Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Weeding, "eggs and vegetables" for dinner and food security.

This morning was very cold.  I didn't see any frost (it might have been too wet from the previous rain) but it was certainly cold until the sun came over the trees and into the yard.  I needed to do some weeding.  The rain gives the weeds a real boost, along with the vegetables.   I waited until the air warmed up a bit and then went out to first cut some wood.   That's a good way to warm up as well.  Even with the chainsaw it's a good way to get warmer.   I have cut a wheelbarrow load... some in longer pieces to go in the big fireplace in the living room and the usual "cooking" wood for the kitchen.  Those pieces have to fit through the door at the front of the stove,  and need to be a particular size and shape.

Once that was done,  and I was feeling a bit warmer,  I went down to the onion patch to do some weeding...
... it's not as easy to see now,  with the shadow across the garden,  but there are tow rows of onions on the LHS,  then two rows of garlic (these are larger as they have grown from bulbs) and then a few potato plants.  This patch was covered with stinging nettles and a few sour sobs.  My hands are still tingling.

Further along are the most recent broad beans that I have planted.  Even these are growing bigger by the day now...
.... the ones near the shed are still the biggest and I'm sure it's due to the warmer soil there.  I pulled a few nettles out of this patch oto,  but they are still quite small and hard to get quickly.  Once the beans are bigger,  the weeds won't have much of a chance here.

We have lots of broccoli.  This piece is big enough to pick,  but I'll leave it for a few days while we eat some others.  This one is one of those that came from the garden shop as a poor sick plant (one of six in a punnet) that they gave to me for nothing as they were so sick and not expected to live.  They are all alive and doing well.
I soaked then in Seasol for a couple of hours before I planted them and gave each of them a handful of "blood and bone"  and they have all done well.

New seeds have emerged during the rain too...  carrots....
...  more spring onions...

... and the green peppers are still trying to produce!
And the eggplants are still flowering profusely though it's a bit too cold for them to set any fruit.  I hope the plants survive the winter.  It's often too cold and they die,  but you never know.

Then off around the garden... and quite a few things are flowering... the lemon verbena...
... the red salvia...
and another lavender (Allards lavender) which is the biggest one...  it usually grows quite tall and is altogether a much bigger plant.
While weeding this morning,  I was pleased to find enough food for dinner tonight.  The whole meal will be straight  from the garden tonight, and that's a good feeling.  
While I was weeding,  I was thinking about the people that are trying to clean up an oil spill just to get back to "normal" production of fish and food.  I was listening to a podcast from "Diet Soap"  with Dmitry Orlov.   The oil spill is shocking.  The damage and lack of control over this oil blowout and explosion is bad enough,  but even worse,  it is indicating that we are past peak oil.  If there was any easier way to meet the demand for oil,  then this would not be the "oil of choice."  The reason that such deep and difficult oil is being used is that all of the "easy stuff"  is already gone.  The fact that our food system relies so heavily on oil should be frightening... though I think that people just don't want to know, or to think about it.  
According to Orlov,  when the USSR "collapsed" and Russia lost much of its access to oil,  apparently the crops were grown, but there was not fuel available to harvest them,  and much of it rotted in the fields.  This sounds incredible,  but it happened there and who knows whether it could happen here.
Our food production is dependent upon oil for planting, harvesting, producing and applying fertiliser, and then transporting it to the supermarkets where we all expect to be able to find everything that we need.   It is not so easy to grow food,  especially enough to sustain a family. It takes practice.  It has taken me some years to work out how to produce as much as I do... and to improve the soil to the point that it is fertile and able to be maintained with minimal cheap and local inputs from chickens, horses cows or sheep.
I don't know what the future holds,  but I know that I feel a little more secure being able to eat "eggs and vegetables" for dinner on our "non-pay" weeks.

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