Me in an alpine meadow, checking out paint brushes. (Photo by Jesse Archer)

Me in an alpine meadow, checking out paint brushes. (Photo by Jesse Archer)

Liam’s Lowdown: Making my garden grow

I have no idea how to grow carrots or look after peas But, I'm trying nonetheless

I went to school for plant biology, but I have no idea how to grow plants.

Instead, I learned how to point out Cornus canadensis, Linnaea borealis and Chimaphila umbellata on hikes through the bush.

Similar to something in a Where’s Waldo book.

I can point out a flower’s pistil, ovule, anther and sepal. I can describe at length what seperates a berry from a drupe or moss from lichen.

Yet, I have no idea how to grow carrots or look after peas.

My university education is no use for anything practical, like producing food.

Since this appears to be the year for gardening, I decided to test out my green thumb. So far, most plants appear to be surviving. Except the basil, which looks like it caught COVID-19.

It’s amazing what grows in Revelstoke.

For example, I have grapes on my shed. Grapes!

Where I grew up, crab apples were exciting.

I’ve even heard of people in Revelstoke growing chickpeas. I wouldn’t even know where to begin.

I’ve never been a planner. So, I just threw seeds into the ground and hoped for the best. Turns out, I should have hoped less or thrown fewer seeds.

Germination was high. My days are spent thining cucumbers and beets.

I also chose plants I thought would be easy, like turnips and rutabagas, as I deemed those to be wartime vegetables and able to survive any public emergency. However, I’m not particularly enthusied by them. No one yearns for turnips and rutabagas.

When Jocelyn isn’t looking at work, I look up rutabaga recipes. The best I’ve found is rutabaga gratin.

Although the spring has been cold, rainy, and the insects have come munching. The garden is growing inch by inch, row by row.

Sometimes while I putter away, trying to determine a swiss chard plant from a dandelion, I sing John Denver’s Garden Song:

“Pulling weeds and picking stones, man is made of dreams and bones

Feel the need to grow my own ’cause the time is close at hand

Grain for grain, sun and rain, find my way in nature’s chain

Tune my body and my brain to the music of the land

Plant your rows straight and long, temper than with prayer and song

Mother Earth will make you strong if you give her love and care

Old crow watching hungrily, from his perch in yonder tree

In my garden I’m as free as that feathered thief up there

Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow

All it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground

Inch by inch, row by row, someone bless these seeds I sow

Someone warm them from below, ’til the rain comes tumbling down”

While my garden is wild and loaded with wartime vegetables, it’s mine. The backyard is full of possibilities and future dinners – hopefully for me and not just the caterpillars.

If you have any good recipes for turnips and rutabages, let me know.

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