Friday, March 27, 2015

All That Food !

One of the blog followers commented about the weekly homestead food diary. I couldn't be eating ALL that stuff each week, right? Well first off, nothing harvested yet here on the farm comes in large quantities. No bushel basketfuls. Often it's just a little of this and that, enough to make a couple meals with. And rather than having to preserve the stuff, I'll only harvest as I need it, like the greens and taro. They hold in the garden for a while until I need them for a meal. For example, this week I harvested 6 oranges from my tree. I ate 3 fresh then juiced the others. I froze the juice for later. I traded a few eggs for 6 bananas, whereupon I ate one each morning with breakfast. I harvested enough chard to use with two meals. Picked fresh kale I wanted for a salad. The one jicama got added to 2 dinners consisting of salad. The shell beans were enough for two lunches. I picked herbs as I needed them.

Some of my excess harvest goes into storage for future meals. Some is frozen, some dried. I don't bother to can. I simply haven't had a need to do that since I try to stagger my plantings. Another portion of my excess is used for trading. That's one of the ways I acquire food stuffs that I don't produce myself. If I happen to have a decent amount of something, perhaps I'll sell it at the farmers market then use the money to buy more seeds. And usually some is given away to friends, seniors, and the needy. Absolutely nothing, nothing gets thrown away. If it isn't destined for human consumption, then it goes to feed my animals. Very little is leftover to go into compost.....just the trashy stuff. 

When I'm planting things, it usually is just a small section or a few plants. For example this week I planted four new banana trees. That's not a lot. If I can plant a few trees each month, then I'll gradually increase my harvests. One apple tree. 4 lilokoi plants. 4 Samoan coconuts (no guarantee that they will sprout.) 10 ittsy-bitty papaya seedlings. The new sweet potato beds totaled 100 square feet. That's not much. I try to plant about that much each week because my livestock eats them in addition to us. I'll sow seeds for a dozen bush beans, a dozen pea plants, a few radishes. Very small plantings. So you can see, it's little plantings each week rather than one giant planting once a year. On the mainland, growing seasons are limited, but here in Hawaii I can grow just about everything year around. 

One of my goals was to learn how to stagger plantings, thus have harvests coming in by dribs & drabs. That way I'm not forced to process excess into storage. Some crops do indeed come in just in a bunch, but generally I'm learning how to stagger everything. This hasn't been easy for me to do. For the longest time I seemed to have either too much or way too little. But I'm getting better...........or until some new pest or disease crops up and fouls me up. 

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