I am inordinately proud of my Blue Solaize leeks. I grew them from seed early last spring, and dutifully transplanted them into the lowest part of a trench along the side of my garden in early summer. As they grew taller I "blanched" them by filling the trench and then mounding dirt around them as they continued to grow. As a result I have leeks with white parts as much as good twelve inches long. A few of them still stand out in my garden even now. Because so much of their root is buried in the earth, they easily withstand the freezing temperatures we've been having.
I was amazed at the difference when we shopped for ingredients while visiting family for Thanksgiving. Even though I was able to buy organic leeks, the white parts were a measly five inches long, at most. It really struck me then, how well we eat. One of my leeks is the equivalent of two and a half to three store bought leeks. And it doesn't get any fresher than vegetables pulled from the ground or plucked from the vine in our own backyard. Including homegrown vegetables as integral parts of our Christmas feast was a huge thrill for me.
I am reminded more and more frequently of the personal recollections of those who lived through the Great Depression. Many, if not most, of those who lived in rural agricultural communities declared, "We were poor, but we never knew it." Or, "we didn't have any cash, but we always ate well." Since expanding our garden and adhering to my self-imposed $50 monthly grocery challenge over the summer months, we have eaten better than ever. I look at my homegrown leeks and I realize that I would be hard pressed to buy such quality at any price. We eat the highest quality food for the lowest possible price. And I'm consistently astounded at the aesthetic beauty of these leeks, once all the dirt is cleaned off.
All these things make it very easy to find the motivation to plan another garden for next year. Like every gardener, I harbor the conviction that next year's garden will be even better than this year's.
I live on a 2/3 acre homestead in a residential neighborhood. A major goal is to demonstrate how much food a non-expert can produce in my particular climate and hardiness zone, with the soils native to my immediate area. We have gardens of annual and perennial plants, keep laying hens and honey bees, and regularly bite off more than we can chew. Another major goal is to pay off our mortgage as fast as possible. Here I blog about frugality, self-reliance, gardening, cooking and baking, food preservation, practical skills, half-baked experiments, and preparing to thrive in a lower-energy future.