Seedlings in Peat Pods - SOTS

Have you started your garden yet?

Spring has arrived!

Peat pods seed tray - SOTSSo what does that mean? It means it’s time to start our gardens! Are you as excited as I am? I hope so! I am really excited because it’s not only time to start the garden, it’s time to start an all-new garden. Last fall, my family and I moved into our new place so this is going to be a new and fresh start for us. We are going to be starting from scratch so it’ll be a little bit of extra work. The first setup is always a little tougher. We are fortunate in that there are fruit trees here that are already producing. Most of them look about 3 to 6 years old, so that is definitely a plus! We don’t have to wait 5 or so years for the first fruit to come in. There are apple, pear and cherries and one of the cherry trees is probably 20 to 30 years old. It’s pretty big. Everything else is the younger stuff. As for the varieties? We don’t know yet, haven’t gotten that far.

Other than the trees, we have found one rhubarb plant, 3 blueberry bushes and a few garlics. So as far as the gardening is concerned, we’re working with a pretty blank slate. It’s gonna be fun!

So what are we doing?

Seedlings in Peat Pods - SOTSWe have decided that we’re going to install at least 3 raised beds as our main garden. They will measure 3 feet by 12 feet each and will be a foot deep.That should give us plenty of planting space, especially if we are doing intensively managed Square Foot Gardening. We’re getting them in a little bit late, but I think it’ll be fine. We already have a bunch of seedlings started indoors so we’re good. About four weeks ago, I planted (let’s test my memory):

Read moreHave you started your garden yet?

Bell Peppers - Sick of the Systems

Self-Reliance in the Backyard

TomatoesSo if you have read any of my past posts, you know that I think that our dependence on the many systems in our lives gives us a false sense of security. It is absolutely misplaced trust. Go back and read The Intertwining Systems for kind of a scary eye-opener. But we’re about doing things around here, not just complaining about the systems or being too stuck in our ways to do anything. We’re doers, aren’t we? So what can we do to put a buffer between our lives and the food system?

Grow your own food

Having a garden and growing what you ate used to be a normal part of life not too long ago. It just made sense. Why is it not the case today? Why doesn’t it just make sense in our culture? I don’t know. I have many ideas but I don’t want to get into it now. Let’s get into growing your own food and why it does make sense.

Read moreSelf-Reliance in the Backyard

Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part Two

Long-Term Food Storage

Packaging rice in jars - Long Term food storage
Packaging Rice

So sticking with growing your pantry, I wanted to talk a little bit about long-term food storage. To me, this includes the food that lasts longer than the average canned food shelf life of 1 or 2 years. Stuff like beans, rice (you know, the classic survival stores), grains, lentils – essentially, dry goods. Properly stored, this stuff can last for years. And then we move onto freeze-dried food. The big #10 cans of this and that, that last 15, 20 or 30 years. Brands like Provident Pantry, Auguston Farms and Mountain House. That’s your REALLY long-term stuff.

Read moreSelf-Reliance in the Pantry – Part Two

Self-Reliance in the Pantry – Part One

In one of last week’s posts, The Intertwining Systems, we saw how precarious our food system really is. I showed you just some of the points of failure and how if just one of the many systems that prop up our food system were to fail, it could fall apart.

Pantry - Canned foods
This pantry needs to grow!

So what are some things we can do about it?

For one, we can start storing our own food. I’m not talking about going out and buying 120 cases of military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat). I mean buying a little extra of what you already use on a regular basis. Just a little at a time. If your family likes canned clam chowder, the next time you buy a can, buy

Read moreSelf-Reliance in the Pantry – Part One

How would you do with a winter storm like Juno?

Blizzard 2015!

Blizzard from Staten Island Ferry
View from Staten Island Ferry

We talk about lessening our dependence on the collective systems here and for good reason. The systems are not always there functioning as they’re supposed to. The less dependent we are on them, the better our lives are.

Buried_Cars_in_Cambridge
You’re not going anywhere!

Look at the images below, some found on Twitter, with hashtag #Blizzard2015. This is what happens when the masses think that they can always go to the grocery store to pick up this or that and the store will always have food and other essentials. So why keep anything like that in the home? If we need it, we can just go get it. Think again.

Then, the nightly news guy says, “this is going to be the big one, go out and get some food and water.”

Everyone panics and buys everything they can at the grocery store.

Here is the aftermath:

Read moreHow would you do with a winter storm like Juno?

The Intertwining Systems

The Food Distribution System and the Energy System

Food System - ProduceToday I was thinking about our food system here in America. Of course, it’s the same the world over. Our food system is a very precarious system indeed, relying on other systems to keep it functioning the way it should.

I’m not saying that it relies on only three other systems, but let’s pretend that’s true. Now, imagine our food system is a three-legged stool. With all three legs planted snuggly on terra firma, everything is fine. The stool sits there securely and functions as, well, a stool. The seat of the stool is our food system, and the three legs, let’s call them oil, just-in-time inventory and supply. There is a lot more to it than that, but this will suffice for the point. Now, imagine that one of those legs breaks, just snaps in two. What happens to the stool? Here on Earth, the stool, now being unevenly supported by only two legs, will fall over.

Read moreThe Intertwining Systems

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