(photo © 2020 by Caryn Robertson)
I often think of the journey that soil has been on since the earth was first formed. This top living layer that covers the earth has been a dance, throughout the ages, of decomposing rock, organic matter, minerals, water, wind and tiny life. Even as it is getting colder and the sun is fading, a full in the garden still brings warmth to my spirit. After coming indoors from the garden, I often think of the journey that soil has been on since the earth was first formed. This top living layer that covers the earth has been a dance, throughout the ages, of decomposing rock, rock, organic matter, minerals, water, wind and tiny life. The ritual of cleaning dirt from my hands and underneath my nails has never been a chore. It brings a pleasure that can only come from working with soil. If soil is a dance, then the dirt that remains after working with soil, must surely be its laughter!
My first introduction with soil was gardening in Northern California with my dad. When I was a kid, I watched him create the most beautiful step garden and outdoor living space in our backyard. It was abundant with life, especially during harvest. We lived not too far from the fertile agricultural areas of the Napa and Sacramento river valleys but the soil he worked with was far different. It was predominantly adobe clay not river silt. Without his practice of using the garden’s composted material, he would have been trying to grow things in a cement-like condition. Even with the challenges he faced with the clay, the garden never seemed to be work for him, only pure joy.
The gardening lessons that my dad taught me as a kid, have carried through into my own garden well into my fifties. His composting practices, love for the land, respect for critters of all sizes, seed saving and of chemicals have all carried forward into my Pacific Northwest garden today.
After moving to the Pacific Northwest, one of our greatest accomplishments together was selling ‘the fruits of our labors’ at farmers’ markets. Throughout this time period, I discovered a whole new world of folks loving and working the land. Today, my passion has become telling these stories. They hold a deeper understanding of soil health, stewardship and sustainable practices. They sow seeds of gratitude for the harvest that is with family, friends and community. Their stories are never lacking in resilience amidst the challenges and always seem to be full of hope.
These days, I absolutely love discovering new stories for Pitchfork to Table Fork. My partners in soil, Pam and Marilyn are a treasure to me. We laugh a lot when we share with one another. Our laughter is rooted in the same pure joy that I first observed from my dad working In his garden, so many years ago.
In this episode, we are so happy to be welcomed into Marilyn’s fall garden. We will snap Scarlet runner beans, taste the robust flavor of roasted Pumpkin seed oil, share Sugar pie pumpkin recipes and savor the hearty fragrance fragrance of fresh, Red garlic. You might just hear the ravens and hummingbirds, imagine the vibrant colors of the season’s last blooms and feel the warmth of the sun as it peaks through the clouds!
The table is set. Clean the dirt from your hands and underneath your nails and come join us in celebrating the gifts that come from earth’s living soil.
Happiest of harvests!
~ Caryn Robertson
- Growing Scarlet Runner Beans – Harvested from Marilyn’s garden
- Growing Dried Beans in the Home Garden
- How To Process A Pumpkinc – Hey Nutrition Lady
- Pumpkin Seed Butter – Hey Nutrition Lady
- Get Your Garlic On: A Primer On Planting, Growing And Harvesting
- Purple Broccoli Anyone?
- Choosing Foods By Color – Andrew Weil, M.D.
Recommended by Dr Weil:
What Color Is Your Diet?
by David Heber, M.D., Ph.D.
- How To Harvest And Preserve Fresh Herbs
WHAT’S IN SEASON?
- Tilth Alliance, WA Food and Farm Finder
- 2020-2021 Native Plant Sale
Pierce County Conservation District
November 1, 2020: Pre-order opens.
January 15, 2021: Pre-order closes.
March 2nd-6th, 2021: Pre-orders available for pick up.
SOWIN’ SOME SEEDS:
- Best Native Perennials – Fine Gardening, Issue 196
- Landscaping With Nature: Using Nature’s Designs – Jeff Cox, Rodale Books
- Washington Native Plant Society
- Pierce County Recycling Menu
Find alternatives to the landfill. Before throwing things away, see if there is somewhere to recycle, donate or dispose of your unwanted items.
- Make Simple Garden Fences – Mother Earth News
Wattles, wickets, hurdles and more …
- Pierce County Composting Resources
Build your own bins, composting classes, composting brochure, sources for red worms and more