Losar Begins, an Epic Fruit Haul, and Readying for Spring Seed Planting

Great vegan fruit haul Saturday, including some fresh turmeric root, which using the Nyishar method, I’ll turn into dried turmeric powder.

Elephant ear bulbs, early Italian parsley, a baby mango tree, and a baby avocado tree.

It was simple curiosity that first led me to try to germinate a fruit seed when I was in college. From that earliest experiment, where I planted a lemon seed in a paper cup of soil and placed it on a dormitory windowsill, a lemon tree grew to nearly 7 feet in height.

It never bore lemons, but it was a beautiful, lush tree with strappy, shiny leaves, and it lived happily until I was in graduate school and started doing grad work overseas. It needed a permanent home, and I found one for it, where its new guardian promptly killed it. I was not happy.

This past weekend, two mango pits and one avocado pit sprouted all at once under the grow lights. As if they were all waiting for the others to join them, they all appeared at the same time. Now, the precarious times start. Mangoes are tough to bring to maturity, but I keep trying. That moment when the first sprout peeks through soil, when a new life comes online, is always a thrill. In a few days, it will be March. Six or so weeks after that, everything can go outside, where the sun and fresh air will do its magic.

On Saturday, I visited one of my favorite gardening centers on the shoreline, Van Wilgens, and bought one Zamioculcas Zamifolia (commonly called a ‘ZZ Plant’), two Pacquino banana trees (one for a friend), seed starting mix and trays, four elephant ear bulbs for the front garden, and a gorgeous, glazed black clay pot for the ZZ Plant, which will go in the kitchen. I didn’t need another dwarf banana tree, but they were 50 percent off, and who can resist that? I have a very cool friend who will love hers.

We’re starting early spring cleaning. Snaps for my husband, who two years ago, bought a huge gardening shed that easily fits all his landscaping tools plus a big gardening bench and plenty of space for pots and such – by a sunny window - for me. On Sunday, I went to the shed and cleaned up and organized, and brought out all the germination tools, mixes, and trays and placed them on the table. In one month, it will be spring.

We made an epic fruit haul Saturday. Pretty much bought all the organic bananas in the market, plus about 12 mangoes, 6 avocados, one coconut, 5 pounds each of lemons and limes, two pineapples, one cantaloupe, a bag of turmeric roots, three papayas, a bag of starfruit, and a chunk of sugar cane.

Yesterday, my husband made breakfast of a bowl of bran flakes with lots of sliced bananas drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon. I chopped and froze some of the bananas for smoothies: the rest are ripening on the kitchen counter. Today’s lunch includes strawberry soymilk yogurt with sliced mango. I’m grateful every day.

In early March, I’ll start applying magnesium-rich Epsom salt to the houseplants, particularly the ones that will go outside in May. As I discovered last year, Epsom salt works miracles on plants of all kinds. It gives them much-needed water-soluble magnesium that acts like a miracle elixir. It’s all natural, unprocessed, and inexpensive. Feed your plants as you would feed yourself.

Today is the first day of Losar, the Tibetan new year. This is the year of the rooster. Last night, we readied our indoor shrine with pink orchids and an offering of fresh fruit and incense. I made a vegan version of guthak, a soup traditionally eaten throughout Losar. I substituted tofu for meat, and nutritional yeast for Tibetan cheese flakes. Tibetan Buddhists in Kathmandu eat nine bowls of guthak each day through Losar. That’s a lot of guthak, even if the bowls are small.

Generosity is the theme of Losar. Buddhists share acts of generosity during this period, in anticipation of an auspicious year. Every year when Losar arrives, it feels like spring is just around the corner. And unless the weatherman is wrong, the temperature is supposed to reach 70 degrees by Wednesday. 70 degrees. This is very unusual weather for late February and early March, and it’s no doubt due to our climate crisis, but I’ll still enjoy it. Who am I kidding - I’m going to love it.

Live in peace.

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