Eden Gardening – Part 1

Our garden drowned this past spring….it was pathetic.

It was epic pathetic – puddles of water formed in the leach field behind my little home.  At first when I bought the house, I thought “Cool! I won’t have to water!”  Duh…I live in Missouri, aka – the water state…

There was sooooooooo much water this past spring that the rivers flooded the corn fields and septic tanks backed up on the neighbors country farms.  There was at least of month of rain, enough that Eli, the local Amish Guy, had time to rebuild my bathroom floor and other nifty stuff, ’cause he couldn’t venture out into the fields without getting stuck in the mud.

Yep – it was Epic Pathetic!

Not all is lost though – I have a plan…..

A couple of years ago – in 2012, when I lived on 3 acres, I tried a new technique.  I had heard about an evangelist gardener who had developed a low-maintenance gardening method.  Well, I am all about low maintenance, so I tried it.

Building it was hard work, since I didn’t have a pickup truck at the time, I would fill my sedan trunk up with aged wood chips and unload them onto a selected plot of grass.  It was slow going, but paid off big time.

My first spring was good – it was as promised – low to no maintenance and zero watering after the initial watering had been done.  Weeds were easy to pull and I got a decent bounty.

The real test was in 2013.  A friend had helped me out that spring and unloaded about 4 giant truckloads of the aged wood chips.  My garden bed doubled in size and thickness. I planted squash, zucchini, peas, cabbage, melons, corn, etc. with the excited hope of having a bang-up harvest.

Things changed though.  During the hottest time of the season, my mother died, and then I decided I needed to get away and snuggle some grandchildren, so I left for a month.  (I would have been gone longer, but responsibilities called to me.)  I said goodbye to my garden, not expecting it to survive the month-long 90’s to 100 degree high humidity temperatures that are so enduring to this state in the late summer months.  I thoroughly enjoyed the month of being with grand-kids and it was nice to be able to work through my grief with family.

Upon my return, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only had my garden survived, it was awesome! – The weeds flourished too.  the important thing was everything survived and had been growing quite well in my absence.  What really sold me on Eden gardening was when I reached down with an iron grip and heaved a weed northward, the ease in which the unwanted plant released it’s grip from the garden bed sent me toppling backward near-head-over-heels.  That was when I knew I was in-love. 

Now I am in a new home – I tried the old method of planting in the soil and got nothing….not even my potatoes survived….

This spring….it’s gonna be different.

Watch the Back to Eden Film and learn more about how this amazing, down-to-earth system works:

 

 

The source for this film is: http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/  buy the DVD and support this farmer.

The Restored Roots blog post, lists both Pro’s and Con’s about wood chips:

“PROS:

  1. Wood chips do a fabulous job of weed control. In the past three months, I’ve only pulled about two dozen weeds (no joke!). That has been wonderful. In years past, I have spent hours and hours pulling weeds throughout the summer and fall. I won’t be doing that this year! 
  2. With wood chips, the few weeds I’ve had to deal with are easy to pull. Weed seeds don’t have a chance to get into the soil because the wood chips are so deep. Out of the ones that do survive, their roots are thin and very easy to pull and discard.
  3. Wood chips make vegetable plants big and super healthy! Even after a rough start, our squash plants are absolutely beautiful and producing lovely, juicy fruit. (Notice the zucchini and blue Hubbard in the photos below.) They look bigger and better than plants from our previous gardens. We believe the wood chips are creating a rich, more vibrant soil. They have also caused rapid strong growth in our fruit trees and raspberry crop. (We spread the chips everywhere in our garden!)
  4. Wood chips have decreased our garden water consumption dramatically.Compared to open bare soil, the wood chips keep water in the soil and plants. Now that the squash plants are almost to full maturity, we’re only watering about twice a week, even in the hottest of weather.

For more information about self-sufficient ways of living:

Get the Book

CONS:

  1. Wood chips seem to attract slugs, especially in the spring when the ground is still moist. This is bad news for new growth coming up from seed. In a different climate, where there is less rainfall, this might not be the case. But in our zone 8 with lots of rain throughout the winter and spring, I’m guessing that slugs are more of a problem. I also confirmed this with our CSA farmer, who tried using mulch on a large scale one year. His said slugs were a major problem. The solution? Planting from starts (not seed) seemed to help. But you could also use Sluggo Snail & Slug Control, a natural organic slug killer, or Epsom salts around each vegetable plant or row to control the slug population.
  2. Wood chips seem to smother new growth from seed, at least in the first year.source: www.RestoredRoots.com The Back to Eden website isabsolutely correct. You must pull back the chips and plant in the soil. Otherwise, the seeds have no chance. Even then, the wood chips tend to move and fall back into the “soil hole.” One possible solution we have not tried: place a plastic barrier in between the soil and wood chips, so they don’t fall back into place.”

