Monday, September 13, 2004

14 Sept 04 Tomatoes, Garlic, Aliums, Sustainable Systems, Intergalactic Sustainability Awardgalactic

14 Sept. 04 Tomatoes, Garlic, other aliums, sustainable systems

Yesterday I brought most of the tomatoes in. Many are green, now ripening on the porch.The ground hogs were getting quite a few of them. I left the smaller ones, but the days are getting too short for serious ripening of a Mediterranean fruit. I have been taking plants in the house for a transition to fall gardening. I planted out the garlic and some onions, putting some in pots to raise on the porch this winter and have fresh onion greens this winter. I usually wait until later in the fall to plant garlic, but I am going away and need to get things squared away. I wonder if the garlic will get bigger if it has more of a head start.

My neighbor, who’s father was an organic farmer, took all of his beans and tomatoes out and roto-tilled his eastern bed last week. He is going to plant a cover crop. For one thing, he has canned more than he needs for the year. For another his wife is tired of the extreme productivity of his organic methods. Plus the pesky ground hog is marauding a lot. The GH. has over turned some of my puny fences and helped himself to the lettuce and broccoli and also found a way to get to the pot I had growing up high inside of a bin. He has not yet gotten to the squash in the garbage bin, but it may be for lack of trying.
Getting the marginal production in the vegetable garden may be too much trouble for a gardener who is more of a farmer. Alan is looking at mega-issues such as soil fertility. He plants by the phases of the moon, just like his father did. I enjoy seeing how he works. I could use a little order to the muddle that is my garden. It is not really muddle. I am looking at how things work and reinventing the wheel, as we say. We do not know enough about the ecology of our urban part of the world. Our pipe and pond drainage and obsession with lawns is unsustainable. I enjoy muddling and puttering in the direction of urban sustainability. The complexity of natural systems around here is under studied. It will take some muddling to find sustainable systems.
I have always planted vegetables and probably always will. I cook from the garden, I can’t make a meal with much else but a grain and legume and what ever is in the garden these days. My salads are fab, until the lettuce goes to seed, must plant more. I probably ought to think more about raising food, but am transfixed by other gardening issues. I haven’t even gotten peaches to can this year. We don’t have a lot of food put by for the winter, we do have raspberries in the freezer, thanks to Dale.
These days I like to raise crops of native perennials and plant rain gardens. I noticed the down spouts at the church lead straight into the sewer system. Me and Caroline have taken the ecological gardening course over at SOCWA and know better that to leave it like that. Convincing the powers that be over at the church to let us change things and make a demonstration garden will take talking on point for sustained periods. Meantime, I want to raise some Hosta for the grounds and put in some of the Sweet William I have started, etc. The more the grounds are beautified, the more open the church people will be to a demonstration rain garden. If we put up a sign, maybe they’ll go for it.
Empty nesters don’t need to be quite so focused on what goes in to these old bodies. When the kids were little, I wanted to feed them well. It wasn’t easy to do this in the city. Organic food is now available at super markets. This concept was unheard of when the kids were little and I spent a lot of time shopping and getting food and maintaining Co-ops just to try to feed those young bodies. I did the best I could. It is no longer my department. I am interested in the food distribution system, but I am also interested in sustainable gardening and raising my own, also how doing so fits in to an ecosystem. I want to go for that inter galactic sustainability award, learn to extend the season and raise food closer to home. Gotta go.


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