Thursday, July 30, 2009

A post for the Davis children fans

Just thought some of you might appreciate a picture of the Davis boys following this turtle while we were at the beach the other week.


My trash can is full of cucumber, cantalope, and zucchini plants--and my one grape tomato plant and sunflower. Bummer. It looks like blight, from what I can deduce from my online research. I don't know, things didn't look so healthy, that's what I do know. Which means I can't even have the satisfaction of composting the vines. I have a feeling my remaining zucchini, cantalope, and tomato plants will meet an early end as well. Serious bummer. On the bright side, this opens up room for the fall planting I meant to do (I got a late start in the spring because I had not yet realized I was going to become a 4 Season Harvest girl--yes, yet another reference to Eliot Coleman--and you have to have your summer crops out of the way by early August if you want to have room for broccoli rabe, rutabagas, red beets, carrots (for overwintering), leeks, spinach, and what have you. So this empty patch (where my cucumber and some cantalopes once grew) will hopefully be a burgeoning plot of broccoli rabe in a few months. I wasn't really prepared for the great loss that an organic farmer can have in a growing season. That cucumber was my joyful companion each time I gazed out my kitchen window. I had such high hopes . . .
Maybe this is my rite of passage.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's for Dinner?

If anyone cares to find out about what frightening changes have occured in the American food supply in the last 50 years or so, check out this movie. It was truly frightening, but also exciting. The word is getting out about why E-coli is spreading to spinach, why our meat is so unsafe and unhealthy (both related to CAFO--concentrated animal feeding operations--sites dumping tons of animal waste into water supplies and breeding antibiotic resistant bacteria through unhealthy and disgusting practices with cattle and chicken farms), and how immigrants are being treated in an appalling way. And hopefully the result of the information getting out will be similar to the effect of The Jungle when Upton Sinclair wrote it (we need to make the reforms they made then all over again).

The movie was inspiring, though, and not just depressing, because it emphasized the ways that we can make a difference:
  • start a vegetable garden (even a small one)
  • sit down as a family to eat a homecooked meal
  • buy local and organic
  • see their webpage for other action steps (
Honestly, it was a little bit of preaching to the choir for me--I knew a lot of the information already. I guess the one thing I'll change is that I'll try to start buying organic milk (ouch, expensive).
Anyway, great movie . . . go see it!

Cheap coffee that is Organic, Shade Grown, and Fair Trade!

So I was alarmed to find out at the zoo the other day that coffee growers often cut down the rainforest in order to grow coffee instead of growing the much enviro-friendlier shade grown varieties. The sunny varieties cause hardships to birds (loss of habitat) and require more pesticides than shade grown coffee. I assumed I could not afford shade grown coffee, but at the following website at Amazon I found coffee that is:
  • shade grown,

  • organic, and

  • fair trade . . .
. . . with 48 oz. for only $16.10.
Very exciting! That's cheaper than what I'm paying now at Trader Joe's.
Here's the link:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Garden Update

This time of year, it's hard to get good help in the garden. Everybody's working their own land. These two guys are the best I could do. I made them get their hair cut, they looked like a disgrace before. Every farm's gotta have some standards you know.

So I know you've all been waiting to hear about the status of the garden. Well, things have taken an even more serious turn of late, and we (Micah, Jesse, and I--Owen can't decide whether to laugh, or cry depending on what new way I've found to spend money on our garden, he's not really part of the "we" in this case) have decided to become four season gardeners (as in, yes, I've read another book, Eliot Coleman's Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long). I'd like to provide most of the family's food from our little city garden. We're somewhat late to the punch for this year. We should have been growing all manner of winter squash and more substantial foods (I mean, cantalope and cucumbers will be lovely, but probably will not feed us through the winter).

Anyway, in the long term this will mean things like cold frames, trellises, netting, and possibly a root cellar. But in the short term, it means I'm still squeezing in summer crops in July in little spaces in the garden. Fall crops begin in August, so here's hoping summer crops hurry up. I'm not alone, though, I heard this year is late for crops due to rainy cool weather in May. I should really start my crops about a month earlier next year. Some of them, anyway.
Here's the nitty gritty:
Greenbeans- pretty good yield every few days
Cantalopes- no sign of anything bigger than a tiny flower
Chard, Kale- rather lame, so leaves picked
Basil- good
Blueberries- dying?
Cucumbers- one really big plant, lots of tiny ones so far
Zucchini- four or five tiny ones, plants look healthy
Lettuce- a few big salads worth
Broccoli rabe- two good pickings late May
Strawberries- a few here and there

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Clean 15 & The New 2009 Dirty Dozen

Here's an updated list on what you don't have to buy organic--and what you should buy organic. Anyway, just giving the update in case it's helpful to anyone. The list has changed this year.

Save Money On Organic Fruits And Vegetables - Low Pesticide Foods -