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So I’m in Los Angeles today getting ready for a customer meeting and then flying back tonight on the redeye flight to Dulles (oh joy!).  I figure I’ve got a little time so I stop off at the Starbucks Coffee on La Cienega right across from the Beverly Center in order to get some coffee and to sit down and get online with the T-Mobile HotSpot they have.  I was scanning a story in the New York Times today about the problems some people in New York are having going green.  The story mentions a woman and her fiance in Brooklyn who have started a garden and composting and discovered that if you leave lettuce in the ground too long and it went bad when they finally decided to pick it.  On top of that they found maggots in their compost pile. 

The story continues by recounting the problems a restaraunt on the upper east side had as well as a couple trying to renovate their brownstone and a woman who has decided to become a locavore.  However, and this is what I liked, even though these people are facing these problems and complications they are persevering and feel that it is important to keep moving forward.  Like them I’ve had my fair share of problems in the garden — right now it’s a combination of too many tomatoes (we should all have that problem) and, unfortunately, an infestation of spotted cucumber beetles.   However, I will figure out the solution to these problems.  I’m planning on getting a dehydrator to freeze dry the tomatoes and have them as a snack food for the kids (I’m also looking at building my own solar dehydrator as well).  I’m looking at starting to can and preserve the excess vegetables (as well as give some of them away to friends in the neighborhood).

On the compost side of the world, animals (most likely raccoons) have been breaking into my compost piles in the back yard.  The solution — build a new compost system that’s sturdier (I’ve learned my lesson — don’t go for the plastic composters at Costco — they just don’t hold up).  On top of that I’m going to resolve the problem with the fence around the house so I can let the dog out into the back yard without worrying about him escaping and running around the neighborhood.  He’ll hopefully mark the backyard with his scent and that might help dissaude the wild animals from coming around.

The fact is this is not a smooth road.  But we must make this journey.  The world needs every bit of help it can get and we need to stop priming the global warming pump.  America can make an enormous difference in this area and we can definitely lead the way…even if our leaders are unwilling to lead us.  I’m not suggesting that Congress or, heaven forbid, this administration draft a resolution or legislation to encourage people to grow their own victory gardens or to compost more.  Hell they can’t even get tax incentives renewed for solar and wind energy projects.  But it would be nice to see this government lead by example and to adopt gardens and compost piles wherever they can.  It would be nice to see a vegetable garden growing on the U.S. Capital’s front lawn (or even in the Washington Mall).  But alas, that’s wishful thinking.

To those who are making the effort — keep at it.  The world will thank you for it in the long run…and I say “thank you” now. 

I have decided to put all of my blog information about the Garden, our plans for it as well as our rain barrel project and other “Green” projects in a new blog called “Imladris Gardens.” Being a big fan of J. R. R. Tolkein and his Lord of the Rings books (I’ve been a fan long before the movies ever came out and I’ve read his other works as well) I chose to name our garden “Imladris Gardens” as I hope that the garden that we create will be a place of peace and quiet in our neighborhood where people can come, visit and even walk through it and enjoy the beauty and the sounds of the garden. For those who don’t know, Imladris is the Sindarin (i.e. Elvish) name for the Valley of Rivendell where the Last Homely House of Elrond was located…Hobbits welcome 🙂 .

Our garden has been surprisingly explosive lately. We have had a bumper crop of snap beans, zuchinni, and herbs. We’re seeing a huge amount of tomatoes come in as well. We also have finger eggplants coming in. And we still have one and 1/3 more garden beds still unplanted 😦 . As much as I’m dying to get into the garden and to get that last bed in there it seems that time is conspiring against me. I did, however, get the two rain barrels that I wanted (although they still need clean-up, paint, and then installation). However, I’m confident that I’ll get them in place by the end of next week. On the whole I’ve got quite a number of projects on my plate for the garden:

  • Finish digging and installing fourth garden bed
  • Finish rain barrels and install
  • Install drip-irrigation system
  • Build cold frames for fall garden
  • Finish front yard garden plan (long and short term)
  • Plan winter/spring garden
  • Build new composter in back

These are on top of the other things I want to do for next year: build a chicken coop and look into raising chickens, possibly establish a beehive (for help with pollination of crops), start installing a solar PV system to generate electricity, redo the back patio, plan an herb garden on the side of the house, build a deer fence around the entire front yard property (we’re talking about a piece of property that is 75′ from the house to the street and 100′ wide (from one neighbor to the other) — and that’s just the front yard!). I see myself as very fortunate that I have so much property. I look at the Quince’s garden which is June’s Featured Freedom Garden of the Month at Freedom Gardens and they have managed to do so much with a lot that is only 100′ L x 45′ W. They truly inspire me to work harder at this.

On a different note I saw the following article this morning in the New York Times: “A Locally Grown Diet with Fuss but No Muss”. It details a developing trend called “locavores” which was chosen as the 2007 Oxford American Dictionary’s Word of the Year. They even have a website devoted to the idea. I applaud the effort these folks are making and I sympathize with them in terms of not having time to work in the garden to grow their own food. As I understand it these “Locavores” are stemming from the 100-mile diet project of buying your food from within a 100-mile radius of where you live. Another project, and one that I’m working on, is the 100-foot diet from Freedom Gardens. This is where you grow the food that you eat and all the food that you eat comes from within 100 feet of where you live. Eventually I hope to meet that challenge with everything from eggs, vegetables, and even honey. We shall see.

August 2020

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