Growing Season Management, Traveling to India, and Other Wisdon From Helen and Scott Nearing

In this installment of their homesteading advice column, Helen and Scott Nearing describe how they manage a short growing season and briefly describe their experiences traveling in India.

| September/October 1978

The following are questions readers submitted to Helen and Scott Nearing in their regular column on homesteading. 

Growing Season Management

Q: You must contend with such a short growing season (and such rough weather!) in Maine that I find myself wondering: What produces best for you, and do you grow most or all of your vegetables in your greenhouse? 

A: Green leaf crops and roots—including potatoes, parsnips, carrots, beets, and rutabagas—are our best crops and our yearly schedule goes something like this: We eat asparagus daily for about two months in the spring while we start many of our vegetables in seed flats in the greenhouse. The starts are then transplanted later into garden flats or directly into the garden's soil. All summer the greenhouse is full of tomato plants, peppers, and eggplant, which flourish under glass. Then, beginning in the late summer, we plant seeds in the greenhouse, transplant young plants from the garden, and bring in mature plants. By autumn we have the greenhouse full of greens that will produce through the winter.

Traveling to India

Q: What prompted your trips to India? 

A: We never travel for pleasure or recreation (we prefer to stay home for those things) and our trips away are invariably to satisfy duty or social obligations. Our latest trip to India, for instance, was to attend a three-week International Vegetarian Union convention. The trip was a real chore partly because of the hot weather, but mainly because of the inedible, overcooked, overspiced, and unhygienic food that we had to eat. The journey was also harrowingly painful to us because of the glimpses we had of the scandalous contrasts between the daily life of the poor and the extravagant luxury of the rich.

Nearing Self-Sufficiency

Q: Just how self-sufficient are you at Harborside, and how often must you leave home to "go into town"? 

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