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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Victory Garden

I have always tried to have a utilitarian landscape wherever I have lived. My rules were that the plant had to either be food or could be used for flower arranging. Either way it had to end up on the table. This year I am going to take it one step further. I am going to try to convert as much as my yard as possible to vegetable gardening.
Every day we read about something new that is out there in the food supply trying to kill us. The miracles of modern farming and food preservation means that mass produced substances move from market to table astonishingly fast. Even when problems are discovered it is often too late to prevent harm. If you ever get a chance to visit a food factory, whether it be a cannery, egg farm, or slaughter house, you'll see what I mean. There simply aren't enough humans available to inspect every item that is produced and packaged.
I'm not naive enough to believe that we should stop producing food this way. I'm a farm girl after all. Mass production means cheaper, and yes, more reliable goods are available for everyone. If everything was "hand reared" no one would be able to afford to buy it.
Growing your own food and preserving it has it's own risks too. The neighborhood cats, rats, dogs, birds, and even toddlers can contribute body-borne pathogens to your soil, e. coli being the tamest bug you can get. Then there is the helpful home canner who unwittingly serves botulism as the first course. It's a dangerous world.
But the good thing, in my opinion, is at least I have some measure of control over the food I ingest. I know where the cats like to spray, know how much to rot a pile of chicken manure, know how to wash my own pesticide free vegetables, know how to spot a bad jar of home canning.
From Yard
Which brings me back to the yard. My first piece to tackle this year is the front courtyard. I am moving the rhododendrons, peonies, and roses to the perimeter against the wooden fence. Perversely this makes the yard more "normal" because it opens it up from just a path through a jungle of plants to a lawn area of sorts. I plan on using this area to grow onions, tomatoes, thyme, and dill. Hopefully I will be able to arrange it in a way that will be pleasing to the eye as well as, eventually, the palate. Wish me luck!

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