flowers most frequently in the early dawn and evening.
It is a beautiful sight to see and hear them in the gardens, offering up pollination services in exchange for nourishing golden sundust and nectar! Here is my favorite pollination poem in honor of these lovely winged creatures:
If my job were pollination,
I’d punch in early.
If my job were to walk
on soft petals and bump
the stamen of its fine gold
flour, if my job were to fly
in midday on my own wings
and leave a trail of sundust,
if this were my job,
I’d take no money, I’d give my time.
If this were my job I’d come home
to the honeycomb singing.
– Carl Adamshick, Work Dream (1999)
Here is the first ripe tomato of the season! It was a cherry type called Sungold OP, which is a de-hybridized version of the hybrid standby called Sungold.
I received these seeds from an amateur plant breeder in Europe who had patiently selected the right types of fruits over 8-10 generations to make a tasty sweet orange cherry that would be true-to-type when seeds were saved. We trialed 6 different types of “Sungold” alternatives, and in the blind taste testings that we did, this one came out on top. Gratefully we are growing it for seed. Seed will be limited the first year, as I originally only received 15 seeds, and was only able to plant 10 plants.
While hybrids have their niche in the farm-scape, I truly love the open-pollinated varieties. They allow us our seed sovereignty, and are essential for this special relationship between human and plant to continue to evolve. When selected with good observation and care, open-pollinated varieties can perform just as well, if not better than the hybrid alternatives. We just need to re-integrate that form of seed stewardship back into the farms and gardens.
If you are feeling called to re-awaken that interest of seed stewardship back into your life, I invite you to join us at Seed School. This week-long immersion in all things seeds will envelope you into the ancient practices of seed-saving. All of us are only one or two generations removed from having this act of seed keeping as a part of our survival. So as we step back into learning these skills, it is a healing journey for many of us. Re-empowering ourselves to step back into these fundamental cycles is one way to reconnect to Source, and to feel a deeper relationship with our food. I hope to connect with you in one of these circles. I will be there with my heart wide open, willing to share with you about my greatest passion. Our next session is in Tucson in September, but we have some other sessions planned for Massachusetts, California and hopefully other areas of the country.
Next week I will share about our fall planting schedules and about our Ashwaghanda medicinal plants. As for now, I will leave you will a couple of pictures from the farm.
Ashwaghanda, Tulsi, and Peppers, with leek flowers at the end of the hoop.
Many abundant green blessings to you from our family to yours.