gardening

Rural People and Issues : Gardening

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There aren't too many, now 'middle aged', kiwi kids that can't remember their mothers in the kitchen bottling the 'summer harvest' for winters consumption.  Sadly the same can't be said of the next generation.

Aside from the obvious benefit of free plants there are several reasons why you would want to harvest your own seeds. It may be for sentimental reasons - a favourite family plant for example or because it is familiar and you are knowledge of its habitat and performance. Or maybe you are on a different crusade.

Aside from the obvious benefit of free plants there are several reasons why you would want to harvest your own seeds. It may be for sentimental reasons - a favourite family plant for example or because it is familiar and you are knowledge of its habitat and performance. Or maybe you are on a different crusade.

Earthtalk at AwhituEarthtalk is a 28 acre organic farm in Auckland's Awhitu Peninsula.  Its guardians, Tanya  Cumberland and Charmaine Poutney, left city life in 1992.   Both employed as change agents in their respective fields, Tanya in the social sector and Charmaine, the education,  they subscribed at the time to do the same for the land.  Today they are being duly rewarded by a new but more vigilant employer, Mother Earth. 

Winter is a time of rest in the garden but for gardeners it is a time to do repairs and prepare for the upcoming growing months.

Paint or stain sheds and fences if required, undertake maintenance on compost bins, purchase seed and manure and clean and sharpen tools.

 In the Victorian era winter was a time when you consumed the pickles and preserves you had set down in autumn or took advantage of a hot bed.  Hot beds gave savvy gardeners the upperhand on their contemporaries. 

snailSpring has sprung.  September to November heralds new growth in the garden and the cycle of creation begins again.  Young seedlings are prey to pests of all kinds during the growing season so in addition to companion planting why not employ some recycling practices to aid your cause?

The worldwide organic food market has been growing at a rate of twenty percent per year, since 1990, and accounts for one to two percent of total food sales.  In a ten year period in the UK, organic food sales increased from 100 million pounds to 1.2 billion pounds.  Similar growth has occured in the US,  which combined with the EU accounts for 95% of all retail sales of organic food products. One study undertaken by the Organic Trade Association, indicted that sales of all organic products rose from $1 billion in 1990 to $24.6 billion in 2008, with a reported increase of 17% in that year alone, despite other industries being severely impacted by the recession.

Slow foodThe slowfood movement was originally born in Italy in 1986 when sixty two founding members of the forerunner of Slowfood met to inaugurate 'Aricogola'.  In 1989 delegates from 15 countries signed the 'Slowfood 'Manifesto, an order that today has 100,000 members in 15 countries.  Their philosophy is this - "that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible".  

100 mile dietThe 100 Mile Diet, was born in 2005 - a one year experiment by a Canadian couple, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, in eating local food grown within 100 miles (160 kilometres) which is no mean feat considering the average ingredient in a  North American meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to plate.

Imagine being able to taste your fruit and vegetables before purchasing them.  Wouldnt that be a novel experience, having merchandisers prompting you to try before you buy in supermarkets?  Considering supermarkets merchandise everything else why are fruit and vegetables excluded?

Moon gardening or lunar gardening, as it is sometimes called, is one of the oldest gardening practices, dating back to the Babylonian era.  The premise is that the earth is a large gravitational field, influenced by the sun and the moon. The tides are  at their highest during a waxing moon, when the sun and moon align with the earth.

It has been said that the most important ingredient in preserving olives is patience - six months worth to be exact. Olives contain a glycoside called oleurophin which protects the olive fruit from being eaten by animals and humans alike.  Although oleurophin is not poisonous, the taste of raw olives makes them unsavoury to eat. 

This year petrol prices have made the headlines and hit our wallets hard and the impact of it has had me thinking about something infinitely more valuable to us. Have you ever considered that our food supply could be impacted in the same way? 

The humble earthworm (eisenia foetida) plays an important role in the garden.  They aerate the soil helping air and water circulate through it and encouraging root growth in plants. 

With colder weather approaching lettuce is a commodity in the organic garden which goes off the menu.  Lettuce based salads can easily be replaced however with home grown sprouts and garden greens and flowers provided by mother nature.

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