Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Dig For Victory

I've just seen a really interesting blog post over at Earth Connection a bushcraft school in northern Virginia. It set me thinking............

Looking out of the window, towards my my sit spot at the far end of the garden, it's really high time I got to digging over the garden to plant a vegetable patch.
Last summers apple crop was massive, but our month in France came at the right time for us but the wrong time for effective harvesting. We left unripe apples on the tree and returned to overripe wind falls on the ground. apples aside this year I want to get into it a bit more than last summers tomatoes and chills on the kitchen window sill.

During the second world war the efforts people could make at home were a valuable source of both morale and nutrition. The concept was sold to the public as 'doing our bit' on 'the home front'. The project proved to me a huge success - the British haven't been as health since! A fact that's always worth pointing out to fatties when they moan 'its my genes' - the nation had pretty much same genes '39 through '46 as we do today but the availability of processed foods was massively restricted by rationing. So people grew their own vegetables and hunted rabbits, hares and pigeons with a previously unknown vigour and were healthier and slimmer.

I once read an interesting account of a German woman's post war experiences in Berlin, after the war food and pets were thin on the ground. She said she became something of a local celebrity due to her skill at trapping! Oh and she confirmed, dog is a lot better eating than cat.

The climate change, food miles, rising food prices, and city air quality issues (lets gloss over my need for mass reduction)are compelling reasons to take up a little suburban smallholding. Could I really live in the suburbs by the estuary, on garden grown veg, and the proceeds of shotgun, rod and ferret?

I proposed as much to Mrs SBW
'Stop blogging and go back to work'

Thanks for reading


Anonymous said...

I know I couldn't totally live on what I could grow or shoot or catch, mostly because I don't hunt yet. There are community gardens here though, and every year I think about getting a plot and growing a few veggies.

I may have to consider that again this year.

Anonymous said...

Can't say that I think badly of your wifes advice. You can't grow a garden sitting at a desk hitting the keyboard and blogging. You have to get out there in the dirt and do it. As do we all! The blog posts will just have to be shorter and more terse while we garden. I wish you much success.



The Suburban Bushwacker said...

She'd be delighted to hear you say that!!
Thanks for getting in touch

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reading our thought piece on Victgory Gardens.

We think that the garden will provide not only home grown food but interest in consuming local foods by the season as a more cost effective method for the global food economy. Thereby not adding to climate change.

(Not to mention all the herbivores it brings to our table via the primitive deadfall traps we use to keep the critters from eating all our tended food... we are primitive skills practioners and have to practice our art.)

We will link you in our favorite links. Cheers... Hue

Holly Heyser said...

Don't give in, SBW!!!

Boyfriend and I have not eliminated the supermarket from our diet altogether, but we've come very, very close - typically we go only for dairy products, breakfast cereal, bread, olive oil, coffee and cat food.

We eat a LOT from our garden - all salads right now, but tons of tomatoes and peppers and other great stuff in the summer.

We do hit the farmers market for that which we don't grow - and we typically spend more there than we do at the supermarket each week. And while probably 95 percent of the meat in our freezer is hunted meat, we hit the farmers market for pastured pork because domestic pork is just too yummy to pass up. Besides, Boyfriend can't make all his wonderful sausages without it.

It's a dream worth pursuing. It's the reason we bought a house on a quarter-acre in the suburbs, rather than be closer to our work downtown. We love it!

EC said...

Okay... so I am commenting on my own blog post at earth-connection. But, I thought it constructive to talk about the details of our current system that should not be ignored.

Although, it makes sense to avoid unnecessary transport of food, there are other ways to limit our contributions to global warming trends.

Yes, local food is fresher and probably healthier, and your purchase contributes to the local economy. But food transport, unless it is by air, is usually a relatively small part of a meal's carbon impact. Reducing the amount of meat you eat has far more effect than deciding to buy locally. A pound of beef from the farm next door will have many times the global warming effect of a can of beans shipped from somewhere faraway. Taking a few steps towards a vegan diet will reduce carbon emissions far more than local purchasing.

On another note... this whole eat locally thing is much more complicated than just trying to eat locally to reduce the food miles between food sources and our tables. Reducing food miles could possibly hurt the environment more and lull us into the false belief that we are part of the solution when are actually still part of the problem and making it worse.

How so, you say? There would be significant harm to the poorest and most vulnerable countries through boycotting their fresh agricultural produce. World economic collapse (or worse as we have seen already in many parts of Africa) would have far reaching impacts like those seen in the markets recently.

Then... ‘the only fair
option, which considers the livelihoods of those in developing countries as well as the need to protect the environment, is to ensure that the prices of the goods we consume cover the costs of their environmental impact, wherever they are from and however they are produced.'

Anyhow, locally derived food for thought.

check out the source:

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Thanks for getting in touch.
The food mile vs supporting developing nations debate is certainly a complex one.
My knee jerk reaction is toward locally produced foods and less reliance on large scale farming, however your point about the need for fair trade to support the farmers in less 'developed' countries and offset the impact of their transportation and production is a good one.

Hopefully this will go some way to provoking a debate which will lead to practical steps we can all take .
I welcome your thoughts

deerslayer said...

Personally I think that home grown foods are much better for you than supermarket foods mainly because in today's society you never know exactly what they put in the foods during preparation to manufacture and alot of the foods you get at the supermarket are raised with some kind of a high dose chemical to either enhance the flavor or produce it faster. If your a natural farmer then you know exactly what you fertilize you food crops with and how much and it's all natural not manufactured at some smogg plant. Best of luck with your garden this year and oh yeah one more note I got you added along with many other sites this weekend and thanks for the link-up.

Anonymous said...

i will eat you sbw,this i promise.
ken,new guinea.

Albert A Rasch said...

We try to eat from our garden as much as possible. Mostly we have herbs and such, as vegetables are really hard to grow in this heat. Now the bananas do fine, and when we have chickens we eat a lot of delicious free range eggs. Chickens are probably the easiest thing to raise btw. Rabbit would also be pretty simple for small holdings and suburban lots.

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles