Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘produce’

A Change in Consciousness.

In green living, sustainable living on January 11, 2012 at 6:27 pm

As we face into another year on this planet called Earth many people are feeling a bit scared about 2012. Much has been said about Mayan calendars, solar flares and biblical prophecies foretelling the end of the world. My view…for what it’s worth…is that the Mayans were not foretelling the end of the world but an end of an era. I came to this conclusion after reading much about these various prophecies. My belief is that 2012 is the time for a change in consciousness on the planet.  We are all exploiters on this planet…that is the nature of the beast.

 Even Andy and I living here in rural Ireland are exploiters. No you may say…but the truth is yes. We are vegetarian so we do not exploit our animals for food directly. We do however exploit Enid our milking goat every day to obtain her milk. Hens are exploited to produce our eggs and bees for honey. A bit extreme you may think but we cannot blame others for exploiting without examining our own conscience. We have a car so…somewhere… fuel has to be pumped out of the earth to power it. None of us on this Earth can live here without being part of the exploitation that occurs.

But…we can exploit in a positive way…positive for ourselves and life on this beautiful planet. So much food is imported needlessly. Growing your own means you can be more responsible for your own nutrition. Food sovereignity gives one more financial independence as less money is needed. I really hate the supermarket trend of importing vegetables from all corners of the world to gratify our taste for out of season produce. In our polytunnel at the moment we have Carrots, Kale, Parsnips, Spring Onions( I saw some in the supermarket from Kenya), Turnips and salad greens. More than enough for variety. We do of course buy some provisions. We only grow enough Potatoes for half the year but we make sure to only buy Irish Potatoes. We also buy lentils, beans, flour and so many other things too.

 The Celtic Tiger years (late nineties to 2008 financial boom) seem to have made a huge change in the Irish psyche. They were the years of spend, spend, spend and damn the consequences. A third of food purchased in Ireland used to go in the bin…hopefully the last couple of years in recession will have changed that somewhat. On my travels I pass a local fruit and veg importers depot quite regularly. There is always a skip outside brimming with produce to be dumped. Shameful. The timber pile pictured above was given to us by a neighbour who did some hedgecutting last year. There were 6 others of similar size. They just could’nt be bothered using it. That was our gain but I do not understand this mindset. Cutting down trees then going to the local fuel depot to buy imported coal.

My hope for 2012 is that people do become affected by the change in concsiousness. That more and more people begin to appreciation and cherish this planet that has for so long tolerated our gross exploitation. If we all do our little bit to reduce the waste, shop wisely, use wild foods and grow what we can then there is hope. 2012…may it be the year where we take responsibility for our actions.

A change in consciousness…I welcome it with open arms!

No “Hungry Gap” at Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, Off the beaten track. on March 24, 2011 at 10:12 am

The first Cauliflower of the season, small but perfectly formed.

The “hungry gap” is the gardener’s name for the period in Spring when there is little or no fresh produce available from the garden. With good planning it is possible to avoid this lull in production. The cauliflower pictured is a variety called Marzatico from Italy. Seeds were sown last August and plants planted around end of September. We plant a lot in August for Winter and Spring crops. Oriental salads, Winter Onion sets, Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Kale being the main ones. There is actually a variety of Kale called Hungry Gap which crops in Spring.

Ragged Jack Kale.

The Ragged Jack Kale is now going to seed but this is not the end of its production. The leaves can still be picked and the seed heads can be picked and steamed, they are quite like Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Do pick before flowers appear though. Removing the central shoot encourages the plant to send out lots of side shoots.

Sowing Peas.

Meanwhile seed sowing continues furiously here. Yesterday I sowed a bed of Parsnips, we have just finished the last of the current crop, germination can be slow so they need to go in early. Peas were also sown. The variety is Meteor which I got from Seed Savers in Co. Clare. The don’t grow too tall, about a metre, so support is easier. These modules are great as they are longer than the usual ones and made from stronger plastic. I have them about 10 years and they are still in perfect condition. The extra length means plants can stay in there a little longer. Apparently these modules are using for growing tree seedlings.