Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 8 - a little late

I didn't like what I'd written for day 8 - it may make a better day 1 so I started over. I guess it's sort of like the House who are going to have to look at that *(&^ bailout again. Maybe I'm glad I don't have a crystal ball - just enjoy today.

Mrs. Neighbor and I made a FINE salsa last night. We also made a pact to sit down with families and Mexican food and margaritas before winter sets in for the next half of the year - we've been spending a lot of time standing beside the sink and in front of the stove this latter summer.

I've had some requests for a garden post and must admit, I'm not sure which end to pick that baby up. There is so much information on gardening all around - including in talking with older folks puttering in their yards nearby. Yes, garden. Please garden. A couple of years ago we had some very lean times and put up a raised bed in a sunny corner of our lawn. We built it with scrap lumber and hauled in manure and dirt. I gardened that 8" x 16" spot in a passionate way, succession planting and intensive planting and we ate from it nearly everyday for 4 months and had a few things lasting longer. A garden saved many a family in the Last Depression. Garden because it connects you to the food that sustains you and roots you to the land that supports you.

I'm hauling the food out of my garden literally by the bucket load. However, the land, the seeds, and the water weren't mine - they belong to a neighbor who is too elderly to do the garden he's always grown and I showed up in time to plant. They want some fresh food for the two of them - we have enough for the entire block grown on that 1/2 acre, and indeed we are feeding many people. I can only hope to be able to garden that ground another year.

You don't have to have a big spot. By now I imagine that everyone is familiar with the Dervaes Family and their inspiring bouny on a regular urban lot. People have also been doing a great deal with container gardening in buckets from bakeries, old tires and raised beds.

I can assume my feeling overwhelmed even talking about gardening is what some folks are feeling about starting gardening. After all there are wonderful materials about forest gardening, permaculture, lasagna, cold frames, no dig, double dig....and guerrilla gardening. I'd say, look at your space: you need sunshine, soil, water, and nutrients.

If you have any question about contaminants in your soil, have it tested. There is a great picture in this month's Mother Earth News about gardens that have been planted year after year in bags of garden soil sliced down the middle. Plant what grows in your area and what you will eat first and store second. Jump in. Start somewhere. Don't be easily discouraged. Talk to old folks puttering in their yards. Only then will you begin to know about your land and ability to grow. You can always get more complicated later, but if you don't start you don't get anywhere.

I have the book Gardening when it counts: gardening in hard times but immediately came on two major road blocks: 1. the fertilizer he recommends has been flat impossible for me to obtain the ingredients - even extending my search area by 150 miles. 2. During the time I was looking for the soil amendments, I realized that the author was giving advice that was contrary to my soil type here and adding what he suggested would have been disastrous. As a beginning gardener, I didn't realize this for a while.

I'll move on to using the book, Four Season Harvest once storing the produce from my current garden is done.

Edit Something I had forgotten in this post is the necessity of storing seed. If we are indeed preparing for an unknown disaster or long-term disruption, it is important to have next year's garden seed in. Order Heirloom seeds for you area and store them as you would store food. We favor the Seed Trust company for seeds.


Christy said...

I started reading The Four Season Harvest last night to try to figure out what I can plant when we get to GA next month.

Fleecenik Farm said...

Four Season harvest is my bible! We had the most delicious spinach last January when a thaw hit our Zone five in Central Maine.

Anna M said...

Four Seasons Harvest for me too up here 4 blocks from Canada. It really does help to read gardening books that are written by someone in your local area. There is a great Vermont gardening book I got from Amazon for my husband for his birthday last year, can't remember the name but it was a fine book about this area.

MeadowLark said...

I'll have to try this book. We're zone 4. Yuck. My retirement dream is anywhere in zone 6 or maybe even 7!

Verde said...

One thing that I have fogotten to say is how important it is to use heirloom seeds and to store seeds. If you are starting from scratch, order seeds to put away just as you would food.

I'm glad others have liked the 4 season book. We're a 5a zone, but alkali soil.

Diana R.Smith said...

We are fortunate to live about 60 miles from Baker Creek and as soon as the new catalog shows we'll drive over there and get our seed supply. Plan to buy 3-4 pkts. of everything and store in ammo can in dark closet. We save all kinds of seeds each year and here in zone 6B we can do alot of fall gardening plus we plant in deep flats in our good for spinach and lettuce year round. Mutti

Anonymous said...

I have good friends with less money for prepping. I sent them early Christmas presents. One was a HWB canner and another was Four Season Harvest. They live in New York.
Winter is the best time to grow things in Florida. We grow all the cole crops, carrots, peas and greens in the winter. I plan for this garden to be my best.
Cindy in FL

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Another good book for survival gardening is GARDENING WHEN IT COUNTS by Steve Solomon. He was the founder of Territorial Seeds before it became, uh, well, what it is now. Very good subsistence advice for anyone, in any area.