March 9, 2009

On Grains, Soils & Pantries

I'm currently planting seedlings for our new garden, primarily lettuces and broccoli. Once they've begun to germinate I'll place them under the new grow-lights I built and installed in the basement (I'll place pics later).

We did a bit of a seed swap yesterday at our get-together and I picked up almost 20 new organic heirloom varieties. I'm most excited by the Amaranth, which is a native grain that's been used for thousands of years for food production. Our friends said that the six plants they grew last year produced about five paper grocery sacks of grain. Not bad! I'm excited to see what kinds of breads my wife could concoct with those yields.

All of this is causing me to update my plans for the garden, which currently includes two 4' x 8' raised beds and a single 4' x' 4' raised bed for herbs. We'll also have a number of containers, including a large pot for strawberries (wahoo!).

We blessed that God has placed us in the middle of one of the richest growing areas (read: incredible soils) on the planet. These rich alluvial soils have made our area the heart of the heartland and the softest, sweetest roll in the middle of the breadbasket of the world. People I know around here do absolutely nothing to the soils in their suburban backyards and they're growing big, strong healthy plants, year in and out.

I now have seeds for 79 different vegetable and herb varieties. Naturally, planning for that many varieties (we'll never use all of them this year, I know) is a fair bit complicated, so I'm trying a Web-based software solution to help me plan it all out. I'll let you know how it works out later.

Building Up The Pantry

We're also working hard to expand and grow our pantry. Our goal right now is to have six months of food stored for our family of six. In in the event of an emergency, that will certainly carry our family through, as well as enable us to help our friends and neighbors. After all, it's all about family and community, right?

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