 

source= http://restoredroots.com/our-first-back-to-eden-garden-part-1-early-summer/

Check out my next blog for advice on when and how to build your new wood-chip garden bed.
https://howmuchwheatbook.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/eden-gardening-part-2/

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I Blinked and Missed It Again!!!

Apocalypse Ahead Warning SignI arrived home last night to learn that all the power was out on our street, in our local neighborhood – heck, in the WHOLE city!  How strange….

There seemed to be no tell-tale fire, the sounds of rushing fire-trucks or even a sheriff slowly driving through the streets with a megaphone to announce “All is well – power will be back on shortly.”

The megaphone thing was something the sheriff did nearly 50 years ago – before the age of electronics…like cell phones, dvd’s, and even oooh….vcr’s.  We had 3 channels on the TV, plus a few static-laden channels from the UHF and VHF realms of media space.  Rabbit ears were used to bring them back into focus and if you missed a show, re-runs hadn’t been invented yet.
Yep, those were the good-ol’-days.

So did I Miss the End of the World AGAIN???

Let’s see – how many end of the world scenarios have there been in the recent years?

  • I remember Y2K – that was a doozey!  I didn’t feel it though and felt that the hype was over rated, and I was right – good thing I went to bed without a worry, because the sun got up as happy as usual.
  • 911- a very sad day for so many –  seemed more of a signs of the times and definitive shift from feeling safe and comfortable at home to terribly vulnerable and victimized.
  • Now 2012, the Mayan Calendar’s End of Days – that one was a breath holder!
    I went to bed and got up and realized – I have missed all the excitement!
    The end of the world had Left Me Behind!  Ugh!
  • The past two years we have been geared up for ‘the-end-is-near’ and the ‘end’ keeps forgetting to tap me on the shoulder to get my attention.  I really feel left out of the loop!  

I missed BOTH the asteroid striking the earth AND yesterdays End-of-Days!

What next?  Will I miss California falling into the ocean too??? Sheesh!

As the sun began to sink behind the horizon, I began searching around the house for a candle and matches – I even tossed some wood and kindling in the fire pit – in case dinner would be an ‘eating-out’ opportunity.  While searching, I realized I didn’t have any lamp oil, that maybe I should get some.  I worried that IF there was a TEOWAKI event, I didn’t have my wood stove installed yet.  What would I do IF the electricity really did quit? – Was I ready?    I knew the answer – NO – I am not ready.

I have a gravity water filter…I made my own Berkey with two 5 gallon buckets, the Berkey filters and a spigot – good girl!  But…I did not have alternative heat or cooking means for my family for the long winter ahead.

Winters in Missouri are power-outage nightmares, especially if there is an ice storm.

What about light?  Did I really want to use my precious oil as a light source? No.
Do I have enough candles?  I don’t think so….
What about space heaters in each room? You know the upside-down ceramic flower pots with tea-lights, or even blocks of soapstone to put at the base of the bed for warm toes.
Am I ready??? No.  Ugh!

There is sooooo much to consider and do to prepare for a total TEOWAKI event!

Back to my strange, kinda freaky, feelings.  Hmmm….I wondered – can they create a focused EMP that can attack only the grid that effects homes and infrastructure, and not cars or mechanical-computerized devices?  I then hopped on my tablet to search these questions and realized that if the internet was up, we probably didn’t have an EMP attack.   I later learned from a neighbor that it turns out a little bird took down a transformer in a nearby town.  The power was out for only an hour and a half.  We ate in.

Sigh of Relief!!!

(If taking down the grid is THAT easy!  We’re in real trouble!)

I am glad I slept through this apocalypse, but I must keep in mind, there are many other apocalypses to look forward to, such as:

The tidal wave that supposed to sweep the east coast,
The mega New Madrid earthquake that will split our continent in two along the Mississippi river,
The Super Volcanic eruption of Yellowstone,
The Cascadia Fault Zone,
Utah’s Wasatch Front gearing-up for “The-Big-One” and let’s not overlook…
California slipping into the ocean.

