This morning, while the South is mourning it's dead from the tornadoes that struck it, I will write about gardening to produce food to keep us alive. If the good God hasn't taken us, we had better act like we appreciate that fact and get busy trying to assure our continued existance. We garden to feed ourselves good healthy vegetables during the Summer growing season and also to produce enough to can and dry for the Fall and Winter and Spring. It's a big task and very important. I don't klnow when SHTF or TEOTWAWKI is going to happen, so look upon each garden as a practive session in survival. And practice makes perfect.
I use a book titled THE GARDENERS A-Z GUIDE TO GROWING ORGANIC FOOD. It by TANYA L.K. DENCKLA and it is pretty handy. And just because I use this book is no sign that you have to use it. But there are sections in it most everywhere that tell you how to handle problems with bugs and fungus and whatever. IT is one thing to till the soil and plant the seed. It is a whole other world to ensure you get in successful crop and harvest it. Until the food is on your plate or in your canning jars, you have not completed the successful garden cycle.
I will begon with the seeds my Handmaiden has purchased for her herbal trip. And she gets better all the time with this.
She bought a packet of Stinging Nettle seed from Garden Medicinals out of Oregon. She is very impresseed with the attributes of Stinging Nettle. Stinging Nettle is good for high blood pressure, and some other things I can't recall. It also makes good soup. Practically the National Dish of Ireland. You can also make cloth out of Nettle Fiber. The German Army used nettle cloth in the uniforms in WW I. You can also use the stuff for catlle and horse fodder but I don't know how you process it. The boiling of nettles makes a strong saline solution that will curdle milk and thus aid in making chesse in lieu of Rennet. Is a good vegetable high in Vitamins C and D and Carotine, Iron and Calcium, as well as other minerals. There are also many medicinal uses for Nettles.
We have Fennel seed because I like Italian Sausage so well. You will need to do research on other uses for. Fennel. It grows wild, if you can find it.
A superfood. In season I can't get enough of it. It does wonders for your immune system. I know of three grown men who have "popping" joints and they ate just a little Purslane and it quit. I like it on hamburgers and as a salad. BLT's are just as good as BPT's. It has the Omega 3 oil in it and can help your body clean up your arterys. Something to remember if you can't get Anchovies, Salmon, or Sardines. You gotta get by with what you have if push comes to shove. I believe you can grow Purslane as a window plant in the Winter. Loaded with vitamins and minerals. We are growing 2 kinds of it this year, "Golden" and "Tall Green". We get the seeds from http://www.wildgardenseed.com out of Oregon. But it grows in profusion here and I for one, am in favor of using the locally adapted plants as my food. I'm locally adapted and we seem to go together. I can't say enough good about Purslane. Keeps you healthy. Definitely a part of the pharmacy of the future. Loaded with vitamons and minerals. Try it. You'll like it. When we first tilled our garden this strange little plant popped up all over the place. The Handmaiden identified it as Purslane and we have been eating it ever since. Super.
Chickweed is a good vegetable to have arond for salads. Use it anywhere in cooking where you would use Spinach. It is a lettuce substitute and makes fine BCT's. Lots of fiber, and fiber is very necessary for a healthy body. I don't have a rundown on the nutritional data for Chickweed so you might Google that and learn. Penny Scout at http://pennyscout.wordpress.com/ just put up a very nice article on Chickweed. Look her up.
This is a lettuce that is not used by most people. It is tangy and a might bitter but not unpleasant. A very good change of pace in your Summer routine of salad eating. Lot's fiber. Check the nutrition.
From Wild Garden Seed: Atriplex hortensis Native to the Alps, formerly called “mountain spinach”, an annual species growing to 6’ at maturity, used as warm weather salad greens with spinach-like qualities. Cut as young seedlings or pick leaves as plant matures. Best salad quality comes from first 18” of growth. Mature plant is highly ornamental as seed bracts appear and enlarge in the same color as the leaves. Currently coming into use for floral arrangements. A good late summer pollen source for syrphid flies to help protect autumn crops from aphids. Try it at http://www.wildgardenseed.com/index.php?cPath=47.
I don't know anything about Goosefoot but the Handmaiden orderedit so we will be growing it. It's learning experience.
From http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2001/0603/taste.html Rhubarb and sorrel are, in fact, distantly related. They're both members of the buckwheat family, and both the crimson stalks of rhubarb and the pale-green, lance-shaped leaves of sorrel contain fairly large amounts of oxalic acid, rendering them sour, probably slightly toxic, and for those who love them, completely irresistible. Oxalic acid is not recommended by nutitionists that I know of. You might want to stay away from this until you know more.
These are the things that Handmaiden wants to try this year in the garden. It is by no means our entire list of vegetables but the bulk foods will come tomorrow or later. Happy gardening!
Eat well and stay alive.