For centuries women have been the backbone of food production.According to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, women were, likely, our first cultivators. In the nomadic hunter-gatherer times, women would gather plants for food and leave the scraps and seeds, only to find the plant growing when they returned. This, in all probability, led to them purposely scattering the seeds, and so we took our first steps towards cultivated food production. In later years, after cultivation was a widespread practice, it was the men who labored in the fields for cash crops like tobacco, cotton, wheat, and corn, or in their professions. At the same time, women had the task of running the family farm, growing the vegetables and fruit to be used by the household, as well as feeding and caring for livestock.
We all know that over the winter months, our eating habits leave much to be desired. For many of us, winter meals are lacking fresh veggies. It's meal after meal of meat and bread, cakes and pies, but very few fresh fruits and vegetables. We are longing for that salad, but we don't have too. There are so many veggies that grow well into the winter months or can be stored to last for those drab winter months.
As the year is winding down, heading towards a new decade, we are tasked with the responsibility of the future. And, like everything in life, the past has a way of catching up with us, for good or bad. Ours is undoubtedly catching up to us. With storms and droughts, earthquakes, hurricanes, typhoons, fires, and tsunamis, the weather is screaming at us. The sea is rising, the temperatures are rising. The seasons are changing. This is due to the choices we have made for centuries, and these choices are affecting the future health and life of the planet we all call home.
There are many different farming techniques and technologies out there these days, and almost all of them depend on soil. With the ever-declining fertility of lands on a global scale, now is the time we should think about the techniques to rebuild it or learn to grow without it. Like, Hydroponics. Even we, Sprouting Farms, have a hydroponic greenhouse.
So what is hydroponics?
Well, basically, it is soil-less growing. It is fast becoming one of the most trendy ways to garden indoors. From Pinterest with mason jar gardening to full-on production and urban micro-greens farmers. Just about all of us have grown something in a hydroponic greenhouse. Do you remember that time in elementary school when you used that ziplock bag and a damp paper towel to grow bean sprouts? Yes. That was a simple version of hydroponics!
Hydroponic plants are grown with a mineral and nutrient-enriched water solution, rather than in the ground or container with soil. The roots grow directly into the water solution, or they grow with a medium like perlite, vermiculite, or even gravel. The way the plants grow will depend on the type of hydroponic system.
Loads of Love for Winter Greens!
Here in Appalachia, seasonal eating means having loads of greens throughout the year. A variety of greens, including kale, chard, and spinach can be grown well in our region. And, thanks to their cold-weather hardiness and the use of high tunnels, greens are among the limited crops available in the peak of winter. In years past, winter greens were a staple food for many West Virginians, but sadly most people today don't know how to prepare and eat them.
We have taken a bit of a hiatus on all things blog related here at the farm. But, we are back and ready to let you all in on all of the amazing things we accomplished this summer, the projects we are working on now, and some fun new things we are bringing to the blog.