One of my best memories is of the warm, spicy scent of tomato plants as I brushed by them in our garden when I was a little girl growing up on a sheep farm in northeastern Ohio. Every summer (until I was 11 years old and we moved away from that farm :() we ate from that plentiful garden, canned and fermented and stored food from it too.
When I got married and then pregnant with Maddie, my fervency for growing food and flowers led me to sign up for the Master Gardener program through the Colorado State Extension. That winter I attended classes two nights a week immersing myself in the study of mycorrhiza fungi, bug wings, stomata, and xylem (etc., etc.). And by that spring I had obtained my Master Gardener license. (I will say it sounds a bit funny when I mention to someone that I’m a “Master Gardener” – especially if they don’t know what the hell that means and may inadvertently think I’m just being ridiculous or haughty. So, I unfortunately usually have to explain it so whoever isn’t thinking, “Wow, Master, you really think you’re something, huh? Who is this yoo-hoo!?” Ha!)
Grow a Plentiful Garden
The geographical spot I’ve chosen to raise my family here in the northern California mountains cannot and will never offer the type of gardening experience I was spoiled with as a young girl. But every year (using some of what I learned that winter along with lots of trial and error and books galore) I give it a go. This year is no exception.
This year giving it a go is bordering on the imperative! As we’re all at home figuring out where the next bag of groceries will come from, it’s hopefully easy to set our minds to digging up the beds in back and planting seeds (or planting them in pots on the porch or deck even!) so as to be in charge of our own foodish fate. (I wrote a short article on Medium with a list of small-scale seed sellers that I implore you to take a look at and then order from!)
Now, before you buy your seeds, I want to send you off to Heather Bruggeman’s blog, Northridge Farm. Heather offers a literal treasure trove of advice on growing all of your food and storing it. Poke around her site but be forewarned, you’ll be there for a while.
Before heading her way, I want to provide you with some links to just a few of the gardening and food storage books that have been invaluable to me over the years. It’s not an exhaustive list here, just a few of the ones that I turn to again and again (I have a bit more of an extensive list here.).
Books on Growing and Storing Your Own Food
The Suburban Micro-Farm: Modern Solutions for Busy People – this year, I’m working toward creating a micro-farm (farmlette) in our back yard and I’m just soaking in this book!!!
- Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Also published on Medium.