Do It In The Dirt – Gardening that is

Do It In The Dirt – Gardening that is

galangal grown in the dirt

Galangal in the dirt

Growing in the dirt produces a far better crop than all of the other techniques like hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics and chemical gardening. Chemical gardening is a term I use for that system of growing where the dirt or sand is only a medium for holding the plants up. All of the nutrients are supplied by chemicals and the plant is defended from insects and disease with the constant spraying of chemicals.

I agree with many people that hydroponically grown plants are near perfect in appearance and present a lot better in the supermarket for the short period of shelf life they have.

But plants grown in the dirt stay fresher longer, survive a lot better out of the coolroom and just plain taste better.

krachai in the dirt

Krachai being over powered by galangal and turmeric

Growing in the dirt means making your soil fit for the purpose of providing all the requirements your plants need to survive. Don’t pamper them too much as they won’t bother making any effort. A little bit of tough love is required.

Take a look at the galangal, turmeric and ginger in this garden bed. The galangal is a second year plant. I didn’t harvest it last year and this year it has really grown. I guess the proof of my assertion is the amount of rhizome harvested. So I better dig a piece up and have a look.

ginger in the dirt

The ginger is all replants from the harvest last year. I have just planted more of it. This year I will keep it in the ground instead of digging it all up. That way I should have fresh ginger all year round.


The turmeric has also taken off.

Based on looking at what happens in life, plants are similar to people. If you pamper people, they don’t develop the strength that is required to cope with life. If you play in the dirt, you get exposed to all the bacteria, good and bad and the body acquires the means and know how to assimilate the good bacteria and defend against the bad.

If you live in a sterile environment, your body hasn’t developed the techniques and knowledge to defend itself when it is preyed upon by opportunistic invaders.

Peter Cundall is always playing in the dirt

Playing in the dirt and growing things is a formula for good health and longevity. Here’s a quote from Peter Cundall.

pete always plays in the dirt

Peter Cundall at home in Tasmania.

“We are comfortably poor here, and it’s wonderful. Wealth is superb health. You get that through what I like to do – hard physical work, and the sheer joy of eating what you grow. The last time I went to the doctor because I was sick was 1951. I’m no macho man; if I had something wrong I’d be there in a flash. But every 12 months I have my tests. Last time the doctor examined me he said, ‘That’s the heart of a man of 35. I wish it was mine.’”

Dante and Gardening

Dante and Gardening

dante and gardeningI have just finished reading Inferno by Dan Brown. For those who don’t know, the author uses Dante’s Divine Comedy as a backdrop for a really good read. It took me a while to pick this one up (it was released in 2013) as I wasn’t too fussed about reading another of Dan Brown’s after reading his others and thought it would be similar. I was engrossed.

Perhaps you are thinking, WTH! has Dante and gardening got to do with it? I changed the F to H for Hell. Appropriate, don’t you think?

In my experience gardening is a great pastime for thinking. Things swirl around in your brain and connections are made that wouldn’t have been made if you didn’t do something that was totally unrelated to what you are thinking about. When I am reading a good book, I am totally there. I am in the book and watching what is going on. My mind conjures up images and scenes and also makes some pretty wild connections.

In one scene, the lead character, Robert Langdon is describing Dante Alighieri and into my mind pops an image of Griffin from MIBII (Men In Black 2) I hate it when people use acronyms and don’t give you the meaning the first time they use it, apologies for WTF above; thought you’d know that one.

Now I’ve had to search the book to find the description so you could make a judgement. It’s on page 82 of the book. I opened the book at P85 and for some reason worked backwards. (a story for another day)

“Dante Alighieri,” Langdon began. “This Florentine writer and philosopher lived from 1265 to 1321. In this portrait, as in nearly all depictions, he wears on his head a red cappuccio – a tight fitting, plaited hood with earflaps – which, along with his crimson Lucca robe, has become the most widely reproduced image of Dante.”

Dante Alieghiri

The above is a depiction of the painting of Dante by Botticelli. What sprang into my mind was a picture of Griffin and this was before I had seen a picture of Dante.

Griffin from Men In Black II

Dante and gardening

So what has Dante got to do with gardening? I was weeding. Contrary to most people I enjoy weeding and was musing away merrily weeding and thinking about Inferno when it struck me that I should look up Dante on the net and get some images and see if there was any resemblance to Griffin. Other thoughts had also been running through my head about doomsday scenarios in MIB2, Divine Comedy and Inferno. Did the writers intentionally dress Griffin in this way? Is there more to MIB2 than what is on the surface? All good fun to think about.

And to top it all off, my knowledge of Dante was/is abysmal. Until I read Inferno, I thought Dante was his surname and he lived in the sixteen hundreds. So looking it up a bit on the net would be a bit of fun and enlightening. And lets face it, we all need a bit of enlightenment.

While I’ve been writing this, I have also been doing a bit of digging on the net and came up with this site that offers a tour of Florence based on the book Inferno.

If you loved, as we did, Langdon’s adventures through the tiny streets of Florence, you can’t miss our tour of the city.

The tour starts at 9.15 from Boboli then, after crossing Ponte Vecchio, offers an accurate visit of Palazzo Vecchio. It continues to the Badia Fiorentina, where the book starts and then stops at the Church of Dante where you can learn more about the Divine Comedy.

Immerse yourself in this unusal tour on the trail of Bob Langdon and pick the chance to view Florence from a different perspective, all you have to do is book the tour.

I have never read James Joyce’s Ulysses, but I figured if I ever get to Dublin, I would do a tour of the places he described in the book. So often you go overseas and forget the places you visited. To do it based on a book would keep it in the memory forever and in a place that you would easily remember where your memories were filed.

Inferno is not just an old masters mystery. It is also a science fiction adventure thriller with post humanists, challenges to religions and the best part is all the story is based on fact. There is also a dilemma that the human race hasn’t faced yet. It’s got it all.

It won’t be long and we won’t have to look up things on the internet, we will be connected and able to reference them by a nod or a wink or a bight of the teeth.

Thanks for reading – enjoy your weeding.