On the Common Sense Homesteading Facebook page, one of the questions that comes up regularly is “How do you extend your growing season?”. I live in northeast Wisconsin, so I do use a variety of techniques to help add growing time in spring and in fall. I don’t do *everything* that can be done to potentially keep food growing here year round. From my perspective, it’s easier to spend time preserving some crops than battling the elements to keep them going outside. My favorites are the ones that hold “as is” with little or no effort. You can read more about these crops in “Root Cellars 101” and “Above Ground Root Cellars – Enjoy Your Local Produce Longer“.
The Planet Whizbang Idea Book for Gardeners: An eclectic selection of inspiring project plans, useful tips, and how-to advice for people who enjoy growing their own food by Herrick Kimball offers a great combination of tools, tips and stories to enlighten and inspire just about any gardener. From sturdy trellis systems, cloches and raised beds to biochar and Brix meters, this is one you’ll come back to year after year. (Yes, this is written by the creator of the Whizbang Chicken plucker.)
Sprinkled throughout the text are excerpts from old books, magazines and almanacs dating back to the 1800′s. So often we think we’re creating something new, when we are really rediscovering what was lost. Take this featured quote by E.P. Roe from The Home Acre (1886) about cheaper vegetables:
Dear Better Homes and Gardens,
I double dog dare you to show some working kitchens and gardens. Take a tour of the Midwest during gardening and canning season, and introduce yourselves to some homespun guys and gals with stains on their cloths and dirt under their finger nails. Sure the celebrities and high priced decorators you usually feature are swell, but most folks I know have little or nothing in common with these people. Money is tight, and kitchen tools and appliances are picked because they’re needed, not because they are a fashion accessory.
Working with Nature – Shifting Paradigms: The Science and Practice of Organic Horticulture was one of those books that had me jumping up and saying to my husband and boys, “Look at this!” The author, Heide Hermary, has opened my gardening world to a whole new range of ideas and possibilities. (Congratulations, Heide, you have indeed shifted my paradigm.)
How is Working with Nature – Shifting Paradigms Organized?
Working with Nature – Shifting Paradigms is divided into eight chapters:
What is terroir? I first heard of the concept a number of years ago, and my brain immediately went, “Ah-hah!” Terroir (from terre, “land”) is defined (via Wikipedia) as:
…the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant’s genetics, expressed in agricultural products such as wine, coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, heritage wheat and tea. The concept has also crossed to other Protected Appellations of Origin (PDOs a form of geographical indication), products such as cheeses. Terroir can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place,” which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the production of the product. Terroir is often italicized in English writing to show that it is a French loanword.
Most frequently, it is used to describe grape and vineyards, but once you start poking around in foodie circles, you’ll hear it applied to a wider variety of foods, such as those listed in the Wikipedia definition. I live just a couple of miles from a winery called Parallel 44. They chose the latitude because it includes many of the great wine making regions of the world, and they chose the specific site for the soil and gentle south facing slope.