Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Garden Update

We interrupt the sharpening thread to bring you news of the garden. For those of you who are not gardening fans, this must be just as boring as sharpening tools. But gardening is much more fundamental. It involves growing your own food. You see, we are all dependent on a very elaborate production and distribution systems to eat. Eating is the basic human activity. Without it we are dead. People simply go to the supermarket; an interesting term. Where did the food in Safeways come from? Neither you or I have the slightest idea. Even if you follow the precepts of health and avoid processed food, the cabbage you bought in Florida may well have been planted in California. Ridiculous? Not so much. It might actually be cheaper to grow it in Cal and ship it to Fla -- it fuel is cheap enough. And cheap is the name of the game. But if shipping costs rise, and fuel costs rise, then the whole system breaks down. Which is why I plant my garden. I wish, in a word, to be self-sufficient. But enough ranting. (Then again, it's my blog. I will occasionaly put in a rant. Else what's a blog for?)

Now gardening in Alaska is no mean feat. The growing season is extremely short. In Iowa they think of planting on March or April. Hah! In those months I have snow on the ground. But on the other hand, we have a lot of daylight. Just about 24/7. We must compensate. So we plant as early as we can. All a gamble. Most people (myself included) plant Memorial day, end of May, as you have seen from previous posts. I do a lot of transplanting. Stuff grows in my windowsills. I plant in March too. Only indoors!

This is today's picture. I put in the last transplants today, a bit late by my standards. But first I had to get rid of the weeds. An excruciating task. Now everything is in place. The radishes, the carrots.. . and so on. Now this brings up a point. Observe all the dandelions in the picture. Fortunately they are good to eat; they add spice to a salad (if young) and can otherwise be boiled up as a green. Roots are supposed to make a coffee substitute. The French jardins marechières (market gardens) used to grow them as a crop! But I have far too many of them. In suburban lawns, these things are regarded as pests. To me they are a potential resource. Another resource is the lovely wild rose:
You can make Rose Hip Tea out of them. Rich in Vitamin C. Do not neglect the lowly weed. Go read Euell Gibbon's books and see what you are missing.Mr. Gibbon's most famous book is Stalking the Wild Asparagus. There are other books. I no longer give citations, because if you Goooooogle on Euell Gibbons you will get all of them. Dear Suburbanite: do not sweat your dandelions. Eat them instead. You are actually growing an edible crop. But please, stay clear of pesticides. Pesticides are not good to eat at all.

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