Today, I planted soon-to-be seedling veggies.

Today, I planted soon-to-be seedling veggies.

6 March 2021: I filled up 90 pots with organic potting mix. I then poured enough water in the black seedling trays so that some of it would seep up to the seeds that now are at the top of the 3.5-inch deep pots.

I sowed tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and chives. Everything except for the chives is best started indoors under grow lights six to eight weeks before the last frost. The chives can be started indoors but will find their way out to the raised beds as soon as the outside soil can be worked. (In other words, any day now.)

Read more
The Truth About Tomatoes

The Truth About Tomatoes

Without a doubt, a raspberry is a fruit; and a cabbage is a vegetable.  As for a tomato? Well, that’s debatable.

Here’s the skinny.  Whether some edible plants are fruits or vegetables all depends on whether you come at things primarily as a gardener or primarily as a cook.  Gardeners, by and large, use botanical definitions:

Read more
Gardening mistakes helped me become a gardener!

Gardening mistakes helped me become a gardener!

Twenty-seven years ago, when I first started growing food for myself, I made tons of gardening mistakes. In fact, I kind of sucked. I knew next to nothing. Companion planting? What? Soil compaction? No clue. Crop rotation? I knew my uncle did it with the corn, alfalfa, and wheat fields. But I had no clue it was a gardening best practice. And I grew everything in thin rows! Rows upon rows. The space-sensitive-me of today would never dream of growing in thin rows!

Still, I ended my first season of gardening with a freezer full of veggies and lots of knowledge, mostly the product of learning from gardening mistakes, but also a fair amount from books and teachers.

Read more
Bees need good, clean food.

Bees need good, clean food.

Several years ago, I attended a lecture about what can be done to help reverse the decline in bee populations, which has been going on for quite some time in the northern hemisphere. The lecture, “Bees: The New Buzz,” was given by MacArthur award-winning entomologist and University of Minnesota professor, Marla Spivak.

While there were many takeaways, the underlying theme was bees need good, clean food.

Read more
Real Good Food Rundown

Real Good Food Rundown

Imagine a healthy food system that produced enough real good food for everyone. What would it look like? And how would you characterize real good food?

According to the Michigan Good Food Charter, real good food is:

Healthy:  It provides nourishment and enables people to thrive.

Green:  It was produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.

Fair:  No one along the supply chain was exploited for its creation.

Affordable: All people have access to it.

With two more criteria, I agree with this definition.

Read more
My garden mends an anxious mind.

My garden mends an anxious mind.

I have a chronic Anxiety disorder. While it is not always a problem, I frequently obsess about the mistakes of my past and think others pay as much attention to them as my anxious mind does. Also, during difficult times, I can create immense fears of my future, assuming there is no way I can handle what life will throw at me. The emotional, as well as physical, pain of Anxiety can seem overwhelming.

Luckily, there are many tactics an Anxiety-ridden person can use to abbreviate their period of distress. One effective practice is to jostle your mind out of the past or future, focusing, instead, on “the now.” Mind you, this isn’t just “snapping out” of your Anxiety. It is highly intentional and often disciplined work to get your brain to move from swirling around “fight or flight” chemical reactions to either a more neutral or even better place. Some sufferers focus their mind for quite some time on someone or something they are grateful for in order to find relief. Others count how many shades of green they see around them. (No kidding, it can work if you look long and hard enough.) I’ve used both of those tactics successfully. However, the most common thing I do during the summer is to head out to my garden and become fully aware of how my five senses ground me in the present, making the past and future disappear.

Read more
four options to greatly reduce hunger

four options to greatly reduce hunger

Tolerating hunger is ridiculous. There is a menu of options for us to waste not so the currently hungry may someday want not. Here are just four ideas for you to consider:

The National Resources Defense Council reports that 40 percent of the food in America goes uneaten. The report, “Wasted: How America Is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill,” notes that “reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year.”

Read more
Why celebrate the wealth of seed varieties?

Why celebrate the wealth of seed varieties?

a peek into diversity

Several years ago I travelled to Decorah, Iowa to visit Seed Savers Exchange‘s Heritage Farm for the first time.  Before I went, I looked at their calendar of events to find that the annual tomato tasting competition would take place the same weekend.  Cool, right?  Hmmm, questionable for a guy who hates the taste of nearly every raw tomato.  But a little “When in Rome” hit me.  I figured, love it or hate it, I needed to participate along with the scores of other people there.  It would make for a great story, to say the least.  (I’d like to point out that of the 49 tomatoes in the competition — all of which I tasted — I helped pick the winner:  the Igleheart Yellow Cherry Tomato.)

Do the places you shop for food carry 49 different tomato varieties?  Or how many of the roughly 10,000 – 15,000 varieties that exist in the world?  

Read more