Monday, August 21, 2017

Sustainability or Not?

So, yesterday I had an interesting experience. I visited an organic farm (which I will not name here, but which was really, really cool), and the owner talked about how much he disliked the term sustainability.

In a way, I was sympathetic to his point. His idea was that simply being able to live and maintain the land at the same standard (a base level definition of "sustaining") wasn't good enough; that he sought improvement to his land and his production.

But, as you know, part of the subtitle of this blog references sustainability, and I still like the message.

Sustainability asks you if you could keep your lifestyle up - sustain it - through years and generations. Could you continue to eat through good harvest years and bad? Do you have enough money socked away to get your family through a job loss or a downturn in health? Do you have the skills to make do if there's a power outage or a decline in resources (or an increase in price)? Can you keep your soil as healthy and productive as it needs to be to maintain your garden?

To me, sustainability is a huge task.  Improvements are often eaten up by bad years and bad spells and bad luck. Keeping an even keel is a tough job. But it is important to resist practices -whether that be using unhealthy herbicides, overspending, or damaging your health - that tips the balance so you cannot sustain a healthy, vibrant way of living.

I still like "sustainable."  I think I'll keep it.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

How Much Does a Garden Grow: July 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2017 garden is officially profitable!

I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself, if I might say. The return to mechanical rototilling plus an early start with the seeds and some favorable weather has really worked to our advantage.

First up, let's talk tomatoes. We have harvested over 72 pounds of tomatoes in July alone, over $263 worth at current prices. My reviews thus far of the tomatoes:
  • Principe Borghese has turned out to be a wonderful and prolific grape-sized tomato for drying. I've gotten so many, I've started throwing handfuls of them into sauces and stir frys.
  • Siletz was a great early tomato, but it is incredibly fragile. Therefore, it is easy for one to look fantastic in the windowsill in the morning and be developing a bad spot that afternoon. That's frustrating, and I probably won't grow them again.
  • Black Krim, of course, are my big fussy babies with the green shoulders and the tendency to be eaten by critters. But they are so worth it for the taste!
  • Cuore di Bue is a wonderful sauce tomato, big and solid and beefy. 
  • San Marzano, likewise, is the quintessential sauce tomato.  Both of these make great sauce and wonderful, thick juice.
  • Martian is a storage tomato, and it has turned out to be a wonderful slicer with few seeds and a long life.  Definitely worth the wait.
  • Volunteers, of course, are always a surprise. I have some sort of prolific grape tomato that is not a Principe Borghese or a Red or Yellow Pear, and I have a round slicer of some sort. I also have those infernal yellow tomatoes. Why, oh why, did I ever grow them years ago? I don't even like yellow tomatoes (not acidy enough for my taste), and so I keep throwing them into the sauce, and then the seeds go into the compost, and then I grow them accidentally the next year, ad infinitum.
Also this month were bountiful harvests of zucchini and cucumbers (although never enough of either to satisfy) and some potatoes and greens, plus herbs aplenty.

I'm hoping this is just the start of a prolific season. We could certainly use the tomatoes to can and put away for winter, plus feeding us both 6-8 slicers a day.

Cumulative Totals:

Total Ounces Harvested: 1638.0
Total Pounds Harvested: 102.375
Total Value of Harvest: $374.87

Expenses: (-$287.67)

Total Profit: $87.20
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