Kitchen gardens I

If your seed catalogue has not already arrived, now is the time that you get on the phone and ask someone, somewhere “Why?” Mine is already dog-eared, rumbled and well thumbed through and has been sitting on my coffee table since well before Christmas. The fact is, my seed order arrived as an early Christmas gift.

If you’re wondering why I seem to be jumping the gun, let me tell you why. The fact is, the vitamins you need to keep you in good health could very well be amply supplied from your very own garden. Not from the diluted and processed. Not from that shipped across continents. Not from the vitamin pill bottle, which is nothing more than a little dehydrated hope wrapped up in an expensive bottle. The vitamins you need can be grown in your very own garden or easily garnered by seasonal bulk “farm gate” purchase and freshly frozen.

Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes needed should all come from the food you eat. Your body requires the synergistic relation. Synthetics often have massive quantities of a cheap, isolated vitamin, as well as insufficient quantities of others, not in the symbiotic balance nutritionally needed.

Vegetarians need not worry about not eating meat. If they were meant to so do, evolution would have created humans with fangs instead of well-functioning molars, and we would be wagging long tongues capable of lapping up blood. After all, are not the animals so devoured by those who chomp flesh, not themselves vegetarians? Where is it supposed that they get their nutrition? The big, strong, muscled oxen that pulled the stumps and cleared the rocks in preparation of the fields your ancestors toiled to clear are vegetarian. By growing your own, in addition to needed exercise, you are simply cutting your costs by cutting out the predation of the middleman.

The secret to a balanced diet is variety. Mix your veggies and fruits up, and don’t pig out for overextended periods on any one item. Go with the seasonal flow. Don’t give preference to any one colour. And don’t feel you are going to gain by some far away exotic addition. This is not necessarily so.

Steer clear of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Recycle everything that you can through your composter. That includes shredding your cardboard boxes, newspapers, and junk mail. Added to your wet pail kitchen waste, it makes excellent mulch to top-dress, holding moisture and breaking down to fertilize your next year’s crop. I always use organic fertilizers straight from the farm, and water with air temperature rain barrel-caught soft water, not the heavily chlorinated, chilled, hard tap water.

Not wanting to ruffle the hackles of my sometimes grumpy editors by running a little on the long side with my articles, I find it necessary to often cut them short or split them up into two or three additional articles, so pin this one up on your refrigerator as I will have II, III, and IV on this subject, covering selection and storage, escaping the spell check of my computer shortly.

In the meantime, I have reserved the tail end of this space to tell you about a coming date that I don’t want you to forget. So get out your big marking pencil, mark your calendar, your kitchen wall, or spray paint it on the side of your barn. It makes no never mind to me; just don’t forget.

Dead centre of the March break, as in many years past, Greenspaces for Wellington is once again holding its annual Bluebird and Bat House assembly workshop. This project is chaired and organized by the one and only John Powers, the noted butterfly man from Cambridge, and is gratefully hosted in their educational naturium by Sabina and Kees Kennema at Greenway Blooming Centre, just off Highway 7 at 2000 Shantz Station Road, Breslau.

So go mark your calendar for March 17, 18 and 19, from 10am to 4pm each day. Our cost recovery is $10 per birdhouse and $20 for those built specifically for bats. They are made from long-lasting, pleasant-smelling eastern white cedar, needing no paint, and will last a lifetime.

Every garden, no matter how small, needs one or two. They are your environmentally friendly insect control. The birds seek and eat the creepy-crawlies by day, and the bats zigzag the shadows of night, gobbling the mosquitoes in flight. You can’t get a better environmentally friendly deal anywhere. I’ll see you all there.

Take care, ‘cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins