Monday, 31 July 2017

Horta

I have just watched an interesting video on youtube about permaculture, agriculture and more... and it has made me think..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0nzIMJGuEY
The video is well worth watching,  but there is more to think about.


Some years ago,  I read a really interesting book by Lolo Houbein entitled "One Magic Square".  She described growing a food garden on a relatively small scale and which included "horta" which can refer to "greek boiled vegetables" or an Etruscan Goddess!  Houbein's "horta" plot "can be sown in any season" and "it grows fast, provides variety and can be grown.... each season thereafter."  According to Houbein,  the Greeks have, since ancient times, gathered horta from the mountains, gathering edible wild greens for the pot.

My garden weeds don't really look very likely as pot herbs go,  though some are edible and prolific.  The idea of growing a 'horta plot' has occurred to me now that I am saving seed from many of my food plants.
Most plants produce much more seed than is required to replace the "parent plants" and, despite planting larger areas,  I am left with surplus seed.  I do give plenty away.  I am still left with surplus seed.  I plant bigger areas,  and I am still left with surplus seed,  even in less productive years.  While it is good to know that I can produce plenty of food plants for myself, many of them grow for limited time, seasonally.

All of this is really a series of "problems"....  how to grow the right amount of food,  save the appropriate amount of seed, and what to do with the surplus when there are no more recipients.

It occurred to me that those Greek people who gathered wild greens for the pot,  horta,  no doubt spread the any seeds of those plants in convenient, easily located places for next season....  not quite "agriculture",  but more than just "wild gathering".  It is somewhere in between.

And so I am beginning to sow excess seed relatively randomly in a medium distant part of the garden...  quite a mixture...  herbs and vegetables... so that, despite not having a mountainside to explore,  I might  be able to gather horta for the pot in a few months time.

In the past,  I have done this with "old" spice seeds, some of which grew very well,  some less so....  but this year, and with 70mm of rain this month, I think that I should have a horta patch by the time that spring arrives.

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