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Monday, March 18, 2013

Need for Food Aid Rises

Usually, I post a recipe on Monday. Today, I wanted to briefly discuss an example of why food independence, sustainability, and self-sufficiency are so important. In our continuing-to-falter economy, more people in the U.S. and around the world are going hungry. Why? Because they can't afford the over-priced, nutrient-deficient, mass-produced food available in most supermarkets. Yesterday, I read this article about my small town (Clyde, Ohio) in the Weekly Trader:


The conclusion I came to is that despite claims of the economy improving, more people are continuing to go hungry, and the food pantries can't keep up. Clyde has a population of approximately 6,300 people and aided 929 adults and 660 children in 2012. Were those aided all from Clyde? The article doesn't specify, but if they were, this would mean about 24% of the town's population received food aid in 2012.

What is the solution? I'm sure there are many, but one solution in particular would go a long way towards making food affordable: help people learn to grow their own! It's not exactly free, but it's much more affordable than grocery store prices, and it's certainly more fresh and more nutrient-dense. Also, the food is tax-free, meaning you don't have to increase your income and subject yourself to a higher tax rate while providing more food for your family. We've lost a lot of the knowledge for self-sufficiency passed down from our grandparents, great grandparents, and so forth. We need to get it back and help each other thrive, not just get by, while we teach our children to do the same.

I hope the projects on this page will actually help people in a concrete way, and next year, I hope the amount of food aid needed in my town and around the world will decrease instead of continue to increase. There is much to be done, but we can turn things around. Real change takes real work.

Have you noticed an increased need for food aid in your town/city? What are your thoughts on how we can improve self-sufficiency? Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time to Buy Organic Fertilizer

Hey, all! Do you have your seeds yet? I'm still waiting on some to arrive in the mail. While I do, I'm planning the amount of nutrients I'll need to buy from my local gardening supplier. 

Sea Minerals from SeaAgri, Inc.


The macro nutrients you'll need to add to your soil are listed below. I have put a * next to my choice of each macro nutrient.


Nitrogen

Good sources of organic Nitrogen include:

Alfalfa Meal
You'll need 184 ounces per 100 square feet of leaf vegetables or 120 ounces per 100 square feet of root vegetables (root veggies do not like to be inundated with nitrogen).


Soybean Meal
76 ounces per 100 square feet of leaf vegetables or 50 ounces per 100 square feet of root vegetables.

Blood Meal*
38 ounces per 100 square feet of leaf vegetables or 25 ounces per 100 square feet of root vegetables.
I choose blood meal as my source of nitrogen, because it takes a smaller amount of fertilizer compared to alfalfa meal or soybean meal to supply the soil with nitrogen, and it is more readily available from my local garden supplier.

Phosphorus


Good sources of organic Phosphorus include:

Rock Phosphate
You'll need 13 ounces per 100 square feet.

Bone Meal*
23 ounces per 100 square feet.
This is my go-to source for phosphorus, because rock phosphate is radioactive. Therefore, I do not recommend supplementing with rock phosphate. This is one of the biggest reasons why tobacco products are poisonous - tobacco plants are extremely efficient at soaking up the radioactive material in rock phosphate, which is how most commercial tobacco growers choose to supply their tobacco plants with phosphorus. Solution: grow and cure your own for a safer smoke.

Potassium

Good sources of organic Potassium include:


Wood Ashes
You'll need 77 ounces per 100 square feet.

Greensand*
108 ounces per 100 square feet. This is the most readily-available source of potassium in my area. It's pretty, too! Just like the name, it is sand that is green. Note to self: cool crafting/decorating idea.

Seaweed
108 ounces per 100 square feet.


Wild animals love to tear into the soft, plastic bags to get to these nutrients. Be sure to store them in plastic buckets with lids or other sealed containers. I had raccoons tear into my bone meal and destroy the whole bag last year! 

Micronutrients

In addition to the macro nutrients mentioned above, you'll need to make sure you're supplying your plants with micro nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, etc. To accomplish this, I use SeaAgri's Sea-90 Natural Water Soluble Plant Fertilizer. (No, I'm not being compensated in any way for mentioning this product.) One 10-pound bag will last you many years, but you can buy the sea minerals in larger quantities if you so desire. SeaAgri gives helpful instructions on the bag that will help you figure out how much you need to apply to your soil.

In later posts, I will talk about doing soil testing to determine the condition of your soil and how to raise/lower the pH as needed. Thanks for dropping by!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Family Illness and Idle Tools

Our tools sit idle this week :(
My apologies! We've been unable to work on anything mini farm-related, as we've been dealing with a family illness this week. Thank you for your patience as we get better! Everyone is starting to improve already, and next week will be better, for sure. Thanks for dropping by!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sausage-Smothered Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a simple, delicious way to eat breakfast, and it creates interest even in picky eaters!



Are you unsure of how to hard boil an egg? The following method works well for me: 


1. Place 6 eggs in a pot and cover with water. 

2. Bring the water to a rolling boil.

3. Turn off the burner, cover, and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10 minutes.

4. Rinse in cold water or let sit in ice water to stop the eggs from cooking any further.

5. Peel and enjoy your pefectly-cooked eggs!



To smother the hard boiled eggs in sausage, here are the needed ingredients:


6 hard-boiled eggs
1 pound ground sausage (I add a bit of salt and pepper to mine)
Butter to coat the frying pan

That's it!


Directions:


1. Heat the pan. Just before ready to cook, coat in butter. 

2. Separate the ground sausage into 6 round balls.

3. Flatten the balls and wrap each hard-boiled egg until completely covered in sausage as pictured.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. The sausages will finish cooking after you brown them on the pan.

5. Place the sausage-covered eggs in the pan and roll them around, making sure all sides are slightly browned.

6. After cooking about 10 minutes, transfer to a glass baking dish and finish by baking in the oven for another 10 minutes. 

7. Let cool 5 minutes and enjoy your awesome eggs! I really enjoyed having a pickle with mine. You can also eat them with a dipping sauce such as mayonnaise.