Here are 3 things to think about before the new year arrives. # 1 will help you to get more nutrient rich food. #2 might save you a lot of time. And #3 will increase what you can learn many times over.
#1 When you order your seed this year, consider ordering mostly open pollinated varieties.
As you’ll recall in my recent post Garden Seed – Heirloom or Hybrid?, studies over the years show that hybrids “don’t necessarily have the ability to make or uptake nutrients” at the same speed they grow. The primary reason for this is because most hybrids are bred with higher yields in mind rather than higher nutrients.
Open pollinated varieties may be slower and produce a bit less, but the nutrient content (assuming you’ve “fed” your soil) is higher.
Nutrients fuel our bodies, give us energy, and keep us healthy. Nutrient dense food from your garden is about your best source.
You sure can’t get it at a conventional food store and you may not be able to get it at an organic food store either. Just because something is organic, doesn’t mean it’s filled with nutrients. Whether it is or not depends on the grower, how good their soil is, and if they grow for nutrients or speed.
I took this information to heart when I ordered my seed for the coming season. 99% of my seed is open pollinated.
- Some things were easy. For example, I’ve grown the hybrid Italian pepper, Carmen, for several years. I really like it, but I’m not gonna grow it anymore. I opted for Jimmy Nardello’s Italian pepper which is open pollinated and is promoted as being the sweetest Italian pepper.
- The hardest thing was choosing onions. I’m trying lots of varieties from seed this year. Many onions (seed) offered on the market today are hybrids, so I had to be careful not to inadvertently order a hybrid. I want to invest the learning time growing the onions that are open pollinated. Not only for the high nutritional value, but also because after learning which ones do well for me I’ll save my seed. Won’t have to be dependent on a supplier in future years.
#2 Is there anything you did this year that you can drop from your to-do list for the coming year? Were you “busy being busy” or did you accomplish what was or will be important for your and your family’s well-being now and in the future?
- Various Garden Chores
One example: many times tilling can be a time waster. It’s not necessary at all once you establish permanent beds and keep them covered. Many folks till just because of habit, not because it’s necessary. They’ve just grown fond of doing it.
There are many more examples of time savers in the garden on TMG and in my book, Organic Gardening – Cutting Through the Hype to the 3 Keys to Successful Gardening. So I don’t need to duplicate here.
- Preserving the Bounty
Beautifully canned tomatoes have come to be the symbol for gardening and preserving your bounty. It’s especially nice to have some “canned” food in case of a long power outage or some form of emergency that would mean you couldn’t get food anywhere else.
But I think we also have to consider that by the time canned vegetables are heated to the high temperatures required to can, there is not much nutrient value left (if any at all).
Another thing to consider if you’ve been canning for years: Do you use all you preserve? If you have things left over from years ago, it’s time to make some changes.
Another question you may want to ask yourself is: Do you grow way more than what you use (fresh/frozen/canned) and then feel obligated to try to give it to someone else (who in all probability doesn’t want it) rather than dig it in? Do you feel obligated to preserve it, even if you know realistically you won’t use it?
#3 Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That’s how we learn.
- Tried and true varieties are a must to grow of course, but try something new every year. You never know when you’ll come across something you just love that was almost like it was “meant” for your garden.
- Read what other folks do and learn from that, but then tailor what you do to your unique set of circumstances and keep adjusting until you have it just right. (That might be 1 season; it might be 5 seasons.)
- Pay attention to your mistakes and so called “failures”. They’re priceless! You’ll learn more from them than anything else.
I’ll end with what I think is one of the best tips there is. When you think something isn’t going to make it or consider it a failure, resist the urge to pull it up. If you pull stuff up ahead of time, you’ve lost some valuable learning time that you can’t recover. Leave it until all is said and done. You’ll learn a LOT that way. Remember: it ain’t over ’till it’s over!
All content including photos is copyright by TendingMyGarden.com. All Rights reserved.