27 November, 2011

Gardening at Year's End

I hope all of you enjoyed Thanksgiving and resisted the temptation to go shopping instead of watching football. Looking back on your Turkey Day munch fest was there anything on the table from your garden or a guests garden. Where did your feast come from? How far did the rutabagas have to travel to each your table and were they fresh?
"Fresh rutabagas"? you might ask. Well that may be a stretch since the lowly rutabaga is often an after thought it is just something that is always on the table even though few really eat them. Then again it is one of those yellow vegetables we keep hearing we should be eating. But they just taste so................(fill in the blank expletives deleted).

Well the problem therein may not be so much the taste but the source. Grant you I do not think there is much you can do to improve on the flavor of rutabagas and their taste cousins turnips. They just taste the way they taste. I like turnips and rutabagas in small doses. My wife will not even let them be stored in the fridge. She cannot stand the aroma let alone the taste. 

But does everything just have to taste the way it tastes? There are certain inherent taste profiles that science cannot change no matter how GMOing they try to do. I think the same can be said about heirlooming our gardens to death as well. A lot has to do with in my opinion fear of change or love of old. Remember when Coke got in trouble for introducing new Coke. That was the first Occupy Movement. Downtown Atlanta was packed with protesters claiming new coke was horrible. In Actuality blind taste tests proved otherwise with new Coke winning hands down.

So could it be the same with our gardens. Do we fear Franken-beans because they were made in a laboratory by men in white coats and pocket protectors? Do we love Grandma's variety of beans because they are so familiar? Could be. There is more truth in clinging to something old than venturing into the great unknown. 

But let's get back to Thanksgiving dinner, or what is left of it. I ask again do you know where your food came from. I know the herbs used in the stuffing and in other dishes came from basement. Fresh parsley, basil, thyme and more are thriving under grow lights growing in a rich oxygenated bath of nutrient wealthy water. Some onions came from a sort of root cellar known as the unheated extra bathroom just off the kitchen. My onions are much smaller than what one buys at the market but the flavor is huge due  their being fresh from this years garden. In fact onions were one of the few crops that thrived this year in my garden.

Need some proof to my pudding? While it may not be possible to grow rutabagas indoors this winter you can grow a Simon and Garfunkel garden, Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme whether or not you've ever been to Scarborough Fair. To get a bigger crop quicker place them under grow lights where they will get 12 hours of light a day. Check out a system of hydroponics called Deep Water Culture where plants really take off and grow like crazy.

And consider where your food really comes from....................

Will rutabagas make it to your root cellar next year, how about onions and potatoes?

Whatever makes it to your table will taste better if it is local..........and nothing is more local than your backyard.

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