18 November, 2009

Gardening Practices of Pilgrims at Thanksgiving Time

Just in time for Thanksgiving: a new publication documenting gardening techniques used at the time of the Pilgrims and Native Americans. Of course there were no chemical pesticides or fertilizers at the time so the book is somewhat slanted to the benefits of organic gardening. Either way it is a good read on gardening during pre-colonial America. The story is from Trans World News:
"What a lot of people don't know," says Heid, "is the food the Pilgrims grew probably tasted better than the food we eat today and was also better for them."  Fish and all marine life are suited to giving soil the nutrients that make it produce the best food.  In addition to providing soil with vital nutrients like calcium, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur, marine life is the best source of trace elements.  Trace elements are near microscopic amounts of different elements that are necessary for the human body to survive and that poor soil often lacks.  "Food can only be as good as the soil you grow it in," Heid explains.
 Many of the soil problems that the Pilgrims had to overcome are problems today because of over farming and soil depletion. Scientific studies show how the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables has diminished dramatically over the past 40 years.  Other studies show organic fruits and vegetables are nutritionally superior to those produced using traditional farming methods.  The answer, is the same now as it was in Squanto's day: using marine-based fertilization. 
 The second half of Heid's book explains how to grow an organic garden using Native American planting techniques and marine-based fertilizer to enrich and improve the soil.  A variety of companion planting possibilities are suggested along with layouts for three traditional Native American gardens.  It culminates with a selection of English and Native American recipes making use of garden produce based on what was eaten at the first Thanksgiving. 
 Heid hopes to revitalize interest in the forgotten gardening methods that gave birth to the very first Thanksgiving. "I really want to show all Americans why Squanto's Secrets worked for our Pilgrim Fathers and how his life-giving secrets are even more valuable today.
Solutions From Science is a small Illinois company helping backyard gardeners grow healthier and better tasting fruits and vegetables with alternative, marine based fertilizers.
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