Saturday, November 21, 2015

Planning? What planning?

When it's raining out or otherwise makes it difficult for us to appreciate the joys of getting out of our robes and into gum boots, there are other homestead-y things we can do, such as pottering about in the kitchen or sewing.

Planning? What's that?

Oh, actually we do have a plan. It has kind of settled in, though, and does not need much updating. Two posts ago, we talked about how the satellite view of the home place lent itself to zone analysis. That's a step in planning, for sure. We used to have a drawing of the place on a white board, and after satellite photos became available, we took to transferring the more accurate dimensions to the white board, by printing out a cropped printscreen on graph paper, numbering the squares, and drawing on the board in squares we'd lined off to scale.

Beneath the white board is another white board, and it's an inventory-at-a-glance of stored dry goods and stored seeds.

We have no garden journal, but these lists, combined with such memories as we have of last summer's garden and with the zoned map above them, seem to jog us enough to prepare more or less adequately for the coming year.

In October I pulled the seeds from the refrigerator, in their packets in the seed box or in their mason jars (saved beans and such), and listed them in alpha order. We saw right away that there were no lettuce, pumpkins, yellow zukes, snap peas, and some other things. So we placed an order with our most local seed supplier, Territorial (no, they are not owned by Monsanto). We like other reputable seed houses, such as Baker or Fedco, but aside from our economic localism, we like to support and use local landraces.

We also have on hand way more of some seeds, especially cucumber, than we need. It's like this: A hardware store or somebody donated a lot of year-old seed packets to a food bank, which could only use so many in their gardens, so they sent whole crates of the packets to their collection points, who handed them out until no one could be prevailed upon to take more. So my roshi, who was volunteering at the local collection point (a Grange hall), was prevailed upon to bring home the remainder in a grocery sack, and she dumped them out on the dining room table at a meeting of the sangha.

So this is how I came to have a lot of hybrid and probably Seminis-sourced seeds this year. Especially cucumbers.

I'm probably the end point for these seeds as seeds, as they were having trouble finding a home in the first place and I hate to waste anything, even hybrids. But we have relatively little room for them this year, as I'm not this year's farmer. Beloved, who has been away from it for the last half decade, is ready to get back into it.

What I may do, and I encourage others who find themselves in like case to do, is go ahead and sow them in flats, pot up what comes up, and give away plants to gardeners and would-be gardeners who have a little room.

No, I don't farm for money. I believe in, to the extent possible when living among others who have disparate goals, subsistence.

Every plant freely homed, if cared for and harvested from and then composted, helps in its tiny way to build community and unbuild the enclosure of the commons as represented by the supermarket system.

That might be a plan.

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