Columns from the Sentinella magazine
January in the Garden
Another year over and we´re back to the beginning again... January. In the garden the cycle is never complete, it carries on, season after season, year after year. There is no beginning and there is no end. Winter follows autumn, spring follows winter. The garlic grows through the winter and we harvest it in spring. We´re accustomed to the repetition, the rhythm. January is a quiet month. It gives us time to rest and to plan and prepare for spring when we know there will be lots to do.
It´s the best month to cut caña or bamboo canes to use as supports for summer tomato and bean crops as the sap is low and the cut canes will be strong. Add compost or manure to any free beds to get them ready for spring planting. Clean out water channels and acequias. Prepare holes to plant new fruit trees next month. Organise your seeds to get ready for planting summer crops at the end of this month. Tidy up your greenhouse or cold frame.
This year the natural cycles will remain the same but socially, we have many changes on the way.
The media would lead us to believe we are all doomed to be slain by the latest variant of the mutating corona virus. At the same time prices of fuel and food are going up, small businesses are struggling to survive and there are disruptions in the food production and transportation chain. For those that choose not to accept an experimental vaccine, their access to restaurants and cafes is being restricted with the introduction of vaccine passports as we stumble towards some kind of medical apartheid.
We are being thrown into times of uncertainty and confusion. We are being coerced into voluntarily accepting experimental vaccines and encouraged to discriminate against those that don´t. We´re being divided in families, friendship groups and neighbourhoods. It has now become socially acceptable to ask people to disclose their personal medical history to gain entry to establishments that serve food. Why has all the talk about data protection suddenly gone quiet? On whose authority do shop assistants, security guards, airline personnel and waiters and waitresses have the right to ask us to disclose our personal information? We are heading into dangerous territory. Those that choose to take responsibility for their own health and decline to take a voluntary, experimental vaccine which, in the words of the companies that manufacture it, neither prevents the spread of a virus nor offers protection against catching it, are facing discrimination and may find it difficult to travel, socialise and even buy food. As the world shrinks because of covid restrictions, we need our gardens now more than ever.
I for one will continue to maintain my right to keep the details of my medical history private and I will continue to take responsibility for my own health by eating a varied diet including as much home grown organic vegetables as I can and by spending time outdoors in the fresh air (gardening), taking regular exercise (gardening), having an active social life (gardening with others) I will continue to participate in the local economy by selling my produce and I will continue to save seeds for future gardens.
I really hope it will be a happy new year. I hope that corona virus will find its equilibrium and we will learn to live with it rather than being overwhelmed by it, just as any pest has its place in the garden. Don´t be scared, be prepared. Grow your own world.