Verdant View

By Francisco Nava

Harvest - A Family Affair

vegetables Harvest


I stand, face smiling towards the sun, with my toes deep in the dark, rich soil that I’ve prepared for my heirloom seed babies, loving the luxurious feel under my feet of the moist recipe of compost, worm castings and Ana Luz’s biodynamic worm tea-plant tonic. My toes wiggling with ecstatic happiness, I say “I now place you in this fertile medium to grow lush, healthy, tall and nutritious. You will feed our families, friends and community.” Holding my arms up to the universe, I sing and dance for rain to arrive soon. I water and tend to my seedlings daily, giving thanks to Gaia for allowing us all to grow.

In Native American tradition I state my intent and ask permission. The plants say they appreciate the efforts and reciprocate by growing into beautiful, healthy beings.

Days come and go and we arrive at harvest. Once again I state my intent and ask permission to take plump zucchini squash gloriously green, to pick lovely tomatoes bursting with flavor, to harvest pearls of peas and intensely flavored carrots. The garden has been my daily destination and the plants my intimate friends. The insects arriving and leaving like holiday visiting relatives, serving a purpose and hopefully not staying long. The gift bearing uncles, Tlaloc and Ehecatl, provide rain and winds to water my plants and help clear the skies of clouds when sunshine is needed.

I can truly say that a garden is a family affair. Without the support of just one member we are less powerful and less able to work together to blossom and nurture each other. Together we are stronger.

May this harvest season bring you bounty and keep your family healthy and strong.

If you want to make anything grow, you must understand it and understand it in a very real sense. “Growing Fingers” are a fact and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are an extension of a verdant heart.

- Russell Page, The Education of a Gardener

What to plant in November

The weather is cool in the daytime and sometimes cold at night. At the viveros look for snapdragons, stocks, fuchsias, poinsettias (Nochebuenas), pansies, petunias and phlox. Sweet peas may begin blooming.

You can still plant lettuce, peas, kohl rabi, spinach and Swiss chard, beets, carrots, garlic, lettuce, mustard, onion, parsley, radish, spinach, turnips, and herbs, lettuce, broccoli, kale. Start dahlia, alyssum, mallow and poppy seeds now.

Mist fuchsias and water garden regularly, keeping in mind that the native plants know how to deal with the dry seasons. Most orchids can take more sun now. Order seed catalogues for next year and begin planning. Now is a very good time to get the garden cleaned up for winter. Fill in bare spots with blooming plants from the viveros and plant sellers.

Many plants are going into their dormancy period and fall is a good time to prune. Winter is a good time to prune large trees, shrubs and small trees. Deciduous foliage is absent and helps make pruning more visible and reduces clean up material. 

And lastly, I’ve recently been working on a garden video series for the Lake Chapala Garden Club and would like to invite you to view our efforts.


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