To say that I am constantly amazed at the information about life that we pick up in bits and pieces along the way—even in our later years—would be an incredible understatement.
It seems that if we stay connected and keep our ears open, something of interest will inevitably pass our way.
As I have mentioned several times before, vegetable gardening is something that I have done ever since Sandi and I moved to North Carolina in 1978. Our collective journey has been both humorous and highly satisfying. From those early five inch tall corn plants that we didn’t fertilize, right up to this years strawberry harvest and beyond, we have continued to learn the process of growing your own food.
This year, we bought a small greenhouse and began to grow our own plants from seed—a process that we have tried and failed at several times before. It is not that the information for success is not available—it is just spread out over many different sources and people.
What motivated us to plunge in again and get our hands dirty is as simple as it is complex. We have depended on other people for many years to provide something that—given the right political/economic atmospheric conditions—might not always be available.
Big seed companies have created vegetable hybrids that will not continue to produce after their own kind—so saving seeds from your garden year after year has been largely lost to most gardeners. This has spawned a small but growing movement towards open-pollinate/heritage seeds that can be collected and saved year and year and traded with others.
I guess it may be called sustainability.
Anyway, during the process of growing our own plants this 2010 gardening year, I came across a factoid which in turn can be discussed far beyond the scope of this current blog post.
And the fact is that we may be doing things backwards in terms of how we end up growing anything. The culture that I live in is mostly devoted to using chemical and/or organic compounds to feed our plants. This, rather than feeding the soil and letting the soil feed and grow our plants and vegetable crops. It seems that building up our soil for this and future generations has taken a back seat to using 10/10/10 to create a short term green-revolution which is destined to deplete our top soil and increase our dependence on the big oil companies who create these types of chemicals.
What I am saying is that I became aware of the fact that we have slowly lost the ability to really be “self-sufficient” by accepting this approach to gardening and overall farming. We are dependent upon the big growers to provide our local stores with plants, which we put into the ground and feed with stuff also produced by others, ad infinitum.