Baskets of 茄

We’ve been pulling baskets full of Japanese eggplant () from the food garden. It’s an amazing crop this year. Lucky we have hungry neighbors. One of our neighbors, a couple with a beautiful Italian last name, eagerly accepted a big batch of freshly picked eggplant the other day. They slice and cook it, then freeze it for wintertime eggplant parmesan. I’m a fan of fresh rather than frozen. But I’m always happy when the food garden feeds lots of people.

The tomatoes are all ripening up, and cantaloupe is getting bigger. I’ve been munching the ripe cherry tomatoes. No cucumbers yet, though. I expect (and hope) that they will put in an appearance in a couple of weeks. My husband is waiting patiently for them. Tomatillos are getting fat (we’ll have purple salsa soon, yay!) and there’s lots of ancho and habanero peppers for the salsa.

The powdery mildew that is ruining the summer squash hasn’t backed off, and that makes me sad. But an interesting thing happened. I got the idea that the Tibetan medicinal incense that burns in our home – a very high-grade, green incense used for medicinal purposes – if it is beneficial to human health, why wouldn’t it also be beneficial to plant health?

So guess what – I started burning it in the garden, at the foot of the squash plants. And something very cool happened within a few days. The mildew didn’t budge, but the plants starting putting out lots of new growth from the center. Fresh, new, green leaves, untouched by mildew, started reaching up from the hearts of the plants.

It’s more evidence of the complexity of the plant world. I wonder what else we don’t know about plants that we should. What if plants have some familiar form of sentience? Imagine if we were to discover that plants are more aware than we thought? What then? If you abstain from meat and dairy, and we learn that plants too want to live, and we as Buddhists live by the creed of No Harm, what will be left to eat? I’ll have to pose that question to a smart someone I know.

Sure, this goes against the existing orthodoxy about the plant world, but do you really know? It’s a dangerous thing to assimilate information before you’ve thought about it. Keep your mind open.

August is just a couple of days away. This is the food garden’s mid-to-late middle age. Things will be ripening like crazy now, and the food supply will be abundant. It’s a luminous time of year.


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