Sunday, February 21, 2016

Shemita Pototoes!

These are just a few of the potatoes that came up voluntarily.
     Last year was a great year weather-wise in our area.  The garden did quite well even without the attention it needed.  Our family had lots of red potatoes that came up voluntary from the year before.  They produced bushels of potatoes.  Dad called them Shemita Potatoes.  The name does not completely fit because the ground was plowed, but was a fun reminder of a Jewish practice that was popularized last year.  The Shemita is an agricultural practice to let the land rest for a year in a cycle of seven years. The Shemita would be the seventh of the seven years.  By letting the land go fallow for a year it was a reminder of needed rest, and it benefited the land.  It is the opposite concept of a lot of modern farming where there seems to be little rest for the land.  Minerals are taken out of the soil and not returned.  What is added back is often just three necessary nutrients, but trace minerals are left out.  The plants we eat can only provide the nutrition that they find, and if it is not available, people suffer a deficiency of important nutrients.

A number of these pole beans came up from last year.
      Potatoes were not the only things our family was able to enjoy that came up voluntarily last year.  I had some pole beans that planted themselves and came up in the spring.  This is the first time that this happened for me.  I sheltered them from frost and they did very well.  Not much more was done with them as I found myself busy with farmers markets and other work throughout the growing season.  For weeks on end, despite much neglect, I was able to eat these beans.  Often, after coming back home from farmers markets, I would take a walk up to the fence and just snack on the voluntary beans.

This wild apple tree was so full of apples that it pruned itself.
     Another free food for us was some wild apple trees on our property.  We have a number of cultivated apple trees that did not do much of anything last year, but the wild trees did great with little pest trouble.  We made lots of cider with the wild apples.  My sisters made apple sauce and dried apples for snacking.  One wild tree was so full of apples that it had a large branch break off causing the tree to essentially prune itself.

     These free foods are a small reminder to me of God's grace that comes without merit.  There are so many object lessons found in nature if we take the time to look.

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