gabriola garden

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Organic feeding, organic eating

Sara is down on her knees these days, planting tomatoes and peppers, turning the soil in preparation for planting peas and beans. Her kale is ready for eating, and the Brussels sprouts and broccoli are well on their way.

It’s Spring gardening season, and despite the unpredictable nature of our weather, some of her small strawberry plants are already showing red fruit, while her large raspberry bush is full of promising buds. In the flower department, poppies and peonies are trying to outdo each other in rich reds and oranges, while the purple blue shower of catmint flowers is only outdone by the long lasting blessing of the forget-me-not blue star field.

We went through the first signs of Spring—crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils, tulips—and now we’re in the clematis, early rose, bluebells, and lupens period. Sara has dug up large sections of her flower beds, moving things around and redesigning the stone walled enclosures. Yes, after years of having her raised beds enclosed by driftwood, Sara started converting the perimeters of the beds to stone, with a little help from a neighbor. My work and sore back prevented me from helping out.

We had kale—prepared with garlic and slivered almonds—last night, and Sara’s red and green lettuce has been ready for the nightly picking for quite a while. Her sorel has bolted, and ready for trimming. She promised to utilize the second growth to make sorel soup, hopefully sweetened with some honey.

Speaking of honey, we finally spotted some bumblebees among the catmint flowers this week, but still no honey bees. Facebook friends report a similar dearth of the helpful insects, without whom the work of pollination will be very difficult, indeed. Who is to blame? Corporate pesticides, cell phones, or an insidious virus? It’s very disturbing…

Advanced Nutrients, our favorite fertilizer maker, has undergone many changes since we started using their products back in 2006. We hear that their CEO is helping to feed thousands of poor families at Christmas and Easter in Bulgaria these days, and that they are coming out with a brand new line of products to be used with coco coir as a substrate. Since we hardly use hydroponics, we’re still betting on Iguana Juice, Grow and Bloom, to keep our plants and flowers well fed each year! But Sara has switched to a coco fiber seedling pot, which is biodegradable.

She started the kale from seed, BTW, under a very primitive grow light, wick-action hydroponic system, but we had to cut the holes bigger on the bottoms of the coco pots, in order to aid the absorption of water from below. The taste of that wonderful vegetable still lingers on my tongue from last night. By producing some of our own food each year, we are not only saving a bit of money, but we’re taking part in a very exciting global revolution of growing our own—rather than depending on the corporate agri-businesses to supply shrink-wrapped, half-ripe produce for our table.

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posted by Tim at 5:07 PM | 0 comments