Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I've failed a few times trying to grow the chenopod Magenta Spreen, which thrives for Craig Hepworth each summer in central Florida, getting 8-10 feet tall. I got seeds at the ROOTS festival this spring so just scattered some into the Water Wise Container Garden that I grew Hong Vit edible leaf radish in this winter.....fingers crossed!

In Denver, Plantago major (White Man's Footprint) is a hated lawn weed and a cherished forage plant both as food and medicine, but I rarely see it here though the lance leaf one is common in parks. Raw it is very bitter but I chop some into salads, stir fry or, like yesterday, spaghetti sauce just fine. The giant leafed form of Plantago major that my non-English speaking Korean neighbor gave me a few seeds of 2 years ago and that self sowed into a small Water Wise Container Garden somehow and that THRIVED this winter, is now setting a very nice crop of seeds. I'd love to know if the hugeness of the leaves is due to the variety, or rich conditions in that container garden as they utterly dwarf any I've seen anywhere. I noticed it is a staple of Chinese medicine. I've already gathered MANY seeds and will have thousands more within 2 weeks. It will be fun this fall and winter to see just how many self sowed in that garden area beneath my avocado tree!

I love this nitrogen-fixing summer crop and Mary Shalhub-Davis just mailed a bunch of seeds to Josh Jamison to grow at H.E.A.R.T. this summer. I love the whole pods boiled when young and tender, older pods filled with plump tender seeds grilled with olive oil, garlic and salt and eaten like giant edamames, plus use the dried beans as I would soybeans. It took a while but I found this video that one of my blog readers in SE Asia sent me a few years ago showing how this nitrogen fixer feeds people while healing and nourishing the soil. LOVES our muggy summers and can be perennial if winters are mild. The flowers have a wonderful perfume, especially in the morning.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My "masculinized hen"/possibly rooster is now trying to crow about a dozen times each where near loud enough to bother the neighbors.....yet. It continues to get bigger, the tail longer and more elaborate, yet no spurs plus the comb and wattle look hen-like. No sign it ever lays eggs. So if no eggs and it can't father chicks, the roasting pan is increasingly the best option.

Thanks to antibiotics from my neighbor Theresa that hand-sized skin infection on the side of Cracker's belly is MUCH better as is his energy and appetite (thankfully he wolfs down the stew containing the Doxycycline). Over the years I've seen plenty of "hot spots" but this was very different....almost scary as it seemed systemic. South Tampa's beaches have been closed for days now due to bacteria and years ago I was told by local fisherman that the reason we see mullets in south Tampa's lakes is because they are connected to the bay. Twice before this outbreak Cracker had plunged repeatedly into the lake at the dog park at the south end of Himes...before that his skin was PERFECT, with actual hot spots from oak pollen cured by one bath and one neem tree leaf tea dip, so I feel almost certain that this very painful upsetting issue was caused by bacteria in that stories said the ones at nearby Picnic Island and Davis Island beaches are called "enterococci" (sp?). From now on I will do my best to monitor bacteria levels at Picnic Island as years ago, Sweety got a terrible skin infection and I got a bad UTI by swimming and wading there a few hours the day BEFORE they closed the beach. Cracker is usually such a happy care free dog, so this has been very hard on him and heart breaking for me to witness. That hand-sized area yesterday finally healed enough for me to apply Neosporin, but he still yelped. Be careful folks! If I walk him at that park again I will keep him out of that lake!!! I hope the people I see fishing at both spots cook those fish THOROUGHLY!

I've long heard of the South American crop Yacon, so thanks to Charlei Scott who gave me a baby at ROOTS in St. Pete I now have one! I took the advice given me by a few folks and planted the tiny little baby in a peat pot in the center of a 1/3 barrel Water Wise Container Garden beneath my avocado tree where it is growing like crazy. I'm hopeful it does better for me than do the related Sunchokes (also contain inulin vs. conventional carbs) that grew RAMPANTLY in my Denver yard. Since the Arrow Root rhizome that Josh Jamison gave me about a year ago thrived in an identical barrel garden right next to it, gave me a good harvest to eat and share and is now regrowing from an unharvested rhizome, I hope this Yacon does just as well.