Friday, February 7, 2014

Growing the Staples

Now that we are finally receiving the long awaited rain (hurray!!), the race is on to get winter chores done.  We've been amending beds with manure, heavily mulching, building compost piles everywhere, and transplanting lots of starts from the green houses to the beds.  After going at this small farming business for almost four years now, we are honing in and getting organized.  Our seed list has narrowed as we have learned a thing or two about what we like to eat and preserve, what types of plants grow well here, and what we can plant that will give us a large yield with little energy input/water.  

The changing climate and weather patterns are forcing us to rethink everything.  For us that means starting to establish our food forests and for annuals, keeping it simple.  Growing the staples (beans, potatoes, squash, brassicas, and eggs) can keep us well fed all year long. Of course we'll plant some of our other favorites, but the bulk will be these five.  

Since runners beans are hardy, produce a large harvest that can be eaten fresh or dried, and can become perennials, there are big hopes to plant them all over the garden this year. Scarlet runners, painted ladies and many more varieties to climb the fences.  

Yukon Gold is our preferred variety
Potatoes are probably the biggest crop we want to grow.  Our family consumes masses of them and with growing boys it's always good to have some around as a base for a meal, especially when we are trying to cut back on wheat.  Plus they thrive here, our big dilemma is that the gophers love them as much as we do.  We're still searching for a solution to that problem.  

Eggs are versatile, reliable, don't need refrigeration, and can be grown off the compost, extra vegis and waste products from our farm.  They are our main source of protein given half of us don't eat meat.  Every breakfast around here includes eggs with a variation of avocado and toast, porridge, or potatoes.  

winter squash grows exceptionally well in our garden
A list of other crops that are easy and grow well for us in our soil and climate are zucchini, tomatoes, pumpkins, winter squash (Oregon Sweet Meat is our favorite), red and yellow onions, garlic, quinoa, amaranth, and artichokes.  Planting vegis that need more hydration near the grey water is key and we'll be dry farming tomatoes again this year. These rainy days are perfect for planning and dreaming of the garden to come....

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