Garden of Eating (Earth Whispers – Part 2) by Janine Donoho

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

Even as our beautiful living space known as Planet Earth heats beyond her best health, when spring comes to these highlands, my yearning turns to my annual Mediterranean garden. When we moved here over a decade ago, we immediately laid out our garden rooms with the most sacrosanct going to my vegetable and fruit space. That’s the only one I’m unwilling to share with the local wildlife. Deer, bear, moose, marmots, squirrels, and chipmunks don’t share when it comes to succulent cucumbers, basils, tomatoes, melons, and eggplants.

Planting the mounds

Planting the mounds

Last year’s attempt to grow melons outside my fenced area ended with humorously frustrating views of a doe and her two fawns standing on the boxes as they tugged leaves and melons through the bird netting. Since I grow perennial flower and shrub offerings specifically for native fauna in other garden rooms, it’ll be aromatic herbs and greens in those vulnerable boxes this season. Hoops versus netting may allow me some share of the harvest, too. Lessons learned.

Native browsers

Native browsers

Seed catalogs brighten winter and this year’s fresh delights? Sweet Baby Doll, New Queen, and Sugar Cube melons; Stars and Stripes eggplant; Dinosaur zucchini; Banana Legs tomatoes; Bulldog okra; Dragon Tongue beans; and Corno di Toro Rosso peppers. These novelties join the reliable varieties leading to baskets of harvest. Surrounding those will be the usual suspects of carrot rainbows, piquant radishes, robust spinach, kale bliss, luscious chard, and lettuces with plenty of marigold and nasturtium to act as natural deterrents to predatory insects.

I wish you a productive gardening season, my friends, and hope you’ll share your successes, too.

What do you love to grow in your gardens? Please share those experiments that led to ah-ha moments.

These beauties love my vegetable patch too much.

These beauties love my vegetable patch too much.

Previous season with garden helper.

Previous season with garden helper.

The why we do this.

The why of it.

Melons and salad

Melons and salad

Feeding Hope by Janine M. Donoho

Planting the moundsEach spring I plant my annual fruit and vegetable gardens. While winter offers the joy of seed catalogs and visions of succulent melons, eggplant and tomatoes dance through my mind’s eye, the real application starts once frost’s threat ends. During the planning stage, I dream big–think Mediterranean shoreline big.

Then I get a grip and narrow my choices to the reality of intense gardening-by-the-square-foot. At this stage companion plants come into play. That denotes matching cucumber with pole beans and radishes, which belly up to peas and carrots before leading into tomatoes, basil and…

Poster for Companion PltgWell, you get the idea. Separate mounds hold my hopes for watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe, and brassicas. Since I love kale, beets and mescuns, you’ll find those, too. I mix basils, nasturtiums, and marigolds among plantings that benefit from their association. You’ll find spinach amid my strawberries, too.

So what do I relearn each growing season? Why how much groundwork, planting and harvesting a garden has in common with writing. It becomes a litany:






Yes, a garden benefits from editing much as stories do. In the final stages I force myself to be ruthless in both while taking the useful and transplanting it elsewhere for superior impact. It’s how I approach my current edit of MISTBORN CHRONICLES, book 3.

As often happens my process makes me curious about yours. How do your life practices move your writing from here to there? Is your life shaped more by how you approach writing? Or does writing mold your life choices?

IG in the greens

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27, 2015
The big day is here.

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