I was recently profiled in Ascent Magazine’s sustainability issue. This article is the result of one of the best interviews/conversations I have ever had the pleasure of taking part in. I kind of wish we could read the interview although I’d imagine it would be a hard one to follow given how much I hemmed and hawed over language.
Ascent is a yoga magazine that is published by an ashram, so it naturally has a strong bend towards the religious side of yoga. I have haphazardly “practiced” hatha yoga on and off since I found a book for a quarter in a used bookstore cheap bin back in 1991 but I am not a religious person and have always kept that side of yoga at a distance. So I have to admit that when I was first approached by the magazine I was a wee bit timid about where things might go and how my thoughts might be framed. We did talk about “spirituality” as it relates to the garden but the writer, Roseanne Harvey, understood my need to choose my words carefully. The interview was more eye opening than I’d like to admit because I was able to see where our perspectives cross over but are separated only by semantics. Many gardeners experience a sense of awe and connectivity in the garden however where a religious person might call it god, I prefer to call it wonder. Most likely a very similar experience, just a different way of framing it. I’m not saying that my beliefs have changed, merely that I am a little more open to where others are coming from when they talk about religious experience in relation to the garden.
While I’m talking about the magazine I want to mention an interesting article about environmental activist Derrick Jensen called “The Complexities of Hope.” What drew me to the article wasn’t as much about his perspective on where we are headed environmentally (although that is interesting too) but in how closely the ideas in the article connected to thoughts that have been swimming around in my head for the last few years. In my recounting of the most recent garden incident I spoke a lot about hope and being able to feel everything no matter what. So I was interested to read about Jensen and the way he willingly breaks a cultural taboo by expressing the hopelessness and despair he feels while also turning that around and rethinking our cultural definition for hope as “a wish without agency” into something we can be actively engaged in achieving.
“There’s this idea that if you really recognize how bad things are you have to go around being miserable all the time. But the truth is I’m really happy, and I am full of rage and sorrow and joy and happiness and contentment and discontent. I’m full of all those things. It’s okay to feel more than one thing at the same time.”
I am still working on getting warm season transplants into the community garden plot. I’m still working on same on the roof for that matter. I was a little gun shy this spring, following on the heels of last year’s June 5 Curcubit killing cold snap. While that didn’t happen this year, I was relieved to have played it safe when a reader wrote in reporting a snowfall on June 11 in their part of North America. June 11! The horrors!
Regardless of timing, one thing is for sure: the onion harvest is out of control! I’ve always been fortunate when it comes to onions but I’ve hit some kind of personal record this year and it is only June. I foresee a lot of onions in our future, especially given that I planted more onion sets a while back, and have a whole tray of onion seedlings sitting out on the roof waiting to be planted.
If you look at early spring shots of my community garden it looks like I am growing an onion and garlic garden more than anything. I mentioned that I would be pulling many of them up, replacing them with new warm season transplants as planting got underway. Well…. earlier this week on one such occasion I brought back an entire box of onions. And I brought another box back last night. I know I’m writing this like it is some kind of blight but I am an actually embarrassingly proud. Last night I walked my bike back from the community garden, careful to avoid spilling my bounty all over the street and proud as a peacock secretly hoping someone would exclaim, “Wow look at all those onions!” To which I would proudly reply, “Yep. Grew them myself. And this is only the half of them!” And then I would hand them a bunch. Because I’m onion wealthy and I like to spread the love. This all played out in my head like a King of Kensington-style fantasy sequence. Except in my version I’m the Onion Queen of Parkdale. In real life I walked silently with nary a sideways glance from passing neighbours and arrived home to an empty building. It was another 30 minutes before my neighbour knocked on the door for coffee and I could finally turn to the giant box waiting in the hall and shout, “Dude, check out my onions!”
And I’m not done yet. Nope, there are currently craploads of full-sized bunching onions left in spaces that I will be replacing with some of the straggling transplants this weekend. We are about to experience an onion gold rush over here! And if bunching onions were worth their weight in gold we’d be selling out and moving to a cliff side house with an ocean view. Except in reality that box of onions might fetch a couple of dollars at best and we’re really just standing around starring at it and wondering what to do with such an enormous bounty. I’ve already roasted a a few and have considered pickling a few more. One reader suggested Korean Scallion Pancakes. That sounds delicious and we will definitely be trying those this weekend.
Since you all had such wonderful, creative ideas for using rhubarb I have to ask, What do you do with your onion bonanza? I’m especially asking about the bunching onions because they have a lot of greens and I’d like to use those if I can rather than just tossing them into the compost.
I didn’t plan to grow the ‘Chinese Five Color’ Hot Pepper this year — there just wasn’t enough space — but I couldn’t resist making a last minute squeeze and it was in.