Sunday, May 5, 2013

Growing the basics

One of the old standards in the kitchen is a mirepoix (or włoszczyzna if you are in Poland); a mix of celery, carrot and onion that is the starting point for a variety of soups, stocks, and sauces.  I decided that this would be a good combination to plant in one of my hugelkultur beds, and the one below is off to a good start.

This bed is 3' x 8', and has carrots in the center, Egyptian 'walking' onions on the left, and little celeriacs that have yet to make it to 2" tall.  The proliferation of white flowers are chamomile, and in the back is a lone kohlrabi that needed a home.  There is also some salsify along the right of the mound, across from the onions, but they are not very big yet. 

This bed was planted in the middle of January, and the onions are going gangbusters, much better than their parent plants in another, non-hugel part of the garden.  This is proof for me that I want to move all of my Egyptian onions to hugel type beds.  The chamomile is also much happier than their scraggly cousins in other parts of the garden, and I have been able to cut and dry quite a bit from this flowering.

I chose celeriac over regular celery, as I think it is more versatile.  Not only can you use the stalks just like regular celery, but the big bulbous root can be harvested at the end of the season.  Or overwintered.  I had good luck overwintering some celeriac plants from last year in another part of the garden, where I am trying to see how far I can get treating it like a perennial. 

I have had mixed results planting carrots in the regular garden.  If they can find a fissure in this hard Georgia clay, they do OK, if not, then I end up with stunted little failures.  These seedlings on top of the hugel are off to a much better start than my previous carrot attempts.  It will be interesting to follow their progress through the season.

This is what food security looks like -- vegetables that can be harvested as needed, growing in beds where they can regenerate.  Also, selecting varieties that are not just simple annuals, but can continue to yield over the winter months and into the following year. 

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