Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Friend Pat Can Feed the World

Ok, maybe not quite, but if you haven't followed the link over from my blog to her site, run into Pat on one of several lists she runs helps run, including "Healthy Cheap Cooking," the enormously popular "Edible Container Gardening" or the Riot For Austerity list, or bought seeds from her back when she ran a small seed company specializing in varieties for container gardening, you ought to meet Pat. Or maybe you have already - perhaps you've read what she wrote, or what I wrote about here now-famous "The Theory of Anyway." She's one wise woman.

Here's me riffing on what's so wonderful about it (Pat kindly allowed me to go on about her idea):

And here's Pat's own take:
(Again, you'll have to read the first article, since I can't link directly. But it is
Pat's list of reasons for buying local food so that's probably all to the good!)

Not only is Pat a friend of mine, but she's damned inspiring. We've never met in person, but we've been internet friends for years, and one of these days, I hope to meet her. She and her husband live in rural, appalachian PA, and they are both disabled, with a variety of serious medical conditions. They live on disability payments, on quite a low income. If anyone on earth has an excuse not to grow their own food or cook from scratch, it is Pat. Which is what makes her so remarkable. Besides mentoring container gardeners and cooks online, Pat grows an enormous amount of food in her gardens, almost all of it in containers, since she has trouble getting down to the ground.

Now it isn't quite true that the whole world can eat from Pat's garden, but I want you all to hear about what Pat did this year. She's kindly given me permission to include this
in my book, and I thought some of you might like a preview here (plus it allows me to make a blog post without actually writing anything, helpful during this end-of-book-push ;-)).

Pat's husband Brian made 22 Self-Watering Containers (hence referred to as SWCs). She did this after reading Edward Smith's book _Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers_. Her review of the book is here: (it is the second post down - for some reason blogger isn't allowing me to link directly into her post, but there's a great article on yogurt making at the top, so maybe that's no bad thing). Her review includes links to how to build your own SWCs cheaply. I have the book too, and it is indeed quite useful.

So this year, virtually all of Pat's garden was in 22 2' SWCs. That's 44 square feet of gardening space - not a lot. In the ground, that would be about the same size as a hammock would take up in your yard. As Pat points out, you probably couldn't quite get these yields in the ground, unless you were using superfertile, double dug soil - the container soil is much looser and the nutrients don't wash a way.

Here's what Pat reported this summer about what she grew in her SWCs:

In that 44 square feet, we have:
6 full-sized (indeterminate) tomatoes
2 early tomatoes (determinate - smaller plants)
16 Swiss chard plants6 peppers
4 eggplants
4 orach plants (an edible green, in the spinach/beet family)
3 (huge!) fluffy top Chinese cabbage plants
2 bush cucumbers
4 basil plants
1 tomatillo
18 bush bean plants
4 bush zucchini plants

Repeating for emphasis: all these plants are growing splendidly; some would probably win prizes for the 'largest whatever'. :) Some of thetomatoes are 8 feet tall now, by the way.

Think about this for a minute. That's *hundreds* of pounds of fresh produce. Pat doesn't keep records of her total yield, so we can only estimate, but she tells me yields were excellent, and as she said, a number of the plants could have won prizes. Pat and I both live in a part of the country where soil leaching is a problem - you put nutrients in, they wash away in the copious rain. Adding more organic matter helps a lot, but it is a process. SWCs keep the nutrients where the plants can get them.

Pat added to me in email that she wasn't really trying very hard to get the maximum yield out of her SWC's. She said,

And, you know, Sharon, I could have grown quite a bit more food than I didin the 22 SWCs. I didn't have an early spring garden (because the SWCshadn't been made yet), I didn't try to grow any salad greens because I joined a CSA last year and the CSA was keeping us supplied with all the salad greens we could possibly use. I didn't plant a fall/winter garden either.

Also I didn't interplant: I could have encircled a pepper plant withbeets, for instance. I didn't do any of that. I was really going for'easy' last year rather than 'high productivity' (because of the CSA).So all those things could have increased the amount of food I grew in the
22 SWCs.

Can you believe how lazy Pat is ;-)? I mean come on - she had 44 feet and all she produced was 2-300 (my own best guess of how much food you'd get from that many plants growing well) lbs of food. And she's pointing out that she could have increased that number substantially - my guess is that she might even have been able to double it.

