It is not surprising that many people are beginning to see their yard as a probable resource for other things than they have always done.. Since the gas prices began to creep up to heights a little more than just a nuisance, we have begun to see our "yard" in a different light. It is now for many people not just a place to relax, to re-create or to "do stuff", to entertain and even spend their holidays quite contentedly, but also a new way of attending to their own and their family's health.
It is so easy to take off a strip of grass ( a foot wide and 6 or 8 feet long), mix in a few bags of sheep or cow manure (around $2. at Can Tire) and you're ready to plant a row of beans. Choose stringless haricots verts (Delinel -45 days or Montano-53 days to harvest). Soak overnight for quicker germination. Beware that beans do not like cold feet, so you have to wait until the soil has warmed up, which is usually the case when night temperatures stay above ten degrees. (Celsius)
If you have a fence that doesn't face north, you can grow your own snap peas (Sugar Anne). Beware of the chipmunks though, they love them too.
If you have a low or wet spot, try planting some rhubarb plants. If you're early enough you can get some from us. We have to re-plant some anyway. Nothing nicer than your own home made strawberry jam with ¼ rhubarb mixed in. You can cut down on the sugar too. Romaine lettuce is another good choice, it is strong, provides good dark green leaves, meaning they are very high in anti-oxidants.
(anti oxidants fight free radicals and free radicals cause cancer and a host of other nasty things).
If you have half a dozen Romaine (Cos) lettuce plants, you can harvest from them for a long time. Just take off the outer leaves when you need them. We take them when they're between 6 and 8 inches high.
Since we don't want to spray, we have to make sure that those lovely creme coloured butterflies can't make your broccoli a home for their off-spring. So that takes a bit more work. Nothing serious though.
You need a piece of bug screen. Preferably 6 feet wide and as long as you need for 6 or more broccoli plants. Count on at least 1 1/2 feet per plant. Run it through your sewing machine to put a one inch channel in it every two feet, so you can slide a piece of electrical tubing through it. Wire will do too, and stick in the ground. So you have a tunnel.
If want a little bit more permanent, you get yourself some pieces of fence grade pine (12" wide) from Chisholm Lumber in Roslin . Believe me it is worth the trip. You can tell them that James Pot sent you).
Now you can make a nice base, 2 feet wide and 8 feet long. Screw it together with deck screws so you can take it apart for the winter. Pre-drill the holes if you want to make sure they don't split.
Drill holes in the topsides to put in a few dowels that can accept the electrical tubing. The ends of the fabric you can just tie together and fasten it to the short end. That's it, you can enjoy a summer of bug free, chemical free broccoli.
The first heads will be the biggest, but don't under estimate the second and third and fourth picking. They are all smaller heads, but keep on picking ,they are great for stir fries and dips and of course there is nothing wrong to use them for dinner too.
And of course everybody wants red or green peppers. Most green ones will turn red eventually. Peppers love a warm soil. You can grow them in containers on your deck. In the garden the best way to do it is plant two or three in a black plastic bag with sheep or cow manure and a little extra fertilizer. The black plastic will make sure that the plants have nice warm feet. Make a few holes or slits in the bottom and the roots will find their way down later on..
Actually we always plant our peppers (hot and sweet) through clear plastic (photodegradable) because that really warms up the soil, plus it keeps the soil underneath nice and moist, unless your soil is is of the light sandy variety. In that case you will need a lot of sheep/cow compost to improve it.
Do I have to mention tomatoes? Unless you're planning on doing a lot of canning, the smallest unit (4-pack) from the Foodland or Dewey's or whoever, is more than plenty. We like the Roma's and the little Cherry or Tom Thumb ones.
The Roma's are not as watery and runny as many other varieties.
Now if you also seed a few plants of Basil and some Oregano, you're all set to make your own tomato sauces for pizza's and pasta's.
Ask us how to make your own pizza. It's simple, we've done it for years. The kids are still coming home for it.
But if you are really serious about all this, you should read the Humanure Handbook. Yes, you can click the title