Friday, July 11, 2008

Old School, New School

While Dawn and I were out in Minnesota this past week,
we went to my grandparents farm to pay a little visit.

My Grandma Aggie has been gardening her whole life,
and is a real hardcore farmwife. She is 85 and still charging too.

She's an old-schooler though when it comes to gardening.
I mention square foot gardens and mulching and she really
has no care for it. Not that she's ever done it, mind you...
its just that once youve done something for 80 years in a certain
way, its a slim chance that anything is going to change that.

Her garden is GREAT though. That being said, where her garden is
now was for DECADES a horse pasture. Think of all that composted
horse manure. SO RICH.

But she has never really heard of mineralizing the soil, copper tools, or even
composting. Its amazing to hear her say that, because I've been so immersed
in the new technologies of growing plants lately. She just adds manure in every
few years and the microorganisms and worms just break it all down.
Pretty easy...but we're not all so blessed to be growing in what used
to be an old horse pasture....which is now VERY fertile.

Nevertheless, she has been growing for a very long time, and
she has good soil to work with, so I would say she definitely has
a grip on what she's doing. In my opinion though...WAY too many
potatoes. I just think about all the heirloom tomatoes or melons
and cucumbers that could be growing in that space.
Regular old yukon gold potatoes...
and she's never planted a sweet potato in her life.

Can we meet in the middle? I'll let you know in a year or two.
I started with crappy soil, and have been building it up as much
as possible. We cant expect amazing results right away
if we are starting with so-so soil. We've got to build it up.
We'll see what happens.

She hooked us up with so much spinach and lettuce though!
They barely eat the greens they buy...and my grandpa actually prefers

Dawn and I were going crazy! Too strange, right?

She never sprays though...thank the world for that one...
you should have heard the collective sigh of relief when she told us that.

We made a green smoothie out of her spinach, with fresh organic
strawberries that we picked that morning, and goji berries...WOW.

The more I have super fresh produce (less than a day old),
the more Im convinced of its power. There is a massive difference.
There's no better opportunity to try for yourself!
Get out there and find some farms where you can pick your
own and take advantage of any farmer's markets you can find.

The best thing about going out there was that she was so enthusiastic
about showing us her garden. It must be rare for anyone, let alone young
people, to care what she is doing in there. She was really happy to show
us everything. I'm sure most old folks are the same.
There must be hundreds of thousands of old gardeners that would
love for a young person to come over and be interested in what they are
growing. Look around your neighborhood and see if you can make a new
friend and learn allot about gardening (and life) in the meantime.