Hey, guess what. The okra is blooming again!
Honestly, I never intended to eat it. I always wanted it for the flowers.
Growing stuff is a joy. It’s like vibrant art that changes kind of by itself, and some of it is delicious. It’s beautiful and nourishes my soul, to see every day by our front door these plants that sprout, grow, bloom, die, change, fruit, die back, return.
It’s a part of nature, doing its plant things, appealing to the aspect of me that needs to be connected to the earth and my source.
Also, Ming loved those mantises that were living there. I saw a new packet of mantis eggs, attached to the screen door, which surprised me. I hope they hatch.
Yesterday I ate some tree collard leaves in my macaroni salad. I didn’t feel like heating frozen peas. Ming picked four tree collard leaves for me, which I washed, ripped into little pieces, and mixed into my meal.
Yum yum. You know, that’s not a ton of nutrition. But the pungent flavor was just right. I thank God for these nutrients, and that Ming and I grow that plant together. It’s a tiny step in the direction I want to move–doing more for ourselves, relying less on stores, less pesticides, less capitalism. More freedom, more collaboration. Something we both believe in and want together.
Ming says some plants, they like bits taken off, as if they were being grazed on by wild animals–it makes them healthier. I don’t really know how plants work, that have been bred for food, but sounds good to me.
When Ming and our friend W moved the tree collard to a bigger pot, a couple weeks ago, some parts broke off, and Ming stuck them into soil to try to propagate them. We’ll see if they live.
I like the element of wildness, unpredictability. I like how we try to create conditions, and the plants cooperate or not. The effort, thought, feeling, chance. Experience, memory, hope all coming together. And a friendly openness to whatever happens. It feels like a healthy practice–making effort, but letting it do its thing.
We got a surprise tomato plant a few months ago. Ming said he doesn’t like to call them volunteers, because volunteers don’t show up by accident–they plan to come and help. I said maybe Ming is romanticizing volunteers–they can be unpredictable.
We had a laugh. We know about good intentions–sometimes I see that few people have their values and behavior on the same page.
I think we decided to call them surprise sprouts or bonus buds or something–I’m laughing now at our affinity for alliteration.
Thank you to Ming for watering and other kinds of trying, to H for keeping them alive while we were away in the summer, to W for helping repot the tree collard. Love to all the gardeners, permaculturists, farmers, field workers, packers, seed savers, botanists of the world. Thanks for the food.