Tag Archives: organic

Garden Planning – Stage I

While it’s only January, spring is right around the corner in many ways. When you want to try to live off from your land through the majority of the year, the earlier you begin your garden planning, the better. For us, it’s become a thing where we tend to wait until the last minute to decide where things are going to go and what we’re going to plant. This year we really want to get a good jump start on things and hit the road running.

Pumpkin plants from last year (2010).

Last year we planned on growing everything from our own seeds, but that didn’t pan out so well. The pumpkins we started indoors didn’t take and the seeds we planted were hit y an early frost. (That’s what I get for trying to beat the geese.) We had to purchase seeds from the local Agway store so that we could continue onwards. Those that we were able to harvest our own seeds from were the pole beans, bush string beans, and pie pumpkins. This year we’re going to wait a little longer to start seedlings (except for the potted plants) and hopefully keep enough seed for next years crop, barring any issues with planting and harvesting.

Our store of seeds looks like this right now:

  • Boston Pickling cucumber
  • Dwarf gray sugar peas
  • Small sugar pie pumpkin
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Early girl tomatoes
  • Sugar ann snap peas
  • Staight eight cucumber
  • California wonder green peppers
  • Pole-style string beans
  • Bush-style string beans
  • Mixed herbs
  • Mixed lettuce
  • 1 Garlic bulb

It looks like the only seeds that we’ll actually have to get at some point will be those for the corn. That is, if we decide to try growing corn again. Last year we lost the entire crop to the crows when it came time to pick it. If we harvest it a little earlier, we might get lucky.

It’s going to be a long wait until the first full moon in May!

Natural Hydration

While staying hydrated is something that is vitally important in daily living, sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of such when life gets busy. Every now and then we have minor issues with hydration. Normally this family rectifies it by drinking down a huge jug of electrolyte-added soft drink designed for athletes. When trying to lead a natural lifestyle, this is kind of a sore spot when you think of the added colors, corn syrup (which one family member is allergic to), and the artificial additives that abound in these drinks.

Until now. While wandering through Hannaford, this grocery shopper noticed that there is something new on the market. Something that she was surprised to find, but very happy about given that she already knows it’s something she can stomach.

O.N.E. Drinks, out of California, has started selling packaged coconut water. Potassium, sodium, and magnesium, and calcium are all important electrolyte makers. Coconut water naturally has all four of these.

O.N.E. Coconut Water

100% natural coconut water
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 11.2 Fl. Oz.(330ml.)
Servings per Container: 1
Amounts Per Serving
Calories: 60 Calories from fat: 0
Total Fat 0g 0% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 0g 0%
Sodium 60mg 2%
Potassium 670mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%*
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%*
Sugars 14g
Protein 1g
Calcium 40mg 4%
Phosphorus 17mg 2%
Magnesium 25mg 6%

Not a significant source of vitamin A,
vitamin C, calcium, or iron.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a
2,000 calorie diet.

Gluten free
Gently pasteurized

While the flavor is still has that odd bitter after-taste of regular coconut, it was much more pleasing to drink than the tart soft drinks that I have had in the past. It was just dry enough of a feel that it left you thirsty and either wanting more coconut water or regular water.

Add in the concept of a container that contains no BPAs, is recycable, and can easily stack in the pantry, and I think this might become a household stable for “emergency” re-hydration purposes.

Grow-your-own and Foraging

This year has been a pretty productive one for our freezer! Between the gardens, my summer counseling job, and picking, our freezer is stocked! From the garden alone we’ve already either eaten or put up (or both)…

  • 11 cups of snow peas (6 frozen, 3 eaten, and 2 remaining in the fridge)
  • 5 cups of string beans (all eaten)

This is only the start! Yesterday we pulled the potato plants due to some illness killing the tops off, only to end up with an 8:1 ratio of picked to planted. I now have roughly 40 pounds of ‘taters to clean, blanch, and freeze.

At work the program provided kids with bagged lunches from one of the local school systems. Apparently kids these days do not like veggies. I couldn’t see throwing away carrots and apples as they were perfectly good and, had they gone bad waiting to be processed, could be placed into the compost bin. This scrounging gave us…

  • 26 cups of baby carrots (22 frozen, 4 eaten)
  • 10 pounds of apples in the fridge

Between rhubarb from the Raymond property in New Sharon, fiddleheads from the neighbor’s property near them, and pick-your-owns, our freezer is well stocked.This doesn’t even include what we’ve eaten from this list or what I’ve already made quick-jams out of!

  • 8 cups of fiddleheads
  • 16 cups of rhubarb
  • 36 cups of strawberries
  • 28 cups of blueberries

I’m hoping that next week we can scrape up the money for me to either get a large canning pot or that I can figure out a way to do it without. I know I definitely don’t want to play in that hot water without the canning tongs! Regardless of how I do it, we definitely have more than enough to do some canning with.

Aside from all of this, we had an insect start eating away at our potato plants. They were pulled out of the ground about three weeks ago. From planting five pounds, we now have 40 lbs of potatoes! We couldn’t have asked for a better ratio. As far as grubs went, only one or two potatoes had been touched.