The earthboxes will last a good long time, and could be made out of wood if you didn't want to use plastic bins - for people with more energy than Pat and her husband, making earthboxes out of renewables would probably be a good project. The soil does require a supply of micronutrients, fertilizers and composts - you might need 30 lbs
to do it for 5 years, plus compost. You could store that in one sealed 5 gallon bucket.

I do a fair bit of container gardening myself, depite having acres of land to play with, simply because of this - containers get warmer than my climate does. My summer nights are routinely in the 50s and often high 40s - we're at 1400 feet, not that high, but it makes a big difference. We do have hot periods, but they are the exception, not the rule. Last frost is in late May, and often things aren't really warm until mid-June. Also, heavy rains in the spring mean that soils aren't ready for planting early.

So containers allow me to get a head start, and also to produce heat-loving plants more easily than I can in the ground. My eggplants are routinely more productive in containers, as are peppers - the only way I can get really hot hot peppers or red ripe peppers reliably is in containers. I also have a sunporch, a glassed in area that grows wonderful cold climate vegetables all winter - all these are opportunities for me to use SWCs, and I plan to make some.
All of which is just a long way of saying that I think these containers have the potential to expand many of our gardens - they are wonderful for urban dwellers and the disabled who can't bend and stretch well, for the elderly and otherwise physically limited, but they also represent enormous possibilities for all of us. We can use them to grow crops we might not otherwise be able to grow because our home is too cool or too dry, they are moveable, so they can be brought undercover to extend our seasons, and they can help every one of us begin to think about feeding ourselves.

When we hear statistics like the one that Hong Kong provides half of its own produce and meats from within the city limits, it can seem impossible to imagine our own cities doing that - to imagine New York or Tucson, Paris or London doing the same. Here's the start of a vision.

If you want to learn more about edible container gardening, check out Pat's container gardening list - you can go to the list's homepage and subscribe here:

And if you want to learn how to cook all this bounty, check out Pat's cooking group. The homepage where you can join is here:

You can also find all of Pat's material here:



Rosa said...

Thank you for posting all these links, Sharon, and thank you to Pat for putting up the information in the first place.

My downfall with containers is water. I'm going to take a close look at the self-watering containers.

Anonymous said...

This is really inspiring and useful information. Thanks to you both.

Anonymous said...

I had borrowed the Ed smith book from the library this summer and did up a self-watering container of tomatoes as a gift to my parents. They loved it. Didn't get round to any SWCs myself -- the soil seemed a lot on the soggy side and I didn't want to take the time to delve into that. Maybe next spring....

Susan in Ontario

Rio said...

My friend's mother came to New York City from the Phillipines with nine young children, a fresh divorce and $20. She became an accountant and has lived the American dream, becoming very successful.

When she first started out though, as you can imagine it was extremely difficult. One of her survival strategies was keeping chickens in a closet of their rented apartment.

Her daughter was embarassed; I found it brilliantly resourceful. Even heroic.

Wuttisak said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Orchid Care







Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社,

徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 離婚, 外遇,離婚,

徵信, 外遇, 離婚, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社,

Anonymous said...


as said...

Some new style Puma Speed is in fashion this year. chaussure puma is Puma Shoes in french. Many france like seach “chaussure sport” by the internet when they need buy the Puma shoes or buy the nike max shoes.The information age is really convenient. By the way ,the puma CAT is really good chaussures puma ,don’t forget buy the puma mens shoes and nike air max ltd by the internet when you need them . Do you know Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .

Spring is coming, and how to choose the polo shirts is the main concern of many people. ralph lauren polo shirts is a classic type and reliable. ed hardy clothing is more in line with the aesthetic ideas of young people, so many young people filled with a variety of ed hardy clothes in their wardrobes. New style ed hardy womens shirt match the new style ed hardy sunglasses , it is a good idea.
Do you think this season is not for ugg boots ? maybe yes .but this season is best time that can buy the cheap ugg boots. Many sellers are selling discounted. Do not miss . Please view my blog and fc2 blog .thank you .

Anonymous said...

禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,酒店打工, 酒店上班,酒店經紀PRETTY GIRL 台北酒店經紀人 ,酒店經紀 酒店兼差PRETTY GIRL酒店公關 酒店小姐 彩色爆米花酒店兼職,酒店工作 彩色爆米花禮服店, 酒店上班,酒店工作 PRETTY GIRL酒店喝酒酒店上班 彩色爆米花台北酒店酒店小姐 PRETTY GIRL酒店上班酒店打工PRETTY GIRL酒店打工酒店經紀 彩色爆米花酒店兼差,酒店,酒店經紀,酒店經紀,經紀公司,經紀公司,經紀公司,經紀公司,經紀公司,經紀公司,童裝批發,童裝GAP

酒店上班請找艾葳 said...

艾葳酒店經紀公司提供專業的酒店經紀, 酒店上班小姐,八大行業,酒店兼職,傳播妹,或者想要打工兼差打工,兼差,八大行業,酒店兼職,想去酒店上班, 日式酒店,制服酒店,ktv酒店,禮服店,整天穿得水水漂漂的,還是想去制服店日領上班小姐,水水們如果想要擁有打工工作、晚上兼差工作兼差打工假日兼職兼職工作酒店兼差兼差打工兼差日領工作晚上兼差工作酒店工作酒店上班酒店打工兼職兼差兼差工作酒店上班等,想了解酒店相關工作特種行業內容,想兼職工作日領假日兼職兼差打工、或晚班兼職想擁有鋼琴酒吧又有保障的工作嗎???又可以現領請找專業又有保障的艾葳酒店經紀公司!

一般的酒店經紀只會在水水們第一次上班和領薪水時出現而已,對水水們的上班安全一點保障都沒有!艾葳酒店經紀公司的水水們上班時全程媽咪作陪,不需擔心!只提供最優質的酒店上班,酒店上班,酒店打工環境、上班條件給水水們。心動嗎!? 趕快來填寫你的酒店上班履歷表

等相關服務 幫您快速的實現您的夢想~!!

LAN said...

puma mens shoes
puma shoes
puma speed
nike shoes
nike air
nike air shoes
nike air max 90
nike air max 95
nike air max tn
nike air rift
nike shox r4
nike air max 360
nike shox nz
puma cat
air max trainers
mens nike air max
sports shoes
nike air rifts
nike air rift trainer
nike air
nike shoes air max
nike shoes shox
air shoes
Lucyliu IS Lucyliu
nike shoe cart
puma future
cheap puma
nike rift
jeans shop
diesel jeans
levis jeans
nike rift shoes
cheap nike air rifts
bape shoes

Anonymous said...

酒店打工 酒店兼職
台北酒店 打工兼差 酒店工作 禮服酒店
酒店兼差 酒店上班 酒店應徵 酒店 酒店經紀

2012天氣晴朗 said...


Nike shox shoes said...

If you have an expirience with making graphic to web on-line shop please let me know.

Nike shox shoes can surely not let you down,romance yourself with nike shox

dfadf said...

Y te vi bailar bajo la lluvia
y saltar sobre un charco de estrellas
Obama Is Lying<1>
When was the last time the MSM took a Republican's side in a fight over credibility with a Democratic opponent?Microsoft OfficeOffice 2010Well, it has been a while.Microsoft Office 2010However, conservatives have little to grumble about in the recent Office 2007face-off between Barack Obama and John McCain over McCain's statement thatte vi bailar bajo la lluvia
esperando la luna llena
Volverás a reírte de veras
Microsoft Office 2007troops might have to remain for "100 years" in Iraq "as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed" afterOffice 2010 keyfighting had concluded, Office 2010 downloadMost recently, ABC's Jake Tapper noted that at least on three occasions Obama had personally said that McCain favored cuando creas que estaba perdidovolverás a reírte de veras
continued fighting in Office 2010 ProfessionalIraq for 100 years. Tapper concluded that "Obama has in the past distorted McCain's comments" and "that he is violating his own stated si te quedas conmigoTe vi bailar bajo la lluviaesperando la luna llente vi llorar bajo la lunMicrosoft outlookaspirations...[b]ecause not only has he distorted what McCain said, he is not being honest about having made those distortions."Outlook 2010Tapper is not the only MSM reporter to point this out, Windows 7of course. It is not every day that the RNC sends around e-mail blasts quoting Frank Microsoft outlook 2010Rich ("Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton should be ashamed of themselves for libeling John McCain") and reports from the Chicago Tribune,