Tuesday, February 24, 2009

colour my world: seeds and sustainability

I used to wander the vegetable aisle at my supermarket and feel, well, bored. The gently misted vegetables looked appealing, but the selection seemed so same, same. There was little seasonal variation, the beans were constantly green, the vegetables were similar. There never seemed anything new, different, mysterious. At the risk of being theologically irreverent, was this the best that God could do?

It seemed such a churlish reaction (especially for a vegetarian), so I walked on feeling both guilty and bored.

Over the last few months, we’ve been enjoying the fruits our spring garden extension (5 new raised bed gardens). Last night’s meal included peas, beans, courgette, parsley, cherry tomatoes, boysenberries, raspberries. The pumpkins, potatoes, tomatoes, corn and peppers are due for harvest any day, and with winter coming, I needed some seeds. Last night I went surfing and stumbled upon Kings Seeds. (Postage is $4, order more than $40 and you get 2 seed packets free.)

Today I’m neither guilty or bored, simply excited and angry, because the supermarket has been ripping me off!! Last night I found out that beans don’t only come in green. They also come in red and white. Imagine what Borlotto Fire Tongue beans, or Cannellino beans will look like in a salad. Think of a winter brightened by green cauliflower and purple cabbage (Palm Tree di Toscana). What about the bell pepper mix, in seven different colours. There are so many different types of vegetables to colour our world. Yah!, The palate of my sustainable spirituality horizons have just been enriched.

Tangential thought: It might just be me, but gardening seems to be back in. Lots of people around Opawa are talking about their new gardens, lots of magazine and media coverage. Makes me wonder if its time to bring back the old-fashioned harvest festival? A few years ago, a harvest festival seemed to have little connectivity in an urban environment. But I wonder if times, they are a changing, and if so, what a 21st century harvest festival would look like. I’d certainly me keen to offer God a salad that included Borlotto Fire Tongue beans, Cannellino beans and seven different colours of peppers!

Posted by steve at 09:31 AM


  1. Hi Steve

    Can give you as many as you like of intensely purple Maori potatoes (Taewa). The look spectacular on the plate when mashed.


    Comment by Janette B — February 24, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

  2. We did have a harvest fest at Opawa, quite a few years ago now. Was fun.

    Comment by Sharyn — February 24, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  3. Dude, you guys don’t have the equivalent of a farmer’s market in New Zealand? Our community back home found that this was a huge part of bringing people together (from the rural to the urban); they didn’t start it, it was a city thing, but it was a great opportunity to bring folks together. Especially since Lexington was such a refugee hub. If you’re the only ones doing this, go go go go!!! It could be a huge interaction opportunity; especially with my generation. One of the things that excites me about gardens is the opportunity to get together with the older generation to learn about what grows and what doesn’t. Great opportunities!


    P.S. When you said surfing and found Kings Seeds, did you mean surfing the net or surfing in the water? 🙂

    Comment by Dan Lowe — February 24, 2009 @ 5:42 pm

  4. We have some great Farmers Markets in New Zealand – however most are held on a Sunday morning so unfortunately tend to clash with church. I agree they do bring people together and are a bit of a harvest festival with music etc. And yes gardening is enjoying a come back at the moment, in part folk looking at ways of cutting the grocery bill in tough times. A harvest fest of some sort would go down a treat I reckon as part of the buzz of home gardening is sharing your produce.

    PS – I discovered King Seeds too when I did a stint of teaching horticulture and wow the catalogues had a massive variety that opened my eyes too. I used to let the students pick and then order the seeds and the teenage girls would be thumbing through the catalogue getting just as excited as if it were a clothes mag!

    Comment by jack — February 24, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  5. As you prepare for winter St Mark’s Wythenshaw are preparing for Spring and they have a community allotment – and they’ve already planted some of their seeds. It sounds fun.
    REad all about it here

    Comment by jane — February 25, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  6. Jane,
    I presume afterward you will also then watch the movie “Grow” about allotment gardens and new migrants in UK?

    what happened at the festival? any ideas worth borrowing for a new millenium?

    those potatoes would be grand. perhaps along my next raised bed i’m planning to build! i presume they’re not frost resistant?


    Comment by steve — February 25, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  7. Got to tell a visitor to school today (she came to talk to little kids about healthy eating and fruit and veges)about the many different colour veges you can get and about the website for Kings Seeds. She was very fascinated and is going to go look at it when she gets home tonight. Good spotting!
    I too remember the harvest festival at Opawa – correct me if I am wrong Sharyn but after bringing the first fruits of our gardens the veges were then made into soup, bottled and delivered to those needy in the community and also added to food parcels. Plus the photos looked outstanding with all the produce on the platform at the front of church.

    Comment by Karen — March 2, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  8. Maybe the idea of a community garden at church could be raised again. Im sure with your bed building exprience and some extra helping hands, something could be built out the back of church. Im sure the kids would love getting in and dirty each Sun wedding and planting.

    We were told a story of a lady who attended church in old work clothes every week. When questioned about it she replied that God wants us to be prepared to do his work so she was just being prepared in case she was needed. Food for thought.

    Comment by Chris L — March 3, 2009 @ 12:43 am

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