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.


Sadge said...

Another scary sign-o-the-times is that I'm mindful of the "dirty dozen" in the planning, growing and preserving of my own harvest - the produce found to have significant chemical pesticide residues when grown commercially:

bell peppers
grapes (imported from Chile)

TheMartianChick said...

Excellent and timely post! Thanks for the reminder about the dirty dozen, Sadge. I didn't plan to plant any celery this year, but I sure won't buy any at the grocery store now!

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Sadge, excellent reminder! I shudder to think how many chemicals are used on most commercial crops. One only has to look at a commercial farm field and see the total absence of weeds to realize just how many herbicides are used. Scary indeed!

TheMartianChick - I want to encourage people to try growing celery - most gardening articles and writers advise against it, saying it is too fussy...but perfectly good celery can be grown in the home garden. It may be a little shorter, and stronger tasting, but for cooking it can't be beat, and if you can get it to winter over you can raise your own celery seed for pickling, etc the second year!

It is time we gardeners quit trying to produce what is available in the stores, as far as looks and size go, and eat heirloom, more flavorful foods.

Celery is a slow grower, I just potted on my starts last night, and they are about a 1/2" high. But soon they will go into the garden and will mature during the late summer. But I can snip stalks from the outside of the plant all summer long for salad additions and soups! Pretty yummy, and I have yet to ever see any pest problems with celery or celery root. Makes you wonder why it would need any chemical intervention at all...

A good garden center should have starts available.

Country Girl said...

The more and more we do on the farm the less I care to go to town! You move your cattle everyday? We will be getting our fencing real soon so I hope to do something similar. I like the dirty dozen that Sadge posted as well.

Don said...

I want some cattle to move everyday!!

I would settle for a few pigs to chase around.

Great and timely post. I like the addition of the dirty dozen.

What are we eating anyway??!!

Iris E. said...

We belong to a very local CSA on the other side of our town, and always have a small but productive garden of the stuff we just can't get enough of. I love, love, love not having to buy store-bought (from who-knows-where) produce all summer but have still been intimidated by canning.

We freeze food, and I have tried several methods from the book Preserving Food Without Canning or Freezing by the Terre Vivant Collective, which has so many great ideas.

Thank you for the post.