So many books and so many different ideas. I try to read the books for information that is sensible. I love organic books, permaculture books etc, but the truth is I haven't got the time or energy to worry about the cycles of the moon or burying things into the ground I just want to grow fruit and vegetables. Whether or not there is a scientific base to half of what I have read over the years I don't know... There is a vast array of ideas and concepts in books, some more scientific that others and I am not agreeing or disagreeing with any of them I just think it is good to put our brains into gear and say what do all these books agree upon. What are they saying that it the same. Do that! There are some things that crop up in most of the books I have read, it is more than science or theory, it is the experience and knowledge from years of growing. Now that is gold. My favourite authors are the ones who are sharing their love of gardening and the discoveries they have learned over the years.
One of the early gems I read in a gardening book was this: Grow things you like to eat. I have grown exotic vegetables, well they are exotic to me, kohlrabi and artichokes and even though I have eaten them when I am out I have found myself at a loss to try and work out how to use them at home. With the kohlrabi - I might give it one more go as I have found someone who loves it and has eaten it on a regular base in Holland so maybe I will learn the best way to eat it from her. With the artichokes, I never quite got the hang of telling when they were ready and missed the boat periodically with them, but the flowers were worth it. I might grow artichokes once more just to enjoy the beauty of their flower. Bees just love their attractive flower also. But this brings me back to the point of this paragraph. In my last house, (which we have rented out as we have the opportunity to lease a seven hectare block,) I got carried away with growing strawberries. In the end there must have been in excess of two hundred plants. We were picking a bowl of strawberries everyday. I never had to make a desert for visitors. Strawberries pay a handsome reward. So when it comes to thinking about what to grow think about what you want to eat. Don't plant a mile of silver beet, unless you really love it, spinach is so much more palatable.
It is true, we need to get back into growing our own food. It is worth it financially, physically and therapeutically. The rewards far out weigh any mistakes and occasional failed crops. Over the years of practice you learn shortcuts to watering and maintaining the garden and it gets easier and easier and I venture to say even more pleasurable. One of my main focus's when gardening now is thinking about how much I want to produce of any one crop and how often. Silver beet is a classic old fashioned vegetable that is not my personal favourite, but there are times when I have had so much growing that it is just wasted anyway. I do put it into soup and feed the rabbits (which we grow for meat) but really how much it too much. I think it is worthwhile to do a little planning and I am currently working on a plan which will put vegetables on my plate every day of the year, especially food I like to eat.
It is now October, I still have enough potatoes to see me through till the next crop. I think I still have enough carrots in my fridge. We have had spinach producing throughout winter and the spring onions have done exceptionally well after the onions ran out half way through winter. I probably gave away too many - I had grown at least two for everyday. I was too generous with my crop. The parsnips were late but delicious. We moved into this property last December so I was really pushing to get the garden working. Fortunately I had planted the onions and carrots while the previous tenants were here.
We just ran out of honey but that was not bad for a first year and we managed to catch a swarm so hopefully our honey production will double. I bottled miles of blackboy peaches but I find we don't eat them the same as when the children were small. I have some black currant syrup over still but I think it has turned into a liqueur now.
I missed the grapes from our old house and the feijoas but because we don't own the property we are on I am reluctant to plant out the fruit trees and vines, but I am trying an experiment with grapes in pots and I am going to espalier them. Here's hoping!
I now have miles of garlic in and some onions but I am struggling as I work on my new paddock garden. I have tried double digging the plots as I go but have found the battle with couch not very rewarding so far. I have been determined never to use poison again but am quietly promising myself, after one spray on the paddock maybe then I can be organic. If I spray then hire a rotary hoe, another thing I haven't wanted to do, at least then I will have a plot weed free to work on. I have miles of seedlings in, tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinis, pumpins, melons, lettuces, basil, corn..... the list goes on...But I need somewhere to plant them when the frosts are over. There almost isn't enough time in the day. But it is great to spend time outdoors and I am sure it will all work out.
I love composting and also have two very productive worm farms which thrive on horse poo especially and we have plenty of that as we graze out a few paddocks. We have a little herd of dexters, three cows (one has calved, two to go) and two steers. I have mentioned our rabbits already, we have one buck and three does who are producing lots of little ones (Currently have two does who have just had babies and ten rabbits at eight weeks old and six that are five weeks old.)
I hope we don't have to move too suddenly from our lease block but we can never go back to just our house and garden although we lived off our previous garden very successfully.
I joined Ooooby because I love the idea of encouraging one another and collectively learning how to do things. It is great to discover what people are trying and learn different ideas. Enjoy the journey in your garden.