Saturday, April 12, 2014
Waste not, want not
A few months ago, I purchased a bag of dove and quail feed for my pigeon and two doves. Inside the bag were some pea seeds, which were uneaten by any of the birds, and therefore fell onto the floor of the flight cage, where they remained until I cleaned it out. What a waste.
After being collected and mixed in with the chicken waste and a bunch of straw, I spread the mixture over one of our raised beds to sit and compost for a few months. I covered the bed with a black tarp, and in a few weeks when I removed it, lo and behold, the peas had sprouted. Not a waste at all.
At that point I decided I could use a good nitrogen fixer in the soil as well as a good cover crop, so the peas got to stay. They grew and eventually blossomed into gorgeous colors of all kinds -- white, pink, red and salmon. Definitely not a waste.
They formed pea pods, but the pod casings themselves were too tough for them to be eaten as snap peas. What a waste.
But instead I let them ripen and picked them with the goal of shelling them. Not a waste after all.
Tonight I had green peas with dinner, cooked lightly and covered in butter. Perfect. Now the peas are in my belly and the pods are back in the compost pile, where they will break down and become soil for new plants. No waste here. Once the peas are broken down by my digestive system, they'll end up being eliminated by my body and head through the septic tank out into the leach field to return to the earth that way, while the pods will stay stay topside and grow some new plants as they decompose.
In the next couple of weeks, I will plow down the pea plants remaining and they will return to the soil to provide nitrogen for the next thing that's going to be planted there. Perhaps if I'm lucky, a few ripe peas will go to seed and give me another crop of peas.
Compost, plants, flowers, food, compost. What a lovely cycle, and not a bit of waste in it, if you just relax and let nature take its own course.