"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Only five vegetables...

I spent some time on Monday night thinking about your replies and about having to possibly get permission / a licence to grow vegetables for our personal use if our government follows the trend in the US and NZ.  Then I got sneaky and thought - hmm, perhaps I might have to "hide" my vegetables amongst normal plantings - more like a forest garden, so to speak.  And, if it came to that, what would I grow?

My choice is: (and I have linked the source where I have quoted from each web page)

Potatoes - for their staple food value, carbohydrates and versatility

But, then there is another question when it comes to potatoes.  Would you grow normal or sweet potatoes?

Normal potatoes - for chips (fries), baked, roasted, mashed, new baby ones (smothered in cholesterol reducing butter and chopped parsley) or for adding to soups?  You can even make a face mask out of potatoes - simply mix finely grated potato with honey and apply it to the face :)  This poultice will also relieve the pain of a burn.
Potato plant in flower
Normal potatoes contain enough Vitamin C to keep scurvy at bay.  The consumption of potatoes will reduce inflammation.  The juice of the potato is a good treatment for burns, bruises, sprains, skin problems, ulcers, the effects of narcotics, cancer of the prostate and uterus and the formation of cysts and tumours.  Bear in mind though, green potatoes are poisonous and so are the leaves of the potato.

Or would I plant sweet potatoes - especially the orange one?
Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are very rich in beta carotene, which is a major anti-oxidant - apart from Vitamin C and B-complex, iron and phosphorus which are also present in potatoes - sweet potatoes are excellent immunity boosters.  

Hmmm, I reckon I would have to go for normal potatoes, because of their many uses.

Beans - for their food value, carbohydrate and taste.  And for their nitrogen fixing properties :)

Runner beans...
...which contain Vitamin K which makes them very good for maintaining the health of bones.  They also help prevent the formation of cholesterol and are excellent for your cardiovascular health.  Green beans also reduce the incidence of migraines and help in the lowering of high blood pressure.
Purple runner beans
...or broad beans?

Broad beans are rich in L-dopa, an amino acid that is instrumental in the creation of dopamine, a substance that is critical for the pituitary gland's production of human growth hormone.  Broad beans are also rich in potassium, which can have beneficial effects on high blood pressure.  It is also the third most important mineral in our bodies.  And, like runner beans, they are important source of fiber...

Broad beans
Tomatoes - definitely for their versatility, acidity and colour
Home grown tomatoes
I actually list tomatoes as my absolute # 1 vegetable / fruit.  I couldn't contemplate preparing a meal without at least a single tomato on a daily basis.

Tomatoes have the highest concentration of lycopene - vital for it's anti-oxidant properties.
Solar dried tomatoes

To achieve this apparently all you need is 540ml of liquid tomato daily to keep these various cancers at bay.  Now - how hard can that be? Not for me :)

Raw in a salad or on it's own, dried, added to soups and stews, turned into a soup or sauce, stuffed and baked, finely chopped and added to a salsa.  There couldn't be life without tomatoes :)

And have you ever tried tomato consommé ?

Pick some nice ripe tomatoes and chop them roughly...
Lovely, ripe home-grown (while you still can LOL) tomatoes
 ...blitz with a stick blender...
Blend the tomatoes to mush
... strain the mixture through muslin for a couple of hours...
Suspend the filled muslin
bag from a tap,
or fridge shelf
 ... suspended from a fridge shelf.
Our bar fridge comes in
handy for this part...
Add freshly ground black pepper, salt and a tot (depending on the amount of consommé you make you can increase or decrease this amount LOL) of vodka to the golden liquid and garnish with a (floating) basil leaf and a drizzle of olive oil.  Serve well chilled.  (P.S.  Retain / freeze the leftover "mushed" tomato bits and add them to a sauce, vegetable soup or stew.)

Beetroot - for it's beneficial properties, it's leaves and it's fruit.
Beetroot - for it's leaves and fruit

Spinach leaves
It can be eaten simply boiled, roasted, pureed, blitzed into a soup, pickled or grated raw.

Their leaves can be added to salads or cooked like spinach.

And, finally, I would grow carrots - for their beta carotene, versatility and all round deliciousness.
Orange, yellow and white carrots
Grated raw and added to a salad, peeled, boiled and rolled in melted butter and honey, roasted or blitzed into a soup with a grating of fresh ginger and some orange juice.  Simple and tasty.

