Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cool Winds a Blowin'....?

Well, we thought it was going to cool down. I guess the good news is that the days are shorter and so that means the sun has less time to bake us and the plants and the ground they grow in. But boy, it is still hot out when it gets up there in the 90's. But, then I come in and finalize orders and plans for future crops, update the blog, send out emails and drink lots of water and green ice tea! After all, it was these nice warm temps in September that lured me to move to Texas in the first place. I know, what was I thinking!? Well, it is already too chilly up north for my liking so I'm not complaining about the lingering warm weather too much. Just glad we've started to see a bit of rain again.
In the ground, as we type, are tomatoes (Amish Paste, Yellow Pear & Cherokee Purple), peppers (Magnum Habanero Orange, Corno di toro and Black Hungarian), winter squash (Delicata), cantaloupe, another round of squash - yellow straight neck and dark green zucchini - Wax Beans, maybe they'll grow now that it isn't quite as hot, Provider Bush beans and a Chinese Red Noodle bean from fellow farmer, Carol Moss' farm. I had several other trays seeded - but I'm afraid a few hens found out there was corn meal in the potting mix this go round, and they messed up some of the seedlings on some of the other squash. We'll have a handful of plants that come up, and hopefully enough to at least put in the swap out box this fall. Silly chickens.....(no, that is not what I said at the time.) - we're hoping we get a nice fall crop of these short season warm veggies this year before it gets too cold. I'm hoping to find someone to teach a canning class, too, so we can learn how to preserve some of this goodness for the winter months. (I don't know how to can - do you?)

We've had to "cheat" a bit on our renewable energy plans, I'm afraid. I hate it - the stink of the pump not to mention the noise - and the fact that I have to burn gas to run it, but I also can't keep doing all of this work for the little harvest we've been getting and a few of you have said the same thing. The low harvest, we believe, is primarily due to low water input. We hope to be able to find a better combination of equipment when we attend the renewable energy roundup in a few weeks. Renewable energy is certainly the way to go, but it isn't a perfect system either. Until then, I'm using the gas pump only on days where we just HAVE to get more water on things and the sun/wind are not cooperating enough to recharge our batteries - not to mention, when our pumps have over heated and require cool down time, too. All of these things combined, do not make seedlings happy - nor do they put enough water down on crops with the pure sand we have in some areas of the garden, which drains faster than you can imagine. This will serve well for wet winters, but not for hot, dry summers. It will take several seasons under our belts to get that organic matter built up in the sandy parts of the gardens. But boy has the cantaloupe been sweet! (If you missed that week's pick up, we should have more soon if the aphids will leave these new plants alone.)
Eden's Garden is committed to growing "off the grid" and with sustainable practices. We're close to building our shed out back (out of the neighbor's old framework of a structure he used for covering his garden with shade cloth many years ago). Reuse! Recycle! We'll put tin salvaged from last year's tornado damaged barn roof on the roof of this new shed, and start to catch rainwater just as soon as we can afford a new rain barrel. This will help us rotate the use of pond water and rainwater - which will be nice to rinse off the mud this winter and when the pond gets low. By incorporating rain water, it only increases our sustainability goals.
Why we do what we do
Each time I read statistics about how many obese, diabetic children we are raising, it breaks my heart. It literally brings tears to my eyes to see a little one waddle behind his or her parent, who is also usually overweight. I am very blessed. My mom raised us on home cooked scratch meals for the most part. I learned to cook decently at a very young age and managed to maintain most of those good eating habits as an adult. But today, our school system FEEDS our kids junk in vending machines and cafeteria lines - the television, magazines, radio and every billboard you pass FEEDS all of us junk - how can we expect anyone, much less the children, to crave anything better, even when we choose to try to feed them healthy at breakfast and dinner? We have an opportunity to let our voices be heard. This Labor Day is the day set aside to call attention to what our schools are dishing up for your kids at lunch. is where to go in Texas to support an "eat in" event sponsored by Slow Food USA. Hey, whatever happened to packing a PBJ sandwich and an apple for the kiddos? That would be better than some of the junk they are feeding them. Geez.
By encouraging school aged kids to come out to the farm, get involved in school gardens, (see the great article in this seasons Edible DFW about Stonewall Jackson's program!), community gardens and even a pot of lettuce grown at home on the balcony, we take important steps to helping our children learn the important difference between real food and processed, packaged, pseudo foods. Devoid of nutrition, we are all left hungry, and craving the fat, salt and sugar that junk foods are packed with, to satisfy, not our hunger, but our taste buds. Take a week and fast from fast foods - and see if you're not left with more energy, clearer minds and a thicker pocketbook. Fast food is cheap - but it isn't really food or cheap if you have to eat twice as much of it to fill your body's needs.
Barn Aid promises to be a busy and fun event this year. I'm so glad to have the opportunity to show FRESH! here in the DFW area. I hope that many will come and be inspired to eat healthier foods, grow some of their own foods and, support local agriculture. The movie and concert are free - gates will re-open about 7:15 if you don't come to the charity dinner beforehand. There will be a panel of local food advocates discussing the movie with the audience afterwards. I hope you can bring some friends and join us. We'll have a free concert after the movie. Chef Gilbert will be serving up some gourmet sausages from Dominion Farms and we're looking at getting some organic popcorn for the movie! Thank you to all of those who are helping sponsor the event and make it happen.
We do have several new CSA members this year that have jumped on board to support our efforts here at Eden's Garden. I am so grateful for each and every one of you - and I hope in spite of the light harvests we had this first year, you feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for what you are a big part of. Please, come out to Barn Aid and see this other aspect of why it is important for there to be local, urban farms, too. There are lots of good reasons to be a part of local agriculture. Growing healthy food, preserving the land and protecting the environment, practicing community involvement, supporting the local economy and educating people all along the way are just the tip of the iceberg for the impact one single small farm can have on a community.
Welcome to a new farming year - and here's to a great one! Cheers!

Eat Your Food - Naturally!

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