Monday, April 26, 2004



Yesterday the vectors of weather, time, opportunity and inclination finally converged and I got around to planting the King and Queen of cuisinomedical herbs oshoga (large ginger, Rhizoma zingiberis). The challenge with planting ginger, at least for me, being a relative (read "complete") novice to the activity, is exactly how to divide the very large rhizomes that come in the package of 'seed' ginger.

Right out of the bag the rhizomes are larger than my hand, and like a hand have lobes and nodes, the lobes growing in obvious segments that one breaks off and plants, one rhizome thus producing maybe 5 or 6 plantable segments, each containing at least one growth node. Or so it would seem.

Once you start breaking it up, though, you realize that each of these segments comprises smaller segments, each also containing a growth node, and as you look more closely, you begin to think like Wall Street: wow, instead of 10 nodes I could have 25! Then, as happened last year, trying to maximize yield by finding the smallest unit of ginger becomes like trying to find the innermost layer of the onion, at the end of which quest you are left with no onion at all, staring off into the sky thinking about birth and death and how nothing really begins or ends, that this onion is no onion is all onions, all is inseparate, and that includes the ginger continuum. But perhaps more importantly, you realize that each node will grow anyway if it wants to, and that to keep on in this fashion will net you zero ginger come Autumn.

So from the rocky heights of philosophy I got down to the topsoil of practicality, drew the line and planted the rather large segments (could have been a lot smaller if you ask me, which I pointedly did not) so that the ginger could right away get on with its business. Then I stared off into the sky thinking about birth, death and ginger in the Autumn.

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