Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lazy Weekend Gardener

Animal, Vegetable, MiracleAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can't help but think about gardening. Lucky for me, Victory gardens are back in. If you want to know how to grow yours, this is a good book to start reading - one month at a time. If you are already doing it, this is a well written refresher course. If you just want to know what all the fuss is about, read this book. My one criticism is that it does get too preachy, but just when you think you can't take it anymore, Kingsolver takes you to Italy! Or to Dia de Los Muertos and marigolds.

The book is about the Kingsolver family's journey through one year during their vow to eat only home grown or locally grown food. Is that even possible in this day and age? Here is a quote from Alice in Wonderland that Kingsolver came across during her journey:

"There is no use trying,' Alice said, 'One can't believe impossible things.'

"I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen, 'when I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."'


A farmer's daughter myself, I long for fresh garden food and thought I had a pretty good handle on it, but this book helped expand my imagination and my garden. Many people seem a little shocked at my gardening, but -- compared to the family farm -- I am definitely a lazy weekend gardener. Think I'm just super talented or have more time than you and you can't possibly do it? I bet if you read a book about it you'll be more successful.

But let me give you a hint: it's ALL about the dirt, Right Grandad?

(Yes, this picture was taken this year and we will soon all be gathering at the farm to celebrate Grandad Elmo's 98th birthday. Hence the reason to eat fresh grown food -- the "Miracle" that Kingsolver talks about.)


Getting good dirt is very easy. That is one of the reasons I compost. It all starts with coffee, and tea bags and anything you are about to throw away -- anything except meat and diary (but do use the eggshells, just wash them out first). Most household composts don't get hot enough to break down meat and diary which attract animals, so skip them.

You can buy a cool little compost bucket with disposable bags, but mine lid broke so I just use a bowl, covered with paper towels or a paper plate, which then also goes into the compost. I have discovered that if you don't put paper and non veggie scrap items, you'll get too many slugs and worms.



Now I truly am a weekend gardener -- I don't always have time to dump and turn my compost everyday like you are supposed to. So, I have an outside bucket for my daily use, which I occasionally take to my compost bin.

As proof that I am a lazy weekend gardener, I learned years ago that if I composted the right way -- in an open bin that you have to turn with a garden fork all the time -- I would never get results. Instead, I purchased two of these smaller turnable compost bins. Simply dump and turn, whenever you can find the energy.


That little saying: "Ashes to ashes and dust to dust" is amazingly right. Because, in about three months with very little effort, you get a big bucket of dirt.




And that makes my little garden very happy.




And that means I get fresh ingredients for salsa.

And that makes me very, very happy with my lazy weekend gardening self.

So give it a try! You will probably surprise yourself.



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