The Native Americans described the seasons and cycles of the earth by the activity that was taking place at each full moon. January was the Wolf Moon. According to the Farmers Almanac, " January was the month that wolves howled hungrily amid the cold and deep snows of winter". June was considered the Strawberry Moon, for the harvest of the berries. And, of course September was the Harvest Moon, the season to harvest the corn.
Secretly, I have my own moon names. January is "bare-root" moon. It's the month that the dormant winter season is coming to an end, and early spring is arriving in the desert. This means it's time to get the bare-root plants in the ground. We have waited all year to add to our backyard orchard. This year we chose an August Pride Peach, an Eva's Pride Peach and a Beauty Plum. We pick varieties that will ripen at different times, which will extend our harvest into early summer. These trees grow unbelievably fast. They start out as a stick and in a few years they give you an abundance of sweet fruit to enjoy!
Another bare-root favorite is the rose. I always make it a point to study which varieties will survive through our Summer heat. Honestly, there are a couple of months that are not easy for any of us. This year, as usual, it was not an easy pick. As I stand face to face with the variety and number of rose bushes it is sometimes overwhelming. All of my research leaves me and I become totally confused. One thing is certain, together, my husband and I have decided that we will never plant another rose that is not a "smeller". That is, a rose with a wonderful fragrance. This year's pick is the beautiful Graham Thomas. The label reads,"This charming, old-fashioned rose has form and fragrance, along with yellow cup shaped continuous blooms". It sounds too good to be true! We have no idea how this new rose will adjust to its new home. I only know, in my minds eye I can see the lovely yellow roses cascading over the corner of the old shed. Yes, we are willing to give it a try!
My husband and I have been gardening for many years, not so much for the food security, but for the beauty, satisfaction, and peace that gardening and growing things bring you. We started small, a couple of tomatoes, a few zucchini, and lots of flowers. It didn't really matter how much we harvested. We really didn't eat from our garden. We didn't know how. The lettuce was always a little bitter . The tomatoes always had holes in them and there was a Safeway just down the street. The important thing was that we were having fun. We loved working together with our children beside us. There is something comforting about watching your kids play in the dirt or happily run down the brick paths with nowhere to go. Our garden was the center of the earth ,we were firmly planted there and that was all that mattered. A couple of years ago, something important started to take place. A shift began to take shape, not only to us , but to our communities. The meaning of food began to change. Where the food came from, what was in it and how it nourishes us. Perhaps the connection between what we eat and how we feel finally began to set in. For us, it was time to get serious. It was time to eat from our garden.
" I am a mad gardener. I mutter and rant, and at night I shake dry seeds out of my unruly mane of hair. The garden is in my bones, in my gut, and in my hands. "
Wendy Johnson , Gardening at the Dragons Gate
Inch by inch, row by row Gonna make this garden grow Gonna mulch it deep and low Gonna make it furtile ground
Inch by inch, row by row Please bless these seeds I sow Please keep them safe below 'Till the rain comes tumbling down
Pullin' weeds and pickin' stones We are made of dreams and bones Need a place to call 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 Season them with prayer and song Mother Earth will make you strong If you give her love and care An old crow watches hungrily from his perch on younder tree In my garden I'm as free as that feathered bird up there