Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Summer of Sustainability

We're reaching the height of summer in our garden, and most of our crops are starting to produce signs that we'll at least get some small harvest this year. After having to replant the corn so many times, I'm not sure if we will get anything out of them, especially the sweet corn, but perhaps the field corn will work out since it can stay on the stalk longer. Our green beans are budding, and the squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins, tomatoes, and peppers are blooming. We have one small green tomato, our blueberry bushes have berries that are beginning to turn blue, and the strawberry plants are sporadically putting out one berry at a time. We have some lettuce and spinach coming up, and we just planted some peas. The basil and other herbs are also doing very well. Unfortunately, it appears that the apple tree has a case of powdery mildew, so we are going in search of an organic cure this weekend.

All in all, I think our first foray into vegetable gardening is going pretty well. Next year we'll get an earlier start and hopefully we'll have lots of good compost to amend the soil with. We're planning on growing some winter barley after the crops are done this fall. Once we start harvesting, we'll keep track of how much we get, so that next year we can have a better estimate of how many plants we need to be able to eat plenty of fresh veggies in the summer and also put some by for the winter. We are also in the planning stages of getting a couple of Buff Plymouth Rock chickens in the spring.

To supplement our homegrown veggies and fruits, we're getting all of our produce from the local Amish farms. We're also purchasing organic milk and butter from grass-fed cows from a local company called Natural by Nature, pasture raised angus burger from Dr. Elkins' farm, and free range chickens from Rumbleway Farm. We're weeding out most of the processed foods from our pantry, and doing our best to buy local as much as possible. Our efforts to help support sustainable agriculture may be small, but we are certainly enjoying them!

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