Today I was prompted by a few things to revisit a previous post I created to help our followers grow their own garlic.
First, I read yet another article on the dangers in our food supply. Sadly, not all our trading partners feel it is important to give us clean, safe and healthy foods. The power of the almighty dollar often outweighs the importance of good, quality food. This particular article cited the use of chemicals on foods that you would not want on your foods. Garlic was one of the key foods mentioned in th article. Further Googling and reading on the topic led me to another article where crops were grown on human waste. Gross! Growing your own food helps you identify where your foods are from. Would you grow your foods on human waste or use unsafe chemicals to treat or condition your foods???
Next, the nice folks at WordPress who do the daily writing prompt tempted and challenged me with the word, “fragile“. That word made me think of our food supply. It sure sums up the conditions I see in and around the world of food. We have the unknown dangers of GMO’s (unlabeled in many cases too), chemicals with nasty side effects, tons of synthetic fertilizer use and a very fragile ecosystem. Many farmers do not even use the term soil anymore. It is now a, “growing medium”. At our home we grow our own food and encourage others to do the same. No GMO’s here. No pesticides or synthetic fertilizers either. We plant it, care for it and pick it when needed. It sure feels good to be so close to a large portion of our food supply.
well-planned edible gardens
Kidding Around In Our Edible Gardens
Lastly, it is almost the time of year for planting garlic here in the Northeastern USA. Garlic is so easy to grow and happens to be mentioned in many of the aforementioned news articles on imported garlic. Here is my chance to hook you. What would be more fulfilling and rewarding than creating your very own backyard farm of organic garlic? Perhaps just one small row of vampire repelling goodness?
Go now and grow!
garlic scape topped burger
Today I received a daily writing prompt that challenged me to write a post based on a single word. The word for today is, “healthy”.
I was immediately reminded of this post I wrote about a year ago. Getting a new generation of eaters on the health train is one of the most rewarding things I can think of. It is a big reason I smile widely when I see kids enjoying their home-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs.
Beautiful Lettuce Plants Almost Ready to Become Salad
Have you ever had a gardening day when you felt like you used up every last-minute tending to your plants without being tired or feeling like it was work? Today was one of those days for me. After work I pulled weeds with my son, started to set up a cat’s-cradle trellis system for our tomatoes and even harvest (with a headlamp) kale, radishes, swiss chard, beet greens and lettuce. Then I brought it all in to be washed while I talked over the day with my wife.
Nearly five hours of garden related activities after a full day at main job! I actually felt somewhat refreshed as I opened my laptop to write this post.
As the days grow longer we will all have more opportunities to linger with our lettuce. Do you find gardening to be as joyful as I do?
Weekends are for dreaming. What better time to think up big, magnificent ideas. The mind is most creative when the clutter of the weekdays are in the past. Today I was given a question that set my creative juices in motion.”What if I were given a plot of land and the financial resources to do anything I want with it?
Wait a minute! This is something many of us dream about. Some folks would build a mega mansion. More civic-minded people might build a playground or park. A dog lover would likely think up new ways to save all the stray dogs in the world.
I am an advocate of living of the land. As such, I have often dreamed of building a housing development in the style of New Urbanism. My development would be designed with sustainability in mind. My version of sustainability would go beyond the stuff of LEED certifications and extend into a true self-sustaining mini economy.
Housing would be a mixture of farmsteads and more densely populated clusters of single and attached homes. The main feature of the development would be a large community farm created to provide the majority of the foods needed to nourish the residents. Chickens, cows, pigs, lambs and other animals would be humanly raised alongside an impressive array of freshly grown produce. We would eat seasonally and hyper local while enjoying the security of knowing where our foods came from.
Jobs would be created within the development and also my leveraging technology (think telecommuting). Products we made from our farm or creations of local artisans would be sold within a 100 mile radius of our location. Our mini economy would be the envy of the world. So much so that copycats would spring up like yogurt franchises in suburban America. However, our “franchise” would be a whole lot better for the people and the planet!
Sometimes a flower is just a flower. Other times a flower is so much more!
Some flowers are edible and offer a tasty treat. Beauty for the eyes and the palate!
This morning I went into the garden to pick some zucchini flowers. I like to pick them early because most of the flowers are open in the AM. Open flowers allow for easy removal of the stamen. You should always remove the stamen before cooking. Open flowers also make it easy to avoid accidentally bringing insects into our home. Many times ants, bees and other winged creatures hide in the flowers and get trapped when the flowers close.
The zucchini flower in the picture below contained a buzzy little pollinator that I had to release carefully into the garden. The flower sounded like a buzzing amplifier! I carefully unfolded the tips of the flower and let the bee escape. I am not allergic to bees, but was still careful to avoid being stung.
No bees were hurt in this post 🙂
friendly, freeloading pollinator in my zucchini flower
Folks who know me well would probably associate me with my trusty hand trowel (small garden shovel). When I am in the our yard I carry it everywhere. I use my hand trowel as a multi-purpose tool. Part shovel, part weed puller, and part soil chopper.
Sometimes this tool is not the right tool for the job, but I use it anyway. It is not because I am too lazy to get the correct tool. There is just something about not disturbing the rhythm of my gardening chores.
So, my personal song might be, “Me & My Trowel” instead of “Me & My Shadow”.
via Object Lesson.
If today were my birthday we would celebrate with a backyard farm to table dinner. Good food, great wines, and a few close friends to spend a long evening with. No clocks, no time limit. Come as you are and stay as long as you can.
Life goes by fast, why do so many of us rush the special times?
via Farm 2 Table Party.
#11 & #12 are about visualization and anticipation respectively.
These two tips are ways to be healthier now and eat healthier in the future. Don’t think we put too much hemp in our granola! Just allow yourself to escape the daily grind and bleak January weather for a few minutes. Take a moment today to dream of warmer days to come. They are just around the corner. Before long you’ll be planting peas, herbs, and greens.
Why think about it in January? This is the ideal time to invest in a little garden planning. A successful gardener has a plan and then executes it. You could say you “plan your garden and then garden your plan”.
Plus, January can be a real drag. The holidays are over and for many of us the weather is no fun. Looking through seed catalogs and sketching out garden plans is a sure way to fast forward to spring and banish the winter blues. How’s that for a healthy pursuit?
There are lots of online tools available to help you plan. However, we are fans of old-fashioned graph paper or notebooks. We take our garden plans right into the garden with us. There is really no better way to ensure you stick to the plan all season long and learn from your experiences too.
Finally, we challenge you to stretch your growing season as far as possible. You can do this through careful crop selection, spacing out seasonal plantings, building cold frames, etc. This way you can eat the healthiest, most local produce possible without breaking the bank at your local organic grocer or farmer’s market.
In the end you should have a well-balanced garden that will provide a diverse group of edible plants for you and your family to eat for most of the year. All that from a small investment of time for planning and anticipation.