Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Plant Diversity: Guest Post by Rachel (aka Mrs. Survival Gardener)

     The other day, while taking the kids out on an errand, we passed a billboard that read something to the effect of “Can you name 10 vegetables in 2 minutes?  A little while later we came across another asking, “Can you name 20 fruits in 2 miles?”  My first thought was, Sure I can!  Why, what we’ve got growing in the yard right now could fill both lists…or almost anyway.  But then I thought I’d have a little fun.  Could the kids name the fruits and vegetables in the allotted time?  I asked and they gave it their best shot.  I’m really not surprised that they succeeded.  Actually, depending on which kids you query, they can even correctly identify the fruit and vegetable plants.  They may not know the latest Disney movie character, but they know sure do know their edibles.  And in my mind, that’s more important anyway.
      But this little pop quiz got me thinking.  Is it really even all that hard for people to name 10 different vegetables and 20 different fruits—I mean, for people not...as crazy and extreme as we are?  I know the point of these advertisements is to get people interested in different types of produce, but I can’t help thinking that it’s all one big sham.  David often reminds me of something we heard in the documentary Food Inc.:  We don’t really have choices when we shop at the supermarket—we have the illusion of choices.  How many types of apples do you see at the local grocery store?  Maybe a half dozen or so.  Now go Google “apple varieties.”  It’s ok, I’ll wait.  (Me whistling while I wait for you to look it up.  Me whistling a little more as you marvel at the lists, colors, descriptions of taste, growing conditions and habits.  Me, stuck here, whistling away because, clearly, you’ve been sucked into this beautiful world of apples, from which you won’t return until you’ve picked out a few saplings and had them shipped to your door). 
     And that’s just apples, friends!  How about the other 19 fruits you named in 2 miles?  There is such diversity out there!  I know you regular Florida Survival Gardening readers are more broad-minded than most, but still I think we’ve only really begun to scratch the surface when it comes to species diversity.  So, keep on experimenting.  Plant seeds!  Even Especially if your neighbor tells you the plant that emerges won’t be any good.  Seek out the unusual varieties!  Nothing is gained if we all sit back and continue growing the same varieties found in the grocery store.  And let’s keep on sharing what we’ve learned.  What different variety grows best where you live?  Maybe it will work for me too.  Yes, we’re survival gardening here, but let’s have a little fun with it.  It’s so exciting to see and taste the diversity in God’s creation.  It’s part of what makes life delightful.  And when we’re talking about preparing for TEOTWAWKI, I have this feeling we’re going to really enjoy the little things that make life a little more delicious. 


At May 28, 2013 at 6:21 AM , Blogger jean said...

I don't know what TEOTWAWKI is, but we (in general)certainly miss out on not growing food in our own back yards. Here, on our homestead, we plant just about every variety of anything available here. It keeps food and gardening interesting and wonderfully edible. With food knowledge, who cares about Disney characters : )

At May 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM , Blogger Gardens-In-The-Sand said...

While preparing for the end of the world and the Zombie apocalypse (brought to us by Monsanto) Lets also discuss those wonderful fruits and vegetables that adapt to our particular yard to the point of coming back every year without any effort from us...
As you say... the rest of the world is going to be disparaging of those Tennessee volunteers, but if we listened to the rest of the world, we wouldn't be survivalists, preparing for when SHTF... And praying that we're wrong...

Good subject...

At May 28, 2013 at 5:46 PM , Blogger Rachel said...

Jean--TEOTWAWKI is an acronym for The End Of The World As We Know It. Nuclear holocaust might be debatable, but life rarely goes as we plan. I read a post by an editor from a prepper site who described it, roughly, this way: He and his wife had prepared for TEOTWAWKI. Then, one day, they discovered their daughter had leukemia. They had to sell their farm and assets. But that's part of what they were for to begin with. Because they had things to sell and because of all the food they had canned and preserved, they didn't starve. They managed to get through their daughter's medical condition virtually unscathed. Now she's in remission and they are in the process of re-preparing for TEOTWAWKI.

At May 28, 2013 at 6:27 PM , Blogger David The Good said...

Yep. I'm always looking for stuff that grows itself. A lot of modern food plants have had that ability bred out of them. Somewhere between super-high production and totally wild and bitter... there is a balance. Many heirlooms have that.

At May 29, 2013 at 6:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The importance of getting our children outside and away from the television is immeasurable in my opinion. When you add the knowledge of edibles - BOOM! (Sorry, stole that from David.)

This blog is full of so much GREAT information that I find myself feeling like a kid because much of it is new to me. I read a post and immediately start Googling for more information. At least in your post - you give us time. :-)

Great blog, great post!

From the ever enlightened reader,



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