July’s Garden

Sometimes you think there won’t be a garden. Winter wouldn’t end this year. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve planted and re-planted beans and cucumbers and carrots and chard because of those blasted critters. And then it happens . . . Horseradish - In the garden

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What’s in the Garden is What’s for Dinner

This time of year, the garden plans my menu. Whatever is ready for harvest is generally what’s for dinner. Our freezer is full of meat from local farms, and tonight we had pork chops with our vegetables. I brined the pork chops for a few hours in a quart of water with 1/4 c. of sea salt, drained them and patted them dry. Then Mike grilled them along with lots of veggies – green beans, broccoli, eggplant, okra and several types of peppers. While he was grilling, I chopped a few fresh tomatoes, a cucumber, a small onion, basil, parsley and oregano and tossed it together with mayonnaise*, salt and pepper and some garlic. Ready in 20 minutes and so delicious! What are you eating from your garden?

*It’s difficult to find a good store bought mayo. If you don’t make your own, this is one of the best I have been able to find.

300 x 250To learn how to build a garden that builds healthy soil, be sure to check out my eBook The Art of Gardening: Building Your SoilYou really can become a better gardener, and you really can grow healthy, nourishing produce. It’s all about the soil! Click here to buy now.

 

Have You Taken a Farm Tour Lately?

Have You Taken a Farm Tour Lately? It’s Great Fun!

I think that Sean Zigmund and Cheyenne Miller are audacious. They have a few acres in upstate NY and they call it a farm. And you know what? It is a farm. These young people know how to work the land so that they are both producing and building soil for the years to come. On the day we visited Root N Roost Farm, they were busy processing duck, but Cheyenne took the time to show us around the farm. (Yes, we emailed ahead of time). On this small plot, they are producing enough to fill 15 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares, in addition to stocking their farm stand and feeding themselves and their apprentices. And they are raising hens for eggs, and pigs, ducks, turkeys, and chicken for meat, and bees for honey and pollination.

Sean Zigmund

Cheyenne Miller

Their raised beds are built using hugelkultur and/or lasagna gardening. And they use hoop houses to extend their growing season (winter CSA shares are available). And if you think they couldn’t possibly fit one more thing on their land, you would be wrong. They recently built two small ponds!

Missing from the farm are tractors or even rototillers. All of the work is done by hand – well, the animals help work the land as well.

While “pretty” or “manicured” would probably not be apt descriptions of their farm, you could certainly ascribe the adjective “resourceful” to these farmers. Their outbuildings are built from pallets, and one of their coops is made from an old truck cap. Sean and Cheyenne know how to recycle or, I should say, upcycle. We’re not talking dog-patch, though. (That’s the probably not politically correct term we use for people whose property is littered with junk that they think they will some day use). No, Sean and Cheyenne put this rescued junk to good use.

As if they aren’t busy enough, they love what they are doing so much that they conduct classes to share their knowledge with others. While you may not live near Root N Roost, you live near a farm. Call them up; take a tour. You’ll learn something, and hopefully you’ll take home some fresh organic produce and eggs like we did.

300 x 250To learn how to build a garden that builds healthy soil, be sure to check out my eBook The Art of Gardening: Building Your SoilYou really can become a better gardener, and you really can grow healthy, nourishing produce. It’s all about the soil! Click here to buy now.

 

Lessons from Cuba: Farming and Urban Gardening

Lessons from Cuba: Farming and Urban Gardening

Before its collapse, the USSR had been providing Cuba with much of its oil, farm equipment, pesticides, fertilizer and food. Cuba, in return, provided them with sugar. All of this ended with the break-up of the Soviet Union. This was a crisis for the small island nation who grew little of its own food (sugar and tobacco were its main crops). Cuba was starving and the average person lost 20 pounds during this time.

By necessity, Cubans began growing their own food. And they did it in every corner of land that they could find.Continue Reading