I finally got to spend some quality time out in my garden today, preparing space for spring planting. Our efforts have grown and shrank in recent years from growing enough to keep a weekly stall at the Saturday farmers market to just having a large household garden with the occasional Athens Locally Grown sales. The last several years in particular have been pretty scaled back, but I did manage to put in twenty-six permanent raised beds in the “square foot gardening” style. (You can see some photos here.) An amazing amount of food can be grown in just one of those four foot by four foot boxes, and having as many as I do seems like a luxury. My wife and I are still figuring out how much more to grow this year, but it’s probably about time we get back to growing in quantity again.
I never did put the garden properly to bed in the Fall, so today I was pulling out old vegetation, the trellises for last summer’s beans and tomatoes, and generally making them ready for new seeds. In the process, I found about ten pounds of carrots I never got around to harvesting. I knew there was some in there, but it was a pleasant surprise to find so many! I improvised a side dish for dinner with some of them, and when flipping through my cookbooks looking for a recipe to share with you tonight, I found the one you see over to the left. It’s almost exactly what I made, and it was very good.
Now that the ground has dried out a bit, I’ve called in a dump truck of gravel for the back area of Ben’s Bikes. That should help a lot when it rains, and with the time change coming up, the extra sunlight will make Thursday pickups even nicer. I’ll be spending time this week with the owners there drawing up concrete plans for an awning and other outdoor improvements to really make it a pleasant experience for all of us, and give us some usable all-weather outdoor space. We’ll certainly need that as we grow into the summer harvest. As with everything we do, we’ll be on a shoestring budget, and we’re planning on having at least one volunteer workday. I’ll keep you informed there.
Ben’s Bikes is a central location, and the people there are firmly behind what we’re doing. THey’re hosting the second meeting of Athens’ new permaculture group tomorrow night at 6pm, which will include a viewing of Bill Mollison’s film “The Global Gardener”. The group is still getting organized, and if you’re interested in permanently sustainable gardening, whether just for your home landscaping or an a farm scale, this is a group for you.
That about covers it for this week. There are a lot of great new products listed on the website this week, and a good deal more returning from last spring. Have at it!
Thanks so much for your support of Athens Locally Grown, all of our growers, local food, and our rights to eat it. You all are part of what makes Athens such a great area in which to live. We’ll see you on Thursday at Ben’s Bikes at the corner of Pope and Broad Streets from 4:30 to 8pm!
The Athens Farmers Market has closed for the winter. You can watch for news during the offseason on their website. The other area markets are also all closed for the season too. All but Athens Locally Grown, that is.
Please support your local farmers and food producers, where ever you’re able to do so!