I've decided to participate in Sharon's Independence Days Challenge this year. It was interesting reading all the participants' regular updates last year, but more than that, it'll hopefully keep me honest, inspired, and motivated. I know a lot of people found it really helpful last year.
The goal of the challenge is to do at least one thing every week in the following categories:
1. Plant something - This one will be easy for a while. This week I planted potatoes (Butte, Caribe, and Yukon Gold), and onions - generic yellow onion sets from the garden center. I've got some Jaune Paille Des Vertus I started from seed that I'll be transplanting as soon as they're hardened off, but I've had bad luck with onions from seed in the past. Thus the hedging with boughten onion sets. I also transplanted some comfrey, and Lori planted a bunch of stuff in her part of the garden.
2. Harvest something - We harvested a bit of asparagus. After the agonizing three year wait from planting until the first harvest, I'm dying to finally try some. And eggs. Always eggs.
3. Preserve something - Ummm.... I've got nothin'.
4. Reduce waste - This is a bit of a cheat, but we got a SodaStream Fountain Jet, for making soft drinks at home. No longer will our soft drinks consist of pulling ground water from somewhere else (drought-troubled Atlanta?) and energy-intensive high-fructose corn syrup (with its possible links to diabetes) and shipped across the country. Reusable bottles, our own water, no HFCS. I'm hoping to experiment with some home-made flavor recipes.
5. Preparation and Storage - Lots of good stuff here. Got a copy of Small Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon, and The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman. Haven't had a chance to read them yet. But Lori and I have both been working our way through Coleman's The New Organic Grower (me for a second time) with thoughts about another garden expansion next year. Also, found a local guy to help me with small engine repair. He seems to know a lot about a lot of useful subjects. Got one step closer to true rotational grazing with some reworking of our fences. There's more in the works here, but I'll save it for next week.
(And just for the record, I'm taking full credit for the new edition of Small Scale Grain Raising. I described here in this very blog my plea to the author two years ago for a re-release of this hard-to-find classic....)
6. Build Community Food Systems - Bought a couple frozen chickens from a neighbor. Sold surplus eggs at the office. Mailed seeds to a fellow gardener. (Anyone else need some?) Bought a few heirloom seedlings from the Adena Mansion Plant Heirloom Plant Sale. Talked gardening and offered encouragement to a neighbor.
7. Eat the Food - Ate some home-grown eggs. Ate some home-made banana bread (does that count?), and getting ready to eat some home-made pumpkin bread from home-canned pumpkins (that's a little closer....). Looking forward to that asparagus...