Heraclitus once said:  “You can never step into the same river twice.”

I say:  “You can never step into the same garden twice.”

Both statements are equally true as both rivers and gardens are highly dynamic and ever changing organic entities. 


A Special Story Told from the Heart

A few days ago when I was at the garden I noticed a young couple at a bed where I had planted some horseradish.  I was all the way across the garden at the Children’s Plot.  From my horrified perspective, it appeared that she was pulling out plants so I decided to walk over and see what was going on.  Turned out the young woman was pulling weeds.  She was wearing a nice dress and shoes.  I commented that she wasn’t dressed for gardening, hoping to hear the story that I knew was there.  A person normally doesn’t come to the garden dressed for church to pull weeds.  She didn’t disappoint me.  I got to hear her story, or at least part of it.

Stephanie was her name.  She was in the garden so she could feel close to her grandmother who was dying that day in Austin.  She was not able to be with her grandmother, but she told me that she felt close to her in the garden because her grandmother loved to garden and would have approved of her pulling weeds. Gardens are special places with lots of potential for comforting the human spirit and for providing lessons about sharing. 


Culmination of November 2016 Leaf Awareness Campaign has begun.

I was thinking about the far-reaching positive implications a community garden has on residents as I shoveled out some of the leaves from the November 2016 Leaf Awareness Campaign this morning.  Those leaves and over 2,000 more bags of them, instead of going to the landfill, have been transitioned into compost for growing plants that can feed people and provide beauty.  The soil created in the Teepee over the winter will be used to create an extension of Pollinator Heaven and also to plant the beans for our summer bean teepee.

After completing the extension for Pollinator Heaven, the remainder of the newly made compost will be placed around the teepee.  The green environmental cloth will be removed and the supporting poles will be used to grow pole beans.  Children will be able to go inside this structure.   We also will be planting colorful annuals around the teepee, making it another space of beauty in the garden as well as another tribute to Native Americans to compliment the Medicine Wheel in the back area of the garden.  The folks who live in Garland who deposited sacks of leaves instead of putting them curbside can take pride in these results.  Those who didn't will have a second chance this fall to assist in mitigating the flow of leaves to landfill.



Sharon Lawless, President of the North Garland High School Environmental Club, with member Samantha McNeil pose by a pot decorated and gifted to them from the Beaver MST First Grade. – May 3, 2017

Educational and Heart Connections from Garland First Graders to Garland High School Students

Today Jane Stroud, President of Loving Garland Green met down at the garden at 6 PM with some members from the Garland Environmental Club.  The main purpose of this meeting was to plant sweet potato slips in the large pot you see in the photo above.  Last week when 69 first graders visited the garden, they planted sweet potato slips and they also decorated a large pot for the NGHS Environmental Club to use for their sweet potato slips.  A lot of folks don’t realize this but sweet potatoes are very nutritious AND so are their leaves! 

Unlike varieties of the white potato such as the Irish potato, Russet Potato, and Gold potato—the sweet potato is not a member of the nightshade family.  This means that, unlike the varieties of white potato, we can eat the leaves of the sweet potato—and believe me this plant supplies plenty of leaves.  That’s what the trellis is for that you see in the photo above—to hold the vines and make it easy to harvest the leaves for salads all summer long and into the fall. 

Sweet potatoes have a rather long period to grow to maturity—from May to November (about a week before our first frost).  Many set the harvest date for Halloween.  Then they have a couple of weeks to cure before Thanksgiving.  You need to let sweet potatoes stay in a dark cool place after harvesting for about 10 days.  It is recommended that you don’t clean them beyond brushing off a little dirt with your hands.  After they sit for 10 days, then clean them more thoroughly.


Sharing Garden Knowledge

It pleased me tonight to read the following email from Jane to Vicki Casco, the teacher from Beaver who was the liaison with Loving Garland Green for the Beaver first grade tour. [Note:  During the tour last week, the first graders presented the results of various studies they had performed re-growing vegetables from produce they had eaten.  These experiments included such activities as saving the bottom part of Romaine lettuce, putting it in water and re-growing it.]


I just wanted to share this picture with you. Shannon Lawless, President of NGHS Environmental Club on the left, and another member of the club met me this evening to make their first harvest of their project and to plant their sweet potato slips. They were very touched by the pot your students autographed/decorated for them. And I mean they were really impressed!

On a side note: They harvested some radishes tonight.  They are going to try to regrow radishes from the tops like your students projects! They were impressed with your students projects!





Carrots from my Garden - Photo taken May 1, 2017 - Garland, Texas

Indeed!  Food in America is a profit racket and we are not only the prey, most of us wholeheartedly support and sustain this racket.