Carrots are  brilliant anti-oxidants, and their Vitamin A content may prevent or delay the onset of cataracts in vulnerable people.  Eating carrots can diminish cholesterol and help prevent arteriosclerosis.  They also alleviate skin dryness, and are beneficial in treating skin problems such as sunburn. Finally, carrots can rid the body of intestinal worms.

All of the five vegetables / fruits I have chosen can be eaten in a salad or cooked.  Summer and winter meals :)  It surely can't get better than that?

And, I was left with this thought - why do I currently grow other vegetables?  Is it because I believe I'm entitled to a greater variety?  Is it because it is the fashion?  Is it in order to rotate my crops?  Actually, co-incidentally, the 5 items above all belong to the 4 different crop rotation sections... :)

So, after deciding what I would grow, I have a question - if you could grow only 5 different plants for food, what would they be?  Naturally, what you tend to serve for dinner would probably dictate your selection.  But, what if you could only purchase / exchange / save 5 different types of seeds for your vegetable gardens?


Sue said...

That's easy for me---potatoes/tomatoes/carrots/onions/green beans.
We love them and grow oodles of them now. You can make so many meals out of just those 5.

tami said...

Just read your post from Monday, Dani. Scary stuff that. I really don't see how it would be enforceable though. It's a basic right to be able to provide for yourself.

Now having a permit to sell to others, that I can see. Govt wants the revenues from the permits and they can make quite a bit of money from slapping "fines" collected in the name of protecting "the people". Sigh.

My 5 would be summer and winter squashes, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce and beans.

Dani said...

Tami - I HOPE it's not enforceable! And, yes, any other way of collecting revenue must be the motivation. I think I'm beginning to understand why so many people are living off the dole in the UK!

Dani said...

Sue - This is going to be an interesting exercise :)

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Dont get yourself to upset over this. I have read the US act, and no where in there is it stated it could or would be enforced in peoples back yard gardens. I think that misinformation on the internet spreads fear, since very few people will actually read what is stated in the purposed law. Since I do not know what is purposed in your country, call whatever government official would be in charge and request the long version of the bill. You might be surprised what it says.

Dani said...

Jane - As I said at the start of this posting "if it came to that"... :) This posting was just a bit of fun - to see what are the most important / popular vegetables, and why.

So far, tomatoes are the most popular (including me).

Mr. H. said...

I have thought of this many times before and my must have vegetables would be potatoes, carrots, beets, kale, and tomatoes...if you asked for six I would have added fava beans to the list. Squash would also be an excellent addition but as it can be such a hit and miss crop for us I did not include it.

tffnguy said...

I'd have to go with Sue's list, but it would be regular potatoes since I can't stand sweet ones. (Don't like beets either so those are out) I'd also have to find some hidden place off my land to grow jalapenos to be used for bacon wrapped with cream cheese stuffed jalapenos, ground up and mixed with diced tomatoes to make a Rotel type sauce, pizza topping and a few more. They also have more vitamin C than citrus fruit. Of course I'm also fond of squash, cucumbers and a few others so its good there is a bunch of vacant land around me. If I were ever asked about all the stuff growing around, but outside my property I'd deny planting them and blame it on the birds. ;)

Dani said...

Mr H - If there were 6 I would've added spinach (kale like? - we don't have kale here) :)

Dani said...

David - Hmm, I also favour normal potatoes. Jalapeno's are good - but squash and cucumbers are a high water crop - unless you can tap into a hidden underground well, you might have a problem with that one :)

Birds - that's clever :)

Mrs. Mac said...

This is my list: tomatoes, potatoes (red/golden), kale, carrots, cabbage. We usually stick to what we like to eat when planting the garden. Good food for thought :)

1st Man said...

That story is very wild. I think if it ever came to that, we'd vote for tomatoes (maybe some cherry tomatoes to be clandestine, ha), spinach, beans, potatoes and a squash. Does garlic count? What about herbs? We could hide those around too, ha.

Dani said...

I've never been successful growing cabbage. But it is also a summer and winter recipe veggie - nice one :)

Dani said...

I, also, briefly mourned garlic- but then reckoned that it grows a wild variety too, so I stopped panicking LOL