Sunday, April 28, 2013

Cracker and I are going, Andy is a gracious host to the delightful people who attend.

  • Bamboo Grove Homestead, 2460 SW Mixon St., Arcadia, FL 34266
  • For those interested in growing, trading, buying, or