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Saturday, September 11, 2010

What are we learning?

Janet came out west from Atlanta to visit in Pasadena this last week. We discussed possible directions for this blog as we shared our experiences over the last year in raising food. There is no doubt that raising food from scratch is no trivial task particularly if one plans to depend one's own life and that of those you love on it. I easily spend 6-8 hrs. every weekend physically working in our 600 sq. ft. garden. That doesn't count planning, ordering seeds, and documenting. I don't get much time during the week. Fortunately the climate in southern California gives me considerable margin for error and negligence. Nothing dies by freezing! Plants will die for lack of water, of course. I also have a tolerant husband, the cook, who is with our program and will make do with almost any produce from the garden.
Lessons learned so far:
- Sow seeds at least 6 months in advance of expected harvest. In June I planted rutabaga seeds in the hopes of December harvest.
- Seedlings are a major challenge. How do the commercial nurseries do it? I sow seeds and they just don't thrive. Nurseries by contrast will have densely packed thriving 6"+ tall seedlings. The seedlings from the sown rutabaga seeds in June are now (75 days later) barely 2" tall. Plenty of sun and water... why IS that?

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