Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Gardening with Frog and Toad

April 20, 2014

Using the Seed Library at Kitsap Regional Library

This year, I will apply my mad skills in gardening to a 10x10’ plot at The Rock Farm, a community garden on the west side of the island. This lacks the convenience of walking next door to garden in Hilary and Neil’s yard, but affords a larger space with more sun and a Master Gardener to crack the whip if I get too lazy.

In addition, I will be able to grow a row of food for Helpline House. I’ve planted broccoli in it, and began planting my own garden as well. So far, I’ve got seeds for kale, spinach and a stir-fry mix in the ground, as well as two hills of cucumbers. I’ve purchased tomato plants and a rhubarb plant at one of our local farm and garden supply stores, Bay Hay and Feed. The tomatoes will stay in the house a little longer, waiting for warmer weather. We are still yo-yoing back and forth between balmy and chilly weather.

I got cucumber seeds from a new seed library on the island. It is located at our Kitsap Regional Library branch on Bainbridge, but has its own little house near the gardening shed. I hope that people will test the seeds and comment on them, and return seeds from their own crops to share next year. This is an exciting development for me, as I see a seed library as one of the necessities of a food self-sufficient island.

This will be my third year of serious gardening. While I don’t know much, I feel more confident about the whole thing than I did three years ago. Plants need water, sunlight, and TLC. As revealed in the Frog and Toad story, “The Garden,” by Arnold Lobel, plants cannot be rushed or bullied into thriving. Like children, they develop in their own time.

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Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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