43) Sustainability Sundays: the ‘Harvest Something’ edition

Wow!  Back to Sunday again already.  Dammit, I'm so not ready for another week of work; weekends are way more fun.

anyway, I thought I might beef up the Sustainability Sunday posts by adding in a few ramblings about the things I find difficult, or fun, or particularly important, or just interesting about each point, in turn.  This week, it's been all about 'harvest something'.

I haven't harvested much this week.  I could have harvested salad greens, but, in all honesty, I had some left over from the organic veg. box the week before, and I didn't want to harvest stuff that would just 'go off'.  The result?

DSC04792

My rocket, and some of the other greens, have bolted (aka flowered, or gone to seed).  This is partly due to the hot spells we've been having, but cutting it back would have helped enormously.  It's still mostly edible, but tougher, more bitter, (less fun!) than it would have been – and the odds are that even if I cut it back, the plants will now die back, instead of remaining as wonderful little cut-and-come-again larders just waiting to be used.

The point is that if I'd harvested, I would have gotten more, even if this lot went off in the fridge, than if I didn't harvest.

Peas (including my mange tout) are the same.  If a pea plant feels it has successfully made seed (i.e. peas!) to ensure the success of the next generation, it will stop working so hard.  That's why (flowering) sweet pea plants work best if you keep picking the flowers.  So this year, I'm picking off the mange tout when they are the Right Size, even if there isn't enough for a meal yet.  There will be more along soon enough, and they keep for a few days in the fridge.  Even if there weren't any more right now, I could use the picked ones as part of a mixed veg side dish, or in a stir fry.

My other weakness with harvesting is greed.  I tend to leave everything on the plant just a little too long, so it will get bigger.  What really happens is that mange tout get stringy, squash get tough, tomatoes drop, and soft fruit gets eaten by birds.  The moral of the story?  Pick it when it's ready, even if you don't want to use it yet.

1. Plant Something –
Loads this week! 

  • dwarf peas, soy beans, bush beans (all late, but hoping to extend the cropping season)
  • broccoli, kohl rabi, beetroot, rapa senza testa (successional stuff)
  • komatsuna (Japanese kale – a new variety for me!)
  • carrots (late again – somethign got the first batch)
  • various herbs

2. Harvest something –

  • Mange tout

3.
Preserve something

     Nothing this week!

4.
Waste Not
(reducing wastage in all areas)

  • Used Pampas grass flower stalks and actimel pots(!) to build a frame for the blueberry bush net
  • Re-using 'grey' water from the kitchen
  • Composting vegetable peelings
  • Straw-mulch the strawberries (cos feeding strawberries to slugs is
    wasteful)
  • Net the blueberries (cos feeding blueberries to birds is
    wasteful)
DSC04794

5. Want Not (preparing for shortage situations)

  • Bought and froze marked-down meat at the co-op
  • Bottled and re-started kombucha system

6.
Build/support Community Food Systems

  • Blogging about it
  • Buying from the local butcher – with an awesome discussion/rant on animal welfare, buying local, and assorted other topics.

7. Eat the Food

  • Yoghurt on my breakfasts
  • Mange tout

1 thought on “43) Sustainability Sundays: the ‘Harvest Something’ edition”

  1. The weeks are just too short! Too much to do, too much to do. I really should get some of that netting. I have several things it could help.
    Good advice about keeping things well picked. I tend to only want to pick either right before we eat or if there’s enough to preserve. But you’re right about things keeping, and even that is better than what we could get at the market.

    Like

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