Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Many Faces of "B"

When I first sat down to write this post, I had a hard time thinking of words relative to farming and agriculture and prepping that started with B. Clearly I just need more coffee, because once I put my mind to it, there were all kinds of ideas.
The obvious first choices are broccoli, beets and beans. Because my family enjoy both raw and cooked broccoli, I'll be planting some and we'll likely freeze it and eat it raw. Beets are enjoyed as well, though I imagine there will be fewer of these since it has fewer fans in our family. These will be easy to put up pickled. Beans are important to both homesteaders and preppers alike. Many people put up bags and bags of them in case they need to one day rely on their own food supplies instead of the grocery stores. Heirloom beans have as an interesting and varied a story as the history of North America. There are dozens of types, colors, shapes and flavors. I'll be growing green beans and yellow wax, and I'd like to grow butter beans and a new-to-me type called "Orca"
(That's them below)
I'm fascinated by the whole process of taking a seed that looks so interesting, planting it and watching it grow, and then discovering what the pod might look like!
Of course, along the way, there will also be bugs, both good and bad. I'll have to learn how to spot the good guys like Brown Lacewings, Ground Beetles and the bad such as the Mexican Bean Beetle, as well as learn how to take out the bad guys in a way that won't do harm to the ecosystem.
Let's not forget bees too. We'll be planting flowers and herbs throughout the yards (front and back) to encourage bees and butterflies to not only visit, but pollinate as well. It frightens me a little to think about the "dead hive syndrome" that so many bee-keepers are hit with. Whole hives suddenly dying off mysteriously, but there is a theory that chemicals insecticides are the killer. Just one more reason why Monsanto's greatest legacy is wrong for the environment and people.

One of our goals for next year is to plant a few more berry bushes. The fruit will help us produce reams of gleaming jars full of jams and jellies. Raspberries, strawberries, locally foraged blueberries, and high-bush cranberries. I always thought of grapes as berries when I was growing up, and those will be planted in a bright sunny spot as well.

One of my goals this fall is to prepare different vegetable beds throughout the yard. I've put a lot of thought into what size beds I'd like to plant. They'll be anywhere from twelve to fifteen feet long and four feet across. These dimensions should allow me to build enclosures to keep out excessive sun (for those cool weather crops like lettuce and peas), cold, and even the chickens on their free-range days. A bed that is only four feet across allows for much easier weeding from either side. In case you're wondering why I don't just plant traditionally, in rows, I plan on instituting a three year crop rotation plan. This will help cut down on soil diseases and pests, as well as allow for green manure plantings.

I suppose there are dozens of other "B" words that relate to life in the Urban Trench, but the goal here is to get you thinking.
What other "B" words can you think of that might relate?

1 comment:

LindaM said...

Interesting. I was just reading this article on BioFlora. You might like it even though we all know most of this: http://www.bioflora.com/soil-microbes