Sunday, 19 April 2009

Garden like you can't go to the store

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

Spring brings the grazing season, and a brand new schedule. Moving the cattle each day to a fresh paddock, requires the blogger farmer must first make that paddock. So this is a recycled post from my personal blog. I apologize to my regular readers for the repeat, but the information is very timely whether you are just starting your garden for the season, or are tucking your harvest away.

I know I can still go to the store, but I can’t buy heirloom seeds that were handed down to me, or even if I purchase seeds, they may not be of the highest quality. I try to conduct my gardening like the store may not always be there, that way I won’t be in for such a shock.
Plant a variety of things your family will eat, and a little more than you think you may need. That way if something fails, you might just have enough. Look for varieties that produce small amounts for an extended period, and also strains that put on a concentrated crop, just for preserving. If you belong to a CSA, and there is a particular vegetable that you favor, grow more of that. Order extra seeds so you can fill in gaps in your garden beds with successive crops - good candidates are quick growing greens and radishes or succulent salad turnips. Grow a couple of extra cherry tomatoes for quick snacks - Peacevine Cherry has gamma-amino butyric acid to calm your jangled nerves. After a hectic day though, just being in the garden can be soothing enough.

Victory Garden logo from Victory Garden Supplement specially written for The New Garden Encyclopedia, 1943

Objectives in Victory Gardening - from the Supplement. To repeat, the result most wanted from a home garden is a long-season supply of a variety of food crops richest in vitamins, minerals, and other strength-giving materials, most of which can be consumed fresh, when they are most nutritious and delicious. Next there should be planned surpluses of crops that can be dried, canned, put up in other ways, or, at the end of the season, stored in pits or cool cellars for use during the winter.

Crops should be chosen, first, on the basis of nutritive value and the probability of shortages; next, they should be those that give the largest yields per unit of space, time, and effort; third, they should be easy to grow and of a reliable type - the Victory Garden is not the place for experiments or for fussy delicacies; finally, an attempt should be made to have sufficient variety to please the tastes of all in the family. Location, climatic, and soil conditions will naturally have to be considered, for nothing is gained by trying to make a particular crop grow where the circumstances are unfavorable.

For smoky and congested districts of Chicago, the Metropolitan Area Committee suggests carrots, kale, beets, turnips, collards, Swiss Chard, mustard greens, leaf or Cos lettuce, radishes, bunch onions grown from sets, endive and parsley. In more open outlying districts, there can be added tomatoes, lima and snap beans, cabbage, parsnips, broccoli, kohlrabi, peas, peppers, spinach and salsify.

… gardening, in difficult times must be resourceful, ingenious, economical, and more than ever efficient. Ways must be found to accomplish more with less, to get the most out of every seed packet, every implement, every bushel of harvest, and every half hour spent in the garden… .

Whew - that is almost scary, those words should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind today.