What are you going to do with your bountiful harvest? Part of the age old tradition of gardening for “victory” or in today’s parlance, sustainability, is the passed on genetics and the knowledge of preservation and storage of foods and medicines. Thinking ahead and planning out your recipes may greatly increase the longevity and palatability of your harvest.
Why have staples such as potatoes and cabbage been so important for our survival, and how are they optimally grown and stored? What do you do with potatoes to store them for next year? And how can we spice up our staples to give us some amazing tasting probiotic foods? These will be some of the topics covered in our effort to inspire others with knowledge and tools to be their own keystone species. Like the beaver, we have the capacity to influence other species downstream. Local staple foods are part of decreasing our high country carbon footprint.
Gardening in the high altitude takes patience and determination as well as utilizing knowledge gained from others. Some of this knowledge is passed down in various cultures (human and microbial-pun intended). We will focus on two staple crops today that are useful as a nutritive and can be stored for winter consumption. What we at BPEEC are finding is that with the right vegetables a bountiful harvest can be obtained without pests or weather damage.
Whether the topic is local food and sustainable agriculture, ecological diversity and webs of life, green building methods, alternative energy sources, or water quality in the mountain watersheds, our goal is to inform and educate other busy bodies, shakers and movers, and people just genuinely interested in becoming better stewards of the land.
Here is a short introduction to the most local ecological niche that we know. The micro biome refers to the arrangement of microorganisms in the gut. The gastrointestinal system is an ecological niche and as scientists learn more about gut flora, the importance of proper floral balance becomes more and more apparent. Gut flora influences immune health, mental health, and certain fermented foods like sauerkraut, Kim chi, yogurt, koji rice, miso, and others are examples of altering staple foods via the introduction of other microbial species. For more information or for a hands-on fermented foods class, contact Beaver Ponds Environmental Education Center (BPEEC).
Spinach, cabbage, chard, kale, and Brussels sprouts are all staple foods in the Brassica family (Brassicaceae). Right now at 10,200 feet between the outdoor huglekulture and raised beds we are growing dragon carrots, Napoli f1 carrots, white satin carrots, Broccoli, garlic chives, Tyee f1 spinach, Bilko cabbage, potatoes, fennel, calendula, Waldstroms and Concept lettuce. Since potatoes are in the Nightshade family they produce pest deterrents and require little to no protection from the chipmunks. Along with the cold-hardiness, this makes for a great high altitude staple food. As well as being loaded with carbohydrates to fuel the brain and replenish glycogen in the liver, the potato is a plant with very high levels of the mineral potassium.
In the geothermal greenhouse we have Red Rubin Basil, Korean Licorice mint, Osaka Purple Chard, Collard greens, Arugula, Dino Kale, Fennel, Garlic Chives, Daikon radish, Cherry Radish, Tomatoes are not producing fruit yet, Summer Thyme, Tyee F1 spinach, Aloe, Banana, Lavender, Bilko F1 cabbage, Dill, Parsley, among other wonderful vegetables, many of which are being utilized for our 5 year anniversary Shindig meal on August 26th. Check in regularly to see what’s growin’ on at Beaver Ponds.
Eric Chatt N.D. (Site Manager)