Monday, August 25, 2008

Garden Food Production

The garden hasn't exactly had the chance to over-produce this year, since the only plantings were experimental. But we've had a good batch of potatoes, a courgette (more on the way), about ten tomatoes, and some spring onions. It's enough to prove the case, at least, that the place can produce food.

However, in conversations about the garden - and I apologise to those people whose ears I have talked off in recent weeks about the topic - it's starting to come up that many people's experience of food production at home is that they end up with too much. I've been thinking about that, because while anything that gets produced can be either eaten, given away, or preserved in some manner, I'd like to spread things out a bit. The ideal, I reckon, is to produce all the vegetables we need (and can reasonably grow in Ireland), and at least some of the fruit, and not to under- or over-produce.

Actually getting to precisely that state is probably harder than it sounds. You really can't predict, when you sow seed, how much is going to come up, and you can't know in advance what the depredations of slugs, blight, or other problems are going to be like. So you have to sow more than you really want to reap, just to be on the safe side.

I also think we're going to have to change our eating habits. At the moment, the main vegetable we use is the bell pepper - and unless we really do well with the greenhouse, I can't see us producing enough peppers to last the year. So there's going to have to be some adjustment toward eating the things we can produce - which is probably better than buying in peppers from elsewhere anyway.

The notion of overproducing any one crop is making me think, though, that the way to go is a wide spread of different crops. Staples like onions and potatoes can have reasonably large numbers, since they keep well. Carrots will probably get in there as well. And after that, I'm starting to think that single rows of lots of different things forms a good plan.

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