First, Dom has decided that he wants to take on the project of growing a year worth of beans, winter squash, potatoes and grain. We've always talked about doing this. It's less space intensive that you'd expect, only about a tenth of an acre per person. And that includes enough grain to feed a flock of laying hens! (for more on this look into Gene Logsdon's books) We are diversifying a great deal with the bean crop growing two or three field peas, several bean types (including adzuki beans, my favorite Japanese bean) working with bush beans, half runner beans and pole beans. Grain won't be quite as diversified, but we will be growing two varieties of corn one of which is reported to be the very best for polenta (Otto File). Winter squash varieties abound. We saved seed from all of the different squashes we grew this year and we'll add in Blue Hubbard this year. We're joining forces with our neighbor for potato growing. She's successfully grown masses of potatoes for centuries, and we have only had marginal success, so it will be a good learning experience.
|Corn, beans, and squash are all that is necessary to maintain a basic balanced diet. Native Americans understood this which is why Succotash (a combination of these three foods) was a mainstay of their diet.|
Second, Micah who is studying to be an herbalist, is hard at work creating beds for medicinal herb growing. He had great success with his first Echinacea patch last year, and this year he'll be expanding on that success. He and I will also be planting our first intentional mushroom patches. We searched far and wide for the best prices for mushroom plugs and finally came across a wonderful company called Fungi Perfecti. We'll be inoculating logs and stumps all over our land with shitake, reishi and chicken of the woods mushrooms. I've wanted to do this for at least twenty years, and this year just feels like the right time to finally jump in.
|Echinacea stimulates the immune system|
|Shitake mushrooms are wonderful for both culinary and medicinal purposes|
|Sulphur Shelf (Chicken of the Woods) has both the flavor and texture of chicken|
|Reishi mushrooms have a wide variety of medicinal benefits|
Of course we'll also be doing our regular gardening, and Joe and I plan to get involved with the Bounty of the Barrens farmer's market up in Glascow, KY this summer.
My big hope for the new year is that we actually keep up the necessary stamina to achieve all of our goals!
Hope you all have the best year ever!