Monday, August 22, 2011

Growing a Native American Garden

The following is a conversation excerpt between a dear friend (whom I met while working in Kahnawake) and myself, on gardening. She is a very experienced grower and has a huge garden full of delicious produce.

Me: I’m having a lot of problems with my jalapenos. I don’t know what else to do, you have any suggestions? They just don’t want to grow!

K: You white people. You’re all the same. Instead of growing weird food, why don’t you try sticking to a Native American garden?

Me: What the heck are you talking about?

K: Jalapenos grow down south, so they belong in the soil down south. You trying to grow them is like trying to force oranges to grow up here, or cactuses. It just doesn’t make sense. You have all these dreams of a huge successful garden when you can’t even realize what belongs in our soil, rather than what you want to grow.

True story. I got owned at my own game. I am always talking about eating local this and buying local that, and here I am trying to grow jalapenos in my garden. Instead of dreaming of big gardens, I should probably just research what grows naturally up here in our beautiful country, and learn about them while growing them. What kind of gardener am I if I am not knowledgeable about our own naturally grown produce, and especially in what season they grow? Shame on me indeed.
I realized I have a lot more to learn when it comes to local. Whether growing , preparing, or consuming, I have a long way to go before I can truly say that my household is as local as I can possibly make it.


  1. It may seem obvious...

    but it didn't occur to me either. Face palm. So true! Actually that would be really neat growing a garden... of things that should be grown here. Of things that they used to grow and thrive on. Before all this import crap happened.

    Things that make you go Hmmm.

  2. It's so true! I've been struggling with this a lot since I tried to grow tomatoes and sweet peppers this year... both of which are NOT NATIVE, and as a result are very finicky and needy if you try to force them to grow here (requiring greenhouse heat and light, etc.)... this is hard for me because tomatoes are practically a food group to me!! A part of me wants to just be radical and opt out of imported/greenhouse foodstuffs altogether... another part of me is like, oh my gosh, but, tea, and tomatoes, and coffee, oh my!! It's hard. Bit by bit I am trying. This winter my goal is to eat only local vegetables, by canning, freezing, and possibly buying a winter basket from the Ferme Mange Tout... Can't wait to have a house with a root cellar and a garden and all that kind of stuff!