Thursday, January 31, 2013
Germination of the Corn Salad seeds was good, but the medium I bought and used for it and other plantings proved to be a nitrogen sponge, so I'm giving this tub garden a good drenching with a dilute mix of fish emulsion and feed grade urea, which the spearmint seedlings LOVED.
I had a great time at Andy Firk's plant swap, the car was loaded up, Cracker belted in, the engine running, then I LUCKILY remembered I'd not snagged a cutting from his big stock tank garden overflowing with vines of a strain of Purple Sweet Potato (Okinawan?) he'd gotten from ECHO. He was giving a talk when I went back in and snagged what I felt was a small piece of vine....on the way home I wished I'd gotten more. But once home I dipped the used plastic shopping bag the vine was curled up in into a rain barrel and left it by my north facing front porch until today. To my delight it had made roots up and down the length of it, so I snipped into rooted sections and potted them in 4 inch pots with good home made soil. I got a total of seventeen! I was able to get two plants from the short piece of a purple stemmed variety of purple sweet potato, also from ECHO, that a woman attending his event gave me. I look forward to growing and sharing these this summer!
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Interesting article by a vegetarian saying that humans are omnivores physiologically, like the Great Apes, and that as such we have choice, including being vegetarian for ethical and ecological reasons. This topic comes up often at potlucks I attend and I enjoy sharing my dietary history and hearing others, often quite different from mine. I'm healthiest by far as an omnivore but I meet folks glowingly healthy as vegans (some do best on raw, some on cooked), ovo-lacto vegetarians, some who eat fish now and then, and some folks who react poorly to grains or legumes. A few vegans I've met feel best on a diet composed largely of raw fruits. Human physiology and history make pretty clear that there is no "one size fits all diet" for humans whereas it is very difficult to imagine a cow adapting to an all meat diet like that of the Innuits, who, if true herbivores, would have died out centuries ago.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Special thanks to Josh Jamison in Lake Wales for first making me aware of this ancient crop, and then for giving me a specimen thriving in a one gallon pot!
Thanks Andy Firk for yet another great event at your place at Bamboo Grove in Arcadia....nice to see people I already know and like plus meet delightful new ones. I enjoyed your tour of your place, the wonderful potluck (every dish was vegan except for a casserole with tuna and egg and my 18 fresh eggs I fried up for folks this morning) and in particular the seeds and plants and cuttings and plant swap. I came home with many cool new crops, in particular the very rare ones that Josh Jamison had brought for me! Nice to see Cracker expand his fan club, and how amazingly well Andy's super-friendly cats accepted him and vice versa. How nice to end that evening around the fire before Cracker and I broke in our free tent, the first time I've camped in many years. You are going good things there Andy!
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Being a distinct species hailing from Cuba would explain why Mojito Mint thrives here and is TRULY perennial. But many folks find the taste sharp and much less minty than the true Spearmint (Mentha spicata) that thrives spectacularly in climates much colder than that of central Florida.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Hmmmm....I'm not sure how I feel about this......
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Someone I know from the annual Christmas party saw my Craig's List ad, thought it might be me and called....last night he and three buddies stopped drinking beer long enough to bring over the jacuzzi shell and and the fish pond on a flatbed trailer!! We got them into my back yard via my neighbor's back yard and gates. I'll mostly bury the jacuzzi, fill it and use a floating plants colony to process the water and gold fish for mosquitoes like in a European "swimming pond". Not sure if I'll use the fish pond as that, or drill the sides to make it a giant Water Wise Container Garden for a thirsty crop like okra. Both free and both delivered, will pay him with beer and plants he wants. He and his wife happy as they wanted them out of the yard. Eliska and her boyfriend Bob came over today, gave me a three gallon pot with a few dozen loose plants she pulled from her patch....a bunching onion that multiplies underground plus reseeds heavily despite her sandy yard. The patch is now going into its third year so I am hopeful it proves to be truly perennial. Even though they look like my scallion-like Allium fistulosum, she bought them as loose bulbs simply labelled "bunching onions" at an Ace Hardware store. I'll divide them into pots to share with folks to test. "Eliska's Bunching Onion" seems like a good study name to put on the miniblind strips.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Paul the neighborhood mowing guy just left after his usual weekly weeding visit....once again he did an AWESOME job weeding and chopping my front yard, tasks I hate and avoid (obviously) due to having been a landscaper for 19 years. He is glad too as there is little mowing work in winter, he charges $8 an hour but I pay him $10....this is doing wonders to speed up the revamping of the front yard so I can plant own root roses, perennials, bulbs, herbs, annuals and veggies. He drinks a LOT but is a very hard fast worker. No car but lives maybe 5 blocks away, lives with his Mom and sister, so walks or rides his bike. Wiry very small framed guy maybe early 50s. I am so glad he came here a couple months ago looking for work...total win-win arrangement!
