Here I would like to let people know exactly what the Eden-Project is; this is a project within the WF-C but without any form of 'official' status. It is a group of individuals within the WF-C (or outside if anyone wishes to join us) that grow their own fruit and veg in their garden or using an allotment or piece of land available. This could also be done under the guise of Guerrilla Growing using a piece of land neither rented nor owned, but which lies waste and is crying out to be used for something positive. Of course, this would have to be a piece of land where the mass of people cannot see it for what it is - we will not go into this here in detail.
Individuals in this project, at this time anyway, live far from each other, and thus have to work alone or with the family. At this time this is how it has to be, even if we would wish this were not so; it is hoped that those involved will try to get others in their area involved - there would be no need to mention this as something to do with Wodenism since it can also be out of the bounds of religion. I have already encouraged my neighbours both sides to grow food, and both have had allotments now. In fact, the lease on the allotments was due for renewal and in order to do so the local Community Association - which had lapsed - needed to be revived, so I volunteered as Chairman ("Chair" was the phrase the local council used but I don't go with that bull....) This means that I have some control over what is done and hopefully this (infiltration into The System) will pay dividends in the future.
What do I grow? I will list here the things that I grow and a short note on how they are doing this year, and have done in the past.
Potatoes - this is perhaps the easiest to grow and invariably has a fair crop, sometimes a very good crop. I have started to grow in containers this year as an experiment, and so far this seems to be a good move. The one thing with this approach is that you can leave them in the containers and they will store themselves. People say this is a good crop to plant because they break down the soil - in fact it is the gardener that breaks down the soil through 'earthing up'. They can be planted in 'channels' and then mounded over, or they can even be planted under a mulch of grass or hay and not even in the ground - they will grow. I have even had potatoes-peelings grow, and this is a point to remember since this is an cheap way around buying 'seed-potatoes'.
Tomatoes - Same family, and also quite easy to grow, though I have had tomato blight in my garden before and this can be a problem for many years. This year mine are early and fruited, with some beginning to ripen already (in a small poly-tunnel). What is interesting is that for the past two years I have had 'renegade' plants coming up, and when left they do better this way than those transplanted. These can be grown from the shop-tomatoes - just cut the tomatoes and put in compost in pots - they will grow. Again, a money-saving idea.
Lettuce - I always plant way too many of these, and this is done early; they all seem to come up at the same time and then start to bolt to seed. Another mistake I have made is to plant them too close together, hoping to get more into a small space. Did it this year and we have a lot of rain at the wrong time, so some of these rotted at the point where the stem meets the root. Like anything else they need space - this was something that I remember was said by the famous English Radical, William Cobbettt. Should have taken notice! Anyway, they can be cut and will come again very often - not always though.
Brassicas - These have always been rather a problem for me, especially cauliflower, but this year's crop of cabbage and broccoli seem to be doing well - so far. They need to be grown under nets to keep the Cabbage White Butterflies out. I use a mini poly-tunnel with a net over.
Onions - up to two years ago I have always had a brilliant crop of onions - white and red - but for the past two years this is not the case. This year I made the mistake of putting them close to broad beans which over-shadowed them and these and of little use now. I have a small bed with others, and have also grown some from seed - which I usually lift and store as 'sets' for next year. Saved the seeds last year but they did not come out.
Spring Onions - these always seem to take a great deal of time setting bulbs, so what I do now is to grow in clumps, then cutting the shoots as I need them. Like chives, they grow again and again this way. Much better way to do this.
Garlic - First time I've grown this and the shop-grown ones I have lifted some out of and they are small but seem alright. The rest have been left to grow longer; the supplier-bought ones are not ready as yet. These need planting in the autumn when it is cold, to overwinter in order to mature.
Carrots - had some in a raised container over the winter but this did not do well, so I lifted them and planted other stuff. Carrots have done well in the past years, and i just sow the seeds and let them grow, pulling the small ones to allow room as the others grow. Best grown in raised containers since carrot-fly can ravage a crop on the ground.
Turnips & Parsnips - these usually do well, with the turnips being the quickest to grow and mature.
Beetroot - this has always done well, and the leaves can be eaten too. Full of goodness as well. Cooking is a long process though.
Kale - This year this is doing fine.
Broad Beans - This years crop is far better than the last ones, and no blackfly, but I did cut the tips off to help. Don't forget though - Black Flies Matter!
Runner Beans - Doing very well this year.
Peas - Grown from dried peas from Turkey but the crop is the best that I have ever had and I have already had two dinners form these and saved four bags of peas in the freezer (as well as nipping off the pods and eating them every day). Left some to dry out for next year. Why pay around £3.00 per packet from a supplier?
Courgettes - Picked the first one today, although it is the size of a marrow - did not even notice it had matured. These usually do very well.
Winter Squash - The Butternut Squash taste great and have grown these for the past five years from seed from a supermarket squash, keeping the seeds each year to use again.
Spinach - Leaf Beet - Chard - the are easy to grow and good for salads or cooking. The Swiss Chard is tastier.
Celery - have grown this successfully once, but not so easy to grow for me.
Sweet-Corn - Grew this for the first time for year, and it was a great crop; left about half of it until it was a bit late, so I had to take the cobs off and scrape off and dry the seeds. These are growing well this year and I still have an excess of seeds - enough for Bill Gates to plant on his 60% of land bought up in the US!!! (no good though, they are not GM).
Peppers - Planted these as seeds for the first time last year but too late to do much; this year they are growing but slowly. We shall see.
Apples - the two apple trees I have at the bottom of the garden do well each year now - good crops.
Raspberry - have not really had great crops for years now, used to get better.
Strawberry - same with these, since I shifted to growing in a barrel - which has not worked I am afraid.
Redcurrants/Blackcurrants/gooseberries - these I shifted over to WW, but the birds usually feast on these before I can get them.
Herbs - Peppermint/Spearmint/Garden Mint - always does well.
Comfrey - does well in a container I use now, and make salves from t for various ailments.
Lemon Balm - malke teas from this, as with the peppermint.
Fennel - this has grown from last year and I use the seeds.
Also, out of the garden I have used nettles to make tea and dandelions to use in salads. I have a Rowan Tree and the berries can be used (cooked) as a sauce on some meats.
One of the on-going experiments I am doing is to use seeds from shop-bought vegetables since this is a way of saving buying. Of course, the seed-merchants will tell us this should not be done, since they would be out of business if everyone did so. This goes for potatoes too.
I start my seeds off in January-February indoors and transfer the seedlings to a mini-greenhouse at the front of the house. To avoid frost-damage I use home-made candles (*) which last around 12 hours. Even when forgetting to light the candles I have - so far - had no frost damage. (Note here - the mini-greenhouse has plastic and not glass, and I have double-glazed it for the winter with more sheets - this does seem to help.)
(*) These I put in glass containers but beware to keep the wick in the very centre since the glass can shatter when the flame gets near the sides.
Individualism is fine, but we need some form of co-operation if we are to weather the storms ahead. "Many had make light work" is a saying that comes to mind. We need to have some form of co-operation between us in these times if we are to be ready for when the SHTF! The strength of the wolf is the pack!