Thursday, March 26, 2009

A good book and my gardening plan.

I mentioned in my last blog post that I am finishing reading the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. This is such a interesting book...I am only on page 91 but I know the rest of it will be as good as the first few chapters have been. With the movement for a safe, more sustainable food system in our country gaining momentum I highly encourage everyone to read this book and put some of the ideas in it into practice with your food choices. This week was "eat what we have" week at our house as we are trying to stretch our food budget as far as possible. I decided that starting this weekend we are going to attempt to buy as much locally grown food as we can from the farmers markets and a couple of local farms. There are also some ads on our local Craigslist for eggs that I am going to inquire about. I will see how this works for us...I hope it works well but Emily is a pretty picky eater and getting her to expand her culinary horizons is a bit of a challenge. Stay tuned!

After giving myself a swift kick with my last blog post, I got out and planted some more seeds. Mesclun, sage, parsley, corn, dill and scarlet runner beans. I know they make pretty vines and attract birds; I have to confirm whether they are edible or not (I think they are). There is still time to plant watermelon, okra and several other things down here and I am going to try to accomplish that this weekend. Out with flavorless grocery store produce, in with delicious and nutritious locally grown fruits and veggies!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Am I a wanna be gardener?

I have visions of lush, bountiful containers and beds of vegetables, herbs and flowers - many, many visions. Translating that vision into reality has become a real challenge for me and I'm not sure if I can face the challenge and win. I think it's important to be self sufficient, at least as much as one can in a suburban city with more ordinances and restrictions regarding what you can do on your property than anywhere I have ever lived. I have a quarter-acre of St. Augustine sod complete with sprinkler system. This is not something a person just tills up, so I am using containers. The problem lies in the fact that I'm not using them as well as I could be. I have some tomatoes, cucumbers, basil and a couple of pepper plants in them, but there could be more - SO MUCH MORE! I want beans, peas, eggplant, squash, more peppers, salad greens, lots of herbs. I want to can, dry and freeze my extra harvest. I want to donate some of it to the local soup kitchens and food banks to help those even less fortunate than we are. Things are very tough here in this part of Sunshine State. I was hoping to reduce my food cost by having a large garden but have only made a small dent in the grocery budget. I so need to do this because the cost of groceries continues to go up each week and the quality just keeps declining. I checked out Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver today at the library and am going to finish reading it. Hopefully I will be re-inspired to plant some more seeds and eat more seasonal, locally-grown food.