Monday, January 21, 2013
After a spree of internet obsessing on GMO soybeans in world markets, pricing very expensive edamame seeds that offered no GMO status, I am just fine with planting late this spring the soybeans I got from Thailand, one pound for $1.79, being sold at south Tampa's DoBond Market. It was fun giving myself a crash course on the plant itself, its cultivation, GMOs, and Thailand's very impressive efforts to grow NO GMO foods and insist that those imported be labelled. If all goes well, by late summer I will be blanching and freezing oodles of home grown organic edamame pods! Seed Saver's Exchange offered a few types, 50 seeds for $2.75 plus shipping, and I could find no references to GMO status. So this bag from DoBond works for me.
And so ordered seeds of this today!
Sunday, January 20, 2013
If you've never grown this type of heirloom collard, DO! And if you don't like the usual collards due to bitterness, try eating this one raw or cooked...very sweet and crunchy vs. bitter and tough. Some folks feel it is a cross between a collard and a cabbage.....I'm inclined to believe that theory. This company sells bulk seeds at wonderful prices too.
Friday, January 18, 2013
So I go to let Cracker play in my neighbor Theresa's yard and what do I see in the south bed? Ducks fucking! Or is that fucking ducks?
Never a boring day here at Starnesland!
I've now made excellent bortago using raw mullet roe, and similarly fermented salted raw fish flesh, and am now game to try my hand at home made caviar. I'd love to trade fresh fertile hen's eggs or cool seeds for frozen fish roe from a local fisherman.
So nice to have excellent germination of Corn Salad seeds in a Water Wise Container Garden made from a black plastic concrete mixing tub, plus seeds of mixed VERY hot peppers in a flower pot. I've not grown Corn Salad in several years, plus want to GREATLY increase my production of hot peppers here and go back to making massive batches of hot sauce,
I want to get a big fish and try this recipe as I love pickled herring.
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
and saw that there are many versions. I will definitely try a few!
I had a nice couple of hours at the Twilight Market at Roosevelt 2.0.....lots of vendors out front, inside and outback. To me it looked like the turnout was very good. It was nice to see Brian Ritter and Charlei Scott and Nate Chetelat, Jon Butts, Bryan and Rudy Arnauts plus former students of mine. I enjoyed a $3 sample of three cheeses made from water buffalo milk, got STUFFED with a grand sandwich and soft taco. I'd hoped to buy goat milk or cheese from Pamela Martin Lunn and pig meat from Rebecca Krassnoski, but they were not there. I was VERY happy to buy me a new long-wanted 'Swiss Mint' and a 'Kentucky Colonel Mint' plus a pound of ground pig meat from the woman (Susan) and I believe her teen son at 'My Mother's Garden'. As usual Cracker got lots of attention from kids and adults and was well behaved...he got to meet two other friendly dogs too. I bought for him 6 homemade all natural dog treats flavored with cheddar and parmesan cheese. Luckily I got to share 4 Jamaican Cherries and some aerial yam tubers with folks I know there. A very pleasant evening, parking in that garage was just $1 (the attendant there fell in love with Cracker!) and I suspect that this market really meets local community needs. I think it'd be fun to go there monthly (am REALLY hoping for raw local milk, cow or goat) and local honey. Good energy and good folks there!
Almost time to bury a new 55 gallon Water Wise Container Garden (the holes are on the sides about 10 inches from the bottom) likely in the center food forest bed to grow the Nam Wa banana that Michael Spinelli brought to my home some months back. Using limbs from the Paper Mulberry trees in a chop-and-drop fashion will be central to rehydrating that area now pure sand after almost a year of several ducks grazing out all the bidens and other weeds....with all their poop you KNOW it is fertile in there! That is the same bed I want to tuck a used jacuzzi shell in to make a wading pool with the water purified by plants.
