This past fall, long after the High Holidays had passed, I discovered, hiding under a bag of parsnips in my refrigerator’s vegetable bin, one half of a pomegranate. (Please, no comments about how often I should clean the fridge.) It was still in fairly good condition, but I had no particular desire to eat it and knew that, if left it in the fridge, it would rot.
So, I popped the seeds out of their glossy, cream-colored nest and into some fresh potting soil in a clay pot. And waited. About three weeks later, as I went to the windowsill to water the plants, lo and behold, several tiny green seedlings were popping out of their deep brown home – see photo. I can’t wait to bring the little ones outside this the summer to see how they do. Stay tuned.
The pomegranate is just one of the Seven Species – two grains and five fruits – that are named in the biblical book of Deuteronomy (8:8) as being special products of the Land of Israel. The others are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, and dates.
So, when one day I was eating an absolutely scrumptious Medjool date, it struck me: Why not plant a biblical garden? After all, I already had the etrog (see previous blog post). So I googled “planting dates at home” and learned that I should place the pits into a glass of water for a week or two before planting, changing the water frequently. The date pits have been sitting in soil for about two months now, but nothing has come of that experiment. Maybe I will try planting without soaking next time.
It turns out that I am not alone in wanting to have a little piece of Eden. This past January I got into a discussion with my friend, Josie, who told me of her synagogue’s attempt to plant a biblical garden in the Albany area. Then, just a couple weeks later, the Wall Street Journal published an article that chronicled similar, though not always successful, efforts by various groups around the country. See this link to read it. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203646004577213033000884426.html
In the meantime, I’ll start reading up on grapes, olives, wheat, and barley.