One of my interests with gardening in the last few years has been growing some of my own staples crops. With my neglect, some have done better than others.
This year I finally grew a decent crops of beans that, even though it isn’t going to keep me fed long, was drastically better than my two previous attempts. The corn, despite having more of it, was more attacked by disease and insections, perhaps due to the poorer soil at the farm and nearby corn monocrops.
The peanuts were a first this year and did surprisingly well for the heavy soil they were in (yes, here in Michigan). I have yet to roast any but await that opportunity. I’ll just have to make sure to not eat them all and save enough to plant again. Growing peanuts, as well as all beans but favas, is definitely not a space-efficient way of producing calories, but it gives me a first-hand perspective on the amount of land my diet takes up if done in a small-scale intensive manner. Ultimately, hazelnuts would make more sense, but I have to settle down somewhere that I can dedicate that time and space to produce a crop.
Potatoes, oh potatoes. A wonderful crop, easy to grow, but I’ve neglected you every year since 2006. I leave the watering to rain too much and it doesn’t come when you need it.
Some crops grow, but then I forget to store them properly or, more specifically, create a proper storage environment for them. The Jerusalem Artichokes are an example of this from last year and possibly this one, as well. I ran out of room in the fridge and never built that root cellar or some other cold/moist storage method.
Right now, I have little land to grow on so it may seem silly to grow crops that are so cheap to purchase. Instead, most people would choose high-value crops. I do it as a way to get exprience with growing crops that are a major part of my diet so whenever I do have the opportunity to expand, I’ll have a point of reference to work with. The fact that this can be done in a way to actually regenerate soil health makes it all the more appealing to me. For more information on this, check out Ecology Action’s information on biointense gardening/mini-farming.
Eventually, I’ll get to some regular cooking posts for Vegan MoFo, but with the move to a zen center, I haven’t had much opportunity yet for personal cooking. The posts might slow down, therefore.
Note: I grew more of everything in the photos below. They weren’t that small of crops.