Hometown Gardener

Paul and Nila Dowlearn-Owners of Wichita Valley Nursery. Paul’s recent books, “The Lazy Man’s Garden” and “Touch the Earth” are available at the Nursery, 5314 S.W. Pkwy, Wichita Fall, Texas.

We got quite a bit of feedback from last week’s article. As a result I learned what cytokines are. Link on my Facebook page provided by Lauren Nitschke (Nitschke’s Natural Beef, Waurika). I also discussed cytokines and other topics with an actual PhD scientist who agreed that modern health science should do more in-depth studies on native plants and homeopathic treatments. This person is in the process of going public with her research so she will remain nameless until that day comes. Just happy this person came on a slow day so we had plenty of time to talk.

My friend Ruthie Ann Turnbo (Smarty Plants Café & Healing Herb Farm) also visited us on Thursday. She was one of the first to plant our elderberries. She had used hers and went to buy more from outside sources but found all were sold out. Elderberry is yet another native plant with anti-viral/anti-bacterial plus immune system boosting compounds. At one time, Wichita Valley was the only retail nursery in Texas that grew this plant. Nila and I have a little bit of elderberry cough syrup still in the fridge.

My point here is that food, medicine, and human health are all linked. Until the late 19th and ealry 20th Centuries there were no pharmacies doling out pills with names only the chemist could pronounce or vaguely understand. To this day, many Asian pharmacies maintain drawers full of roots, leaves, and/or organic powders. These are prescribed mainly as medicine brewed in the form of teas as opposed to pills. Asian people are not dropping dead due to lack of modern medicine. Many live long lives and stay healthier as they age than we do.

The oldest person I ever heard of was 127 years old living in Tibet, a country considered “backward” by our standards. She claimed her longevity was due to goat’s milk which she drank daily. True, her diet played a role but I think that where she lived played an equal role. There are very few roads in Tibet. Most people walk to their destination. Donkeys, bicycles, and a few motorcycles, almost nobody owns a car or truck. Diet and exercise…

I would rather eat and drink my vitamins, minerals, and other nutrition than take supplements. This is what our bodies have evolved with instead of a megadose of vitamin C, D, or B complex. However, when faced with a pandemic like our current predicament I want to be safe rather than sick. So a final note on using immune boosters like echinacea. I believe it was the late Joanne Boudreau (Boudreau’s Herb Farm, Minerals Wells) who told me the best way was to do the tea or pill form every day for a week then go a week or so without. Don’t overload with immune boosters or at least use different sources for your phenols, antioxidants, and such. As it is with any substance your body will resist constant input of one food, vitamin, etc. We don’t want too many cytokines… Right?

I am blessed to have these and many other knowledgeable people in my life due to the fact that I know a little more than your average person knows about plants. These people should be and will be heard and we should listen. Food is medicine and vice versa. Eat well, sleep well, be well.

My most enjoyable set of visitors this past week came from local Grandma Tami Davis, her daughter and two grandkids. Tami was wise enough to know that kids (especially teenagers) often ignore the teaching of the parents and even grandparents. She decided to take them to see a total stranger, an older guy with a gray beard. Even though the kids seemed to be playing with our nursery cat the whole time they did catch a good bit of what told them. Lucky for me, most of what I said agreed with Tami’s teaching handed down from her elders. In gardening, what holds true has always been true for thousands of years. Modern day chemistry is simply a short term gain with long term consequences that are usually not for the good of Earth and a sustainable future. So Tami was delighted, so was I, and her daughter bought one of my books. Everybody chose some seeds and went home happy.

OK… So, the interest in growing backyard fruits and vegetables is gaining due to the virus threat. One of the things on the latest “to do” lists published to protect from corona virus is eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and drink hot liquids like teas. Hello?... I wonder if hot coffee counts?

The rain continues to postpone landscaping. Our rain gauge at the house read 3 & 6/10ths” for the past week. If memory serves the average total for the entire month of March is around 2 ½”. Some of our friends and neighbors have had quite a bit more than I recorded this month. So far, most has soaked in and flooding has been minor. Some folks are building raised beds for vegetables and planting anyway. I have settled for walking around and turning the wet soil to drop in pecans and acorns. I realize all this is mere speculation but gardening (especially veggie gardening) does require an optimistic soul. Planting seed is an act of faith. Anything short of large hail or flooding is welcome. Tornado season is at hand.

We are just about out of compost. Running short of money. This is normal for early spring. Now we face the challenge of shutdowns and closures that will certainly hit us all in the pocketbook. Yet we remain strong. The best Facebook post that was shared on my page this week came from Paula Matlock. Her positive message was a detailed instruction on growing your own food. Paula and husband David own Southwest Lock & Key, a small business up the street from us on Southwest Parkway. There was no talk of “gloom and doom.” They are in this with us. There will be no hugs or handshakes for the time being. Come see us anyway!

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