« Last post by Scrasamax on April 05, 2015, 01:45:25 AM »
I've started gardening.
We (my wife and I) started a modest garden last year, all in the comical pursuit of anaheim peppers. A festive upgrade from a bell pepper, anaheims tend to be hit or miss at the stores here and we had the notion of growing a couple plants so we would have plenty through the Tex-Mex food friendly summer. We ended up starting late in the season, didn't know half of what we were doing, and scraped by with discount plants and good luck. We found it was a very relaxing and soothing thing to do, despite the fact that it was basically back-breaking manual labor.
This is all being done by hand, there is no tractor, no tiller, no internal combustion engines, nothing electric. It's shovels and wheelbarrows, and breaking up soil with our bare hands. There has been a strong connection with the earth (not the hippy Gaia earth, but the dirt and clay) and we've done some reading and found that basically playing in the dirt is biochemically good for your immune system and emotional well being. There are microorganisms and trace elements we absorb in tiny amounts when mucking about in the dirt, and basically iy makes you happy. I've had the insight that we commonly see children playing in the mud and dirt, and older people commonly take up gardening and landscaping, and they are pretty happy doing it. Everyone between those two points, generally speaking, don't play in the dirt and tend to have quality of life and more issues of dissatisfaction, etc.
Our new garden this year is three times as large as last year's venture, plus we are adding above ground boxes to grow some root crops, potatoes and carrots. Our soil is rich, but it is heavy in clay, and that's hard for said plants to thrive in. So above ground boxes with mixed topsoil and gardening soil will be more forgiving to our five color assortment of carrots and blue and purple potatoes. There is going to be an outside the garden expansion of mounds (aka Mound Town) where we are going to plant pumpkins, watermelon, and some other gourds and squashes that are intended to be mounded and not planted in rows.
My wife has gone all in, and we have a stack of seed and plant catalogs a foot and a half tall, and we've ordered some interesting stuff. We are going to be growing rare and heirloom plants, stuff that went out of vogue at the advent of industrialized agriculture. That's where rainbow corn, white and purple carrots, a ton of crazy tomato varieties, lots of peppers and other unusual veggies are being brought out. We had a few last year, like cherokee purple tomatoes. (my hipster is showing, because cherokee purple is much more common this year in that we've found it in several stores as live plants, so it's spreading in popularity. I grew it before it was cool) and have more this year.
The common vegetables we commercially grow today have been selected for short growing periods, heavy production, and a durable biomass that can survive the handling of machines, and a long shelf life. Sound's tasty, our produce has been chosen by which can be best mass produced and picked by machines.
What am I going to do with this surplus of produce?
I'm planning on making my own hot sauce and BBQ sauce, for one. Canning and pickling for another. Some is decoration, I'm growing pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns in October, not buying them. Some is just for s**ts and giggles. I don't even know WTF kholrabi is, but I'm growing it.
That being said, it's taking up a good deal of my free time, and it is physically demanding.
That's reduced my writing in general, and now that things are getting warmer weather wise, I'm probably not going to be as active here. I'll still be around, but I'm not going to be running any forum games, or doing much on the submission front.
I'll be back, more productive here, when the weather turns.
Everyone Stay Awesome