Monday, January 14, 2013
HUGE score yesterday at the Tampa Rare Fruit Council meeting....Andrew gave me a few of his huge Purple Possum passion fruits...I ate a ripe one today....wonderful sweet tangy flavor despite being scentless from the outside. A member was selling VERY generous bags of an EXTREMELY aromatic yellow one for just $1 as he was trying to get rid of them...his 5 year old vine makes 2000 fruits per year! I ate an unripe one...very tangy, wonderful flavor...I am certain that when wrinkled and ripe they will be heavenly. I'll eat a few but save and share and sow lots of seeds.
Cracker earned his keep first thing today...when I let him out to do his business he IMMEDIATELY cornered that pesky new female Muscovy duck who's been coming and going......they wreak HAVOC to a garden in minutes so this was NOT good. I caught her easily with his help, grabbed the scissors and trimmed her wings, and put her back in the south bed. Now I've noticed a female on a nest in the central duck pen! One reason I want to find a home for all these feral cats is they've killed 17 ducklings here the last year! I have way too many males, so time to man up again and slaughter and cook and freeze 2-3 more. Life on an urban farm is always interesting!
There are SO MANY "foodisms" these days, at times as dogmatic as any religion I've ever encountered. Under NO circumstance are we to eat: soy, meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, ANYTHING cooked, wheat or ANY whole grain, carbs, nightshades, etc. Mercola and others say NO or VERY few fresh fruits, others insist that humans are physiologically fruitarians (tell that to the Innuits!) Others insist that we are herbivores (again, tell that to the Innuits) even though our physiology is a near exact match to the great apes who are true omnivores who eat leaves, roots, nuts, eggs and baby birds and vast numbers of taurine-rich termites and other insects daily. Chimpanzees actively hunt monkeys. Even the Bonobos eat meat now and then. True herbivores, like cows, deer, goats, pandas, sloths have (often) chambered stomachs harboring cellulose-digesting bacteria thriving in stomach juices with a much higher pH than seen in omnivores and carnivores). I've encountered anti-wheat folks who insist that we simply can't digest wheat even though bread has been the Staff of Life for many centuries....some anti-wheat folks say that humans settling down to RAISE grain is what led to organized warfare...but ants and chimpanzees routinely have what can only be seen as organized warfare to acquire territory, food, females and to commit infanticide. I've had "raw foodies" (whose appearance was hardly the vision of fitness and good health) TELL me how I should be eating at gatherings, which to me is both intrusive and rude....I can't imagine telling a vegan at a potluck, "Hey, you SHOULD eat this chunk of chicken, you NEED the taurine! I know your body better than you do!". If I listened collectively to all these "isms" the only thing I could eat is rocks! Then no doubt some New Ager would tell me that they have spirits! Geesh! Like I chatted on FB last night with a vibrantly healthy vegan friend who thrives on wheat products and even makes her own seitan from scratch, "you just can't win!" Since I fare poorly as vegetarian and vegan but THRIVE as a light omnivore trying to raise my own meat animals in very nice conditions before their demise to avoid buying factory farm meat, I'll continue to eat this way without telling others it is the ONLY way that a person should eat. I wish some folks would just chill, eat how THEY want to eat, and mind their own business.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Two very different brassicas keep evolving in two of my baby pool gardens as the plants reseed each spring....I THINK that they both began as either Appin or Purple Kosaitai. One has evolved a long thick CRUNCHY leaf rib that makes for delightful eating raw, the other has evolved a short broad leaf with a very wide and crunchy fan-shaped leaf stem reminiscent of Chinese cabbage. Each spring they flower, shed seeds that germinate the following autumn but that always become a some what different yet desirable veggie!
As I purge my home and yard of excess scavenged items, one technique is proving very effective......USING things that have been stored here and there. In this case two fence posts have done wonders to add some order to my often messy kitchen garden. Raking pine needles from Theresa's yard as Bill did for years added a nice fu-fu touch to the formerly VERY informal pathways lined only with seed starting trays.
After looking at MANY options I've decided that a large spa shell would be best for me to make an all-natural wading pool. If anyone knows of one that needs a home please let me know. I have a Honda Accord so I'd have to make arrangements with a friend with a truck. Thanks in advance!
Saturday, January 5, 2013
How do people who rely on deceit to make their opulent incomes live with themselves?