One of the favorite things I have seen in the past week or so was a short video made by Willie Nelson and his sons in which they introduced a song called “Turn Off the News and Build a Garden.” That is sound advice, which I actually took to heart about 40 years ago.
For those who don’t have much experience with gardening, I thought I could do a short series describing the simplest way to start a garden. The first step, obviously, is to get access to a sunny, hopefully, unpolluted patch of ground. Assuming this is possible for you, I have some very simple suggestions for you to do right now. The first is to purchase the book by John Jeavons called “How to Grow More Vegetables.” This book describes in detail the best way to grow any vegetable and is the only gardening book or information you will ever need. It shows how to prepare the soil, make compost, plant seeds, transplant, water and anything else you need to do to be a successful gardener. It is literally the only book I have ever followed in my 40-plus years of vegetable gardening.
The next thing to do right now is to buy the best quality digging fork, rake and trowel you can afford. These are the basic tools you will need. You’ll have to check around to see who is open now, and quality is everything in garden tools. The usual tools at your local big-box store will often leave you frustrated and angry. One source for good gardening tools is the gardentoolcompany.com; look for the garden digging fork. It’s expensive but will likely last a lifetime. The rake is simply called “the garden rake,” and the trowel is the half-round transplanting trowel.
These three tools will get us started, and, along with the Jeavons book, will set the stage for a successful garden season. Let’s all turn off the news and start planting our spring gardens.
Now that you know how to create your own sourdough starter, it’s time to make your first loaf of bread. Make sure your starter has been “fed” consistently for at least a few days beforehand. You will also need some sort of baking vessel, such as a combo cooker or a Dutch oven; a large bowl; bench knife or dough scraper; and a razor for scoring. Once you are ready to begin, make a rough bake plan, either written down or just in your head.
From the beginning of Dr. Cowan's Garden four years ago, we wanted to establish close relationships with organic and Biodynamic farms. Additionally, we have had a vision of sustainable farming that could be realized only by thinking “local” and “small.”
To that end, as we shared in March, we helped Redrange Farm in Pennsylvania achieve Demeter certification.