30 October, 2010

Food Gardening

"Humankind, despite its artistic abilities, sophistication and accomplishments, owes its existence to a six-inch layer of farmable soil—and the fact that it rains!"—Anonymous

For the past few months I have not been blogging much. The reason is simple. I have been learning new skills, and improving on old ones. Regular gardening has brought a new element of joy (and nutrients) into my life. I still shoot airguns, but less frequently.

With new activities comes an expanded vocabulary. I now toss around words and phrases such as biochar, open pollinated, organophosphates, community supported agriculture, locavore, food miles, terra preta, humus, beneficial soil organisms.

Growing more and more of the food my family eats has produced remarkable results. My children now love (homegrown) vegetables and would often eat tomatoes and corn right off the plant! But the taste. Incredible. I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the local farmers markets for years. My own homegrown fruit and veg has continuously outperformed the best of the farmers markets in the area of taste. All who’ve tasted have talked about the full flavoured taste of the garden’s produce.

I have started a new garden in tired, overworked, nutrient-depleted soil. This has given me the opportunity to learn how to ‘grow soil’. Utilising inputs such as seaweed, seawater, kitchen scraps, eggshells, spent coffee grounds, expired vitamin and mineral supplements among other things, I have actually created small quantities of the rich ‘black gold’. Twice. And now on my third set.

My family now consumes the bounty of this new garden, daily. I’ll try to post some pix in the coming weeks and months, as I share this journey of joy and learning.

The price of food is on the increase again, and I suspect our garden will play an increasingly more important role in our family’s health and wellness in the coming years.
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