This spring and summer, I don't plan to have a vegetable garden. I may hide a few plants here and there in the rest of my gardens if I can't completely restrain myself, but the veggie plot itself is being planted over with grass in March.
Shocked? Surprised? Wondering what on earth I am thinking?
Well, the reasons are many.
1. The soil in my garden has been severely compromised by last year's fungal blight that rocked the Northeast US. It affected my beans, tomatoes and potatoes, and that soil will be infected for about 3 years they say, and I can't grow those crops during that time.
2. We have a baby coming in oh, a week or two, and plan to put the house on the market in the Spring after we do some final fix-ups. This means I should be spennding time beautifying the flower gardens and rest of the house/yard, not the veggies... While I love my veggie garden, it is not particularly attractive.
3. Last summer with the constant rain and being in the first trimester of pregnancy, I did almost no weeding on our property, which turned into a jungle. I have major work to catch up on to make it nice again.
4. We have more veggies than we can eat coming in from our organic CSA, plenty to can and eat. A veggie garden of my own is a fun and provides more to can and dry, but is not totally necessary.
5. Hopefully the house will sell quickly, which would mean we wouldn't get to reap our harvest anyways.
6. Mainly, I'm forgoing the garden this year with an eye to the future: next year, and for years to come, I hope to be living somewhere that I can plant the full garden I want, have the farm animals I want, and live the dream :)
For example: modern turkeys that are used on most meat farms and sold in most hatcheries have been bred to have such large breasts that the males can not longer mount the females to mate naturally: they must be artificially inseminated. Many of the most commonly sold chicken breeds on the market no longer care to hatch and raise their own young -- quite simply, the desire has been bred out of them. Some larger animals have lost some of their natural foraging and mothering instincts, along with natural disease resistance. Many pigs on large farms are being born with poor leg structure, because the breeding sows don't need to walk or even turn around in their cubicles to gestate, and no one is noticing that their legs are weak and being passed on to their young. Holsteins have been bred with overactive pituitary glands which stimulate exorbitant milk production that is results in milk laced with similarly raised amounts of growth hormone -- making more milk than an average family could ever drink in a day.
For these and many other reasons, a lot of people think its important to assure the survival of the "old" breeds which may not be super-producers but tend to be more disease resistant and better suited to life on small farms or homesteads. Smaller cows such as Jerseys and Guernseys are easier to manage and produce milk in quantities that are better suited to family use. Pigs that know how to forage are better suited to pasture life and may feed themselves for free, especially if you have great stand of oaks for them to rummage through. Baby chicks that are reared by their mamas grow up to be good mothers, too, eliminating the need to buy incubators and monitor hatching. Life on a farm, even a small one, is a lot of work: why not choose animals that help out and simplify matters wherever possible?
Even scientists are getting in on the action. Check out this NY Times article about a heritage breed sperm bank: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/06/dining/06frozen.html?partner=rss&emc=rss
Hoorah, I have found two great places to print out coupons:
I have also signed up at a couple places that are supposed to send lots of great coupons every month -- we'll see how those live up to their reputation. If they are any good, I will post them here. In the meantime, I have lots of good coupons printed out now for healthy cereals, some pillsbury cresent rolls, progresso soups, and more -- and it only took me about 15 minutes to go through both sites, choose what I wanted and print them up. They print all coupons that you "clip" at the end, so that it saves paper, too.
In South Korea, Drinks Are on the Maple Tree
By CHOE SANG-HUN
Published: March 5, 2009
HADONG, South Korea — At this time of year, when frogs begin stirring from their winter sleep and woodpeckers drill for newly active insects, villagers climb the hills around here to collect a treasured elixir: sap from the maple tree known as gorosoe.
For centuries, southern Korean villagers like Mr. Park have been tapping the gorosoe, or “tree good for the bones.”
In this they are not alone. Some people in Japan and northern China drink maple sap, and birch sap has its fans in Russia and other parts of northern Europe. But no one surpasses southern Koreans in their enthusiasm for maple sap, which they can consume in prodigious quantities.
Today, villagers usually drill holes in the trees and insert plastic spouts. A maze of plastic tubing carries the sap to holding tanks downhill.
Mr. Kang, the researcher, says careful tapping is harmless. To ensure this, the national forest authorities recently began requiring licenses for sap collectors and regulating the number of holes they can bore into each tree.