In ancient times, an invading army might poison the food or water supply in order to conquer an enemy.  Today we don’t have to worry about an invading army; we are doing the job just fine ourselves.

Today’s situation regarding the management of our food chain and agricultural efforts reminds me of the statement by the cartoon character, Pogo:  “We have seen the enemy and it are us.”

  • Our government (us) has devised long-term agricultural policies that support production of low-nutritional commodity grains over nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits legumes and nuts.  Every year we turn over billions of our taxpayer dollars as corporate welfare to support large agricultural monopolies like Cargill and Con-Agra.  (Have you ever stopped to consider that the ultimate goal of capitalistic “healthy” competition is the establishment of a monopoly and what that really means to the majority of us—higher prices and fewer choices.   If they do anything, instead of supporting established monopolies, our government should be helping to fund their competition.)

  • Our government (us) restricts funding for nutrition research, the school lunch program and childhood-obesity prevention initiatives.

  • Our food industry (supported by us as consumers) produces an overwhelming variety of extremely low-quality food products derived predominantly from cheap grain commodities and artificial additives.

  • Our food industry aggressively markets those products throughout society, especially to children (ensuring brand loyalty from early in life).

  • We allow our schools to franchise their cafeterias to fast-food companies and sell junk food in vending machines.  A perfect local example of this is the city where I live.  They gave PepsiCo—a junk food company—the franchise for delivering summer lunch programs to schoolchildren.  Ever the activist, I went to our leadership and ask how they could do this.   I was told that PepsiCo offered the most competitive bid.  Well of course they did.  We need to ask our local governments to start thinking more creatively on these deals.  Instead of one large corporate fast-food company who will dictate the menu for the program, why not create the healthy menu ourselves and send out to the bid to be handled by several local caterers.  Such an approach would be MUCH better for our local economy—even if the bid itself might cost more.  Most of the money earned by giants like PepsiCo do not stay to be circulated in the local communities.  When considering “cost” our local governments need new measuring sticks that go beyond the “bottom line.”

  • Academia and professional health associations accept funding from the food industry and from pesticide and herbicide manufacturers.  And this is supposed to produce unbiased research?
    [Source for non-italicized information in the bulleted items:  Always Hungry- David S. Ludwig MD PHD- 2016- Grand Central Lifestyle – New York – Boston] – A New York Times Bestseller


So what can YOU do about it?

1.  Grow Some of the Food You Eat

One great starting point is to start growing some of the food you can eat.  This is a giant step in turning your focus to healthy food and increasing the desire for more.  Get your kids out in the garden and away from the food industry's insidious programs to make children into brand-robots who scream for Co-Co Puffs.

One thing is almost certain, if you grow some of the food you eat this year, it’s highly likely that you will grow more next year.  It doesn’t matter if you live in an urban area, there is always a sunny spot somewhere in your yard or patio.  If you don’t have a yard or patio, find a community garden.  If there are no community gardens in your area, take steps by contacting your local government to establish one.

If you’ve ever tasted a tomato you picked from your garden you’ll understand exactly how the food you grow is superior to the food you purchase in a grocery store.

2.  Start reading the labels on the processed food you purchase.  Take your children with you to the grocery store and teach them as well

Avoid foods with high sugar or salt content.  Add those that include “corn” in the label and you’ll really be on your way to a healthier diet.

3.  Forget the nutrition myths we’ve been fed:

“All calories are alike.”  No.  All calories are NOT alike.

“There are no bad foods.”  Yes there are bad foods and most of them are the over-processed corn-based products that we consume.

“Just eat less and move more.”  This is not a solution because 1) all calories are not alike and 2) there are “bad foods”.

4. Become aware of how the food industry manipulates you. 

According to David Ludwig, a practicing endocrinologist, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School of public health:  “. . . The food industry manipulates three basic flavors—sweet, fat, and salt—to make modern process food irresistible. These exceedingly tasty products over stimulate the pleasure circuits in the brain, leading to compulsive eating behaviors.  Remember the Lays potato chip slogan, “Bet you can’t eat just one”? . . . .” 

They planned it that way folks.

You can and should fight back by learning more about good nutrition--your health and that of your children depends on it.

Even though the odds are stacked in the favor of our established and government subsidized entrenched food industry with all its lobbyists in DC we can still take steps to educate ourselves and our community in regard to the food we should be eating—even though most of it is not on the shelves of our local supermarket.

Let’s take back at least some of the control we have over the food we put in our mouths by refusing to consume food laced with pesticides and sugar and salt additives.

The very best way to do this is to grow as much of the food we eat ourselves.