In 2013, I grew Hopi Blue Dent corn. I ordered one package from a small company in Maine, Pinetree Seeds. I planted the corn in the garden area at the top of sunny southern slope, in the piece of land where my sons had grown potatoes last year. ...
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4300 posts in 1899 days
Location: Central Massachusetts
Hardiness Zone: 5b
I garden because I believe growing my own food is empowering, healthy and fun. I enjoy plants for their shapes, colors and textures but I am primarily interested in growing edible plants so that I can provide fresh, healthy food for my family. I am interested in learning new ways to preserve our harvest so that we can enjoy it longer than our growing season permits. I also grow plants to feed and support our livestock, which currently consists of Nigerian dwarf dairy goats, a flock of pastured chickens and a hive of honeybees.
Our family moved to this old farmhouse eight years ago. It was first built in 1738 and was run as a dairy farm into the 1970s. The farmer retired and the farm was broken up and sold. When we moved in, the yard was mostly lawn, with a large wild area in back crowded with small trees, shrubs and tall grasses. I have been trying to turn my two acres, which contains the original farmhouse and barn, back into a small farm using sustainable agricultural practices.
I am learning as I go. I was raised in the suburbs, so farming and increased self-sufficiency are things I have been learning (often the hard way) through research, observation, experimentation and practice.
As Sir Albert Howard concluded so well over seventy years ago,
“Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease.”
-- "...I have nothing against authorities as such; I am only in favor of putting a question mark after just about everything they say." Ruth Stout
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I have been educating myself about breeding vegetables and saving seeds this winter. As I was reading Suzanne Ashworth’s book, Seed to Seed, I stumbled across an explanation for bitterness in cucumbers. The cucumbers I grow often taste a b...
We had a good potato harvest in 2013. Here is a photo of one-third of our total harvest: In 2013, I ordered our Burbank Russet seed potatoes from Pinetree Seeds. We picked the Burbank Russets for several reasons: - We enjoy their taste...
This morning I went out to check my inoculated logs and was pleased to see a fresh bloom of Shitake mushrooms. Here is my harvest: It is difficult to tell the size from the photos but the largest ones are almost three inches across. The s...
In my previous post, I concentrated on the bright, showy fruits of summer that capture our attention with their sweetness and bright colors. Maybe even more important are the vegetables which should make up the majority of our food. So this post...