I want to say sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been trying to find something to talk about so instead of going into a major issue, I’m going to stay close to home. I just want to share some thoughts, experiences, and pictures of the family garden and chickens. Both have grown so much.
Beautiful things are coming out of the garden even this late in the season: the green, yellow, orange, red and purple of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. We have delicious beans, kale, and basil. And as much as I love just watching the plants grow, going into the garden and picking fresh fruits and veggies, I’ve started to think about how much of a difference a garden really makes in the bigger picture. If my family is still buying all of the tomatoes and peppers from farms we’ve never seen or known, does it matter if we’re growing food on top of that? Theoretically, we are having more meals from our own backyard so we probably buy less food from grocery stores, but that amount seems pretty small. I do prefer home-made pesto, bruschetta, and chili from home-grown ingredients to anything store-bought. But I still feel myself wanting a more significant change in our food purchases because of the garden. I am tired of seeing store-bought lettuce in the fridge when we have so much great kale in the garden. So, I’ve come up with a goal for next summer’s (and this winter’s) garden. as soon as the first of a given vegetable is ripe in the garden, I want to stop buying any of that vegetable from the store up until the end of the season. I’ll probably have to start eating less of something for a while until there’s a lot available in the garden. But isn’t that what happens for anyone who actually lives off the food the grow? I look forward to trying it out, even if it proves a little tough.
Another idea I really like is tracking and keeping records of whatever we grow in our garden. We can write down what worked well, what we liked, a crop’s yield in a given week. I think it’s a really cool way to improve your garden from one year to the next, to have it grow and change as you try new plants but stick to the time-tested ones too. For example, I don’t think my family has ever had much luck with watermelons or pumpkins. We usually end up with just a few disappointing small fruits toward the end of the season. But I’m sure if we tried out different varieties and growing methods, we could figure out which type works best for us and how to care for it.
One of my favorite new things happening in my backyard is the relationship between the chickens and garden. Whatever tomatoes partially rot on the plant or lettuce gets a little eaten by bugs I can give to the chickens. One day I picked an apple and realized it had a few worm holes in it by some pest so I called the chickens over and offered it to them. They all gathered round and loved it. I’m so happy to think I’ve created a little cycle which gives the chickens a varied and delicious diet while getting rid of any waste from the garden. So far their favorites are apples, grapes, and tomatoes, but I’m always trying new things. Check out the pictures of the chickens and the garden above.
Great, first hand knowledge of production benifits. And also the personal ‘mind and soul’ benefits. This is the part that often goes un-realized. As we were farmers before capitalists, the human soul benefit of this process of appreciation is rewarding. Even if we don’t realize it and even greater when we do.
Love this post, Simon! Our tomatoes are still hanging on, too!