If I missed mentioning your favorite apocalypse – let me know.

So many exciting adventures are ahead of us…..don’t be like me, sleeping through ALL of them.

Be Prepared.

Get THE Book

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

May the Storage Be With You.

🙂

News Flash…White Flour is NOT Forever!

For years I  have assumed the accepted  belief that white flour has an indeterminate life cycle and that once it’s packed, it is good for life.

Home Storage Friends, I’ve got some seriously bad news for you, white flour is not forever!

Boy – did I receive a tasty surprise when I discovered a couple of white flour buckets that had gotten tucked behind other items.

These flour buckets were dated 2009 and yes, it had the original flour still inside.
I thought, “Ooooh, I need to use this stuff!” and proceeded to make a double batch of biscuits.

Well, That was a BIG mistake!

During dinner, my kids and their friends – (what a way to make an impression) – seemed to turn bit white, while gagging slightly, when they took their first bite of these mirages of flaky goodness.  Even after their first  bite,they were troopers as they attempted to mask the beyond bitter taste with butter, honey and/or cinnamon sugar.

One of the neighbor kids at the table stated that my biscuits tasted like really bad play-dough.  The expressed consensus throughout the meal was that rancid play-dough doesn’t really taste very good.

The last time I had gotten a ‘compliment’ like this from a non-bias crowd was when I served some roll-out sugar cookies several years ago to the children of a good friend – the recipe for these cookies I found on the Martha Stewart website and had felt pretty confident that they were be the ‘bees-knees’.

My friends kids were kinder than my own.
The older girl in the car simply asked me if I was serving the ‘play-dough’ cookies again.
It was an awkward moment, but I took it well by incorporating generous amounts of humor.
If I can’t laugh at myself then I won’t have any fun when my friends are laughing at me.

FYI: I am very sure that it was the slightly aged flour, not the recipe,
that brought on the less-than-desirable play-dough taste.

My mistaken imaginations of forever white flour were shattered this past week as I slaughtered a double-batch of innocent biscuits.

I will say it again: Home Storage Friends, I’ve got some seriously bad news for you, white flour is NOT forever!

I truly feel concern for those who have acquired their ‘food-storage’, (hunkering down for decades in grandmas basement) either by early inheritance, or by personal investment…the day will come when you will need to eat it.  Make sure it is edible today to ensure you can eat it tomorrow.

If you have those #10 cans or 5 gallon buckets of white flour that are dated beyond two years from their original packing – unless they are vacuum sealed in Mylar or food sealer bags – then your white flour probably tastes pretty nasty right now.

This past incident with my flour being 7 years old just topped my record of serving some pretty nasty food.  Believe me, starvation would definitely more flavorful that those biscuits.  I don’t think there is any amount of sugar, milk, butter or other flavor altering ingredient that can fix rancid flour.

I mean it was rancid!  Not just the “Ewe, that’s stale.” taste, it was more like the “Ugh! Get this nasty tongue stinging, stinky, nausea party out of my mouth!” kinda taste.  There was no fixing it….there IS NO FIXING IT!

Wheat and other grained flour is worse – 6 months tops for wheat flour before it goes, unless you keep it in a 45-50 degree environment, then it may have a bit longer keep.

My advise to you is to open TODAY an older #10 can or 5 gallon bucket to verify that the flour is still good.  Sometimes food in the can will also take on a tinny taste over time.

My theory is: If one can. or bucket of white flour is bad then be assured that all the cans or buckets of white flour reflecting the same date, or close to it, will be bad as well.

If your white flour is vacuum sealed in Mylar or food sealer bags, it may still be good.  You will not know unless you open it and the worst time to discover your stores are bad is when you are ready to eat them.

Remember stored food is not meant to sit in your basement, crawlspace, stairway space or closet waiting for an apocalypse.  It is supposed to be regularly consumed and replenished just like your cupboard.

Eat What Your Store Today ~ Store What You’ll Eat Tomorrow

May the Storage Be With You

Anne 🙂

 

 

Crossed International Boundaries this Month

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

How Much Wheat Am I Really Going To Eat? by Anne McFadden

Whoo Hoot!  I’ve sold a kindle book in Australia this month!

I know that may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me.
Funny, it seems to help me feel like I am a for-real author!
Since this is my first book, and my baby, as well as the possible opus of my writing career, I am happy to see my book selling on the other side of the world.

Thank you Amazon!  🙂

 

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