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It’s Never Too Early…


…To start thinking about your garden. Especially if you’re getting ready to start your first or giving it another attempt after having difficulty in the past. Here’s a link to a couple of previous posts about planning a successful garden.

One thing I don’t address in those posts is how I think some inexperienced gardeners get discouraged by comparing their produce to what they in the supermarket. Below is another excerpt from Eliot Coleman’s book Four-Season Harvest that addresses that issue.

“Let’s dispense with another garden negative: produce envy. Do [my] yields measure up? Is [my] lettuce as big as the supermarket variety? Forget all that stuff. This is your garden, and the rules are your own. You don’t need to do what the pros do, what your neighbor does, or what any book says. The commercial standards of industrial agriculture are meaningless in the home garden. Besides, they are achieved with innumerable chemicals that artificially expand and disguise poor produce by doping up the plant’s metabolism. In addition to not wanting to eat such produce, you certainly don’t want to emulate the techniques.”

“Enormous size should not be a criterion for garden success. It usually indicates overfertilization. If the vegetables look healthy and taste good, they are winners. Take lettuce as an example. If at the start you have trouble growing large heads of lettuce or prefer not to, plant two to four times as many, plant them closer together, and harvest them small. You now have baby lettuce (a gourmet item), which has taste and tenderness virtues all its own. In addition to enjoying greater variety, you will also experience far fewer pest and disease problems by harvesting your crops in their youth. Commercial standards are concerned with packing, shipping, and wholesale marketing, not flavor, tenderness, and eating pleasure. Ignore the commercial hype and concentrate on the standards that really count.”

Butternut Squash- Blemished, but perfectly edible

Butternut Squash- Blemished, but perfectly edible

The squashes you see are all from my garden this past year. You’ll notice lots of imperfections and a wide variety of sizes. Most of these squashes would be rejected by supermarket produce buyers, but I can tell you from experience that they will all taste great, as good or better (mostly) than anything you can get in the supermarket. The only thing you occasionally need to look for is some of the squashes that are more heavily blemished may start to go bad sooner than others. To put this in perspective, it is now 4 months after I harvested the last of my squash and I’ve only had 1 squash that started to go bad. If a squash does start to go bad, just cut off the spoiled section, roast the remainder and freeze the squash.

Coconut Milk- Vegan or Not

On a completely different topic, I have received the definitive answer regarding whether commercially-produced coconut milk is made with water or milk as discussed in my last blog. It’s water not milk, making coconut milk a vegan product and the Green Bean & Sweet Potato Curry recipe a vegan dish.

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