Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our September Garden September 14th

Our small garden was nearly bare a month ago. Now it is about 1/2 full of fall crops, most of which are at least partially frost hardy. We are getting new crops of beets, chard, green beans and spinach. First fruits again! Lettuce will be ready in a week or so.
The back garden is yielding last fruits of potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes. It will provide a huge number of peppers until frost. On the other hand, we harvested our first tomatilloes just this week.
I used all of the compost from the past year as dressing between the rows of the small garden. I still haven't figured out compost. We put SO MUCH material in the compost bin and ended up with just a bushel or two of compost. Then, when you incorporate it into the garden or add is as a top dressing, it continues to decay - substantially. Within a year or so, most of it is gone. I don't understand how this creates and sustains a balance of soil humus. It seems you have to constantly add organic material to the soil. In an established prairie or forest, replenishment occurs constantly and naturally - but in a garden or a farmed field?
Last Friday night Mickey and I attended a meeting to discuss "food justice." It's a very broad topic that includes legislation, buying habits, agricultural practices, consumer education, the problem of the underfed and the growing problem of the overfed. Everyone that attended took a couple minutes to talk about their food background and their vision for the group. The stories were remarkably diverse, and they accurately described the many facets our food culture. We are not sure where the group's passion and skills will take us, but there seems to be plenty of options.
This past week our granddaughter, Elsa, volunteered to help for a few minutes. She trimmed some of the greens, taste tested the soil, and showed us how to handle tiny seeds with her tiny hands. Quite impressive for a city girl.

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