Independence Days – Week I


Baby spinach microgreens

This is my first installment of the Independence Days Challenge.

Plant something. We double-dug three raised beds and constructed the bases of four 4×4 potato bins. I chitted the early potatoes, and those and many seeds and seedlings are ready to go in this week (will update when that happens; it’s raining currently). We also waiting for our neighbor to bring down some trees and prune others, so our garden will get more sunlight.

Harvest something. We’ve been eating our Black-seeded Simpson lettuce from cold frame-now turned raised bed for weeks now. I’m experimenting: in one row I cut the outer leaves, in the other I cut out the inner hearts. We’ll see which regenerates the best (I think it’s the hearts). Also been munching on microgreens from seedling thinnings and “onion shavings”, and I tasted a Stevia seedling yesterday: yum!  O yes, and the baby spinach that bolted when I “hardened it off” in 90F weather, or rather, when I brought it back to the 68F basement! LAL: Live And Learn. LOL.

Preserve something. I’m debating on whether to fire up the small chest freezer we got on Freecycle. DH complains that I don’t buy enough groceries for a whole week, which necessitates extra trips to the store – and the library, as it’s on the way ;). It’s true, I lack foresight when purchasing food. It just hurts to shop for produce that I know will be growing in our own garden very soon. In any case, this challenge will help me make a start! For instance, I could cook double the amount of shepherd’s pie while the minced beef is on sale, and freeze half; I could start practicing canning with store bought tomatoes when they come on sale…

Reduce waste. Our guest-suite project has generated a lot of reusable construction wood, which we’re storing in the shed. We’re sure to get a nice three-bin composting system out of it, and some planters, and perhaps a rustic fence. We’ve made nitrogen recycling a habit, as well as toilet cloth: good riddance to yet another disposable! And as for the usual waste, we’ve “pruned” our house and are improving our record through the Riot for Austerity: April was our sixth month.

Preparation and storage. I am working hard on my skill – wheelthrown pottery: that counts for preparedness, right? As for storage, I still need to put our emergency stores together and should start making a wish list of what we still need. Then we should test our camping equipment in our backyard. Another kick in the butt!

Build community food systems. Our town has some vegetable gardens here and there, but ours is the first in our neighborhood. As our gardening is so in your face – on a (small) hill, facing the street – most neighbors  drive by slowly to check out our progress, wave at me digging, or shout “looks promising!” Last week a neighbor popped by and asked if I would advise her on her own veg garden! I said I have no experience but a lot of gardening books. Another neighbor drove up our long and narrow driveway to consult about the mulch and compost we’re using. The “top secret” green community project has stalled as we wait for replies: hopefully I can let you in on that soon.

Eat the food. We’re finishing off the last of the blueberries that I froze last season. Still working on the blueberry freezer jam I made last year – I cooked it too long, so it’s too thick to spread, but Amie loves it as “popsicle scoop”.

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  1. I’m jealous of your stored blueberries! That was a staple around the house when I was a child.

    We have a little chest freezer that we just love. It comes in handy for storing things we don’t have a chance to get to immediately. I like to throw a chicken carcass in there when I don’t have time to make stock/soup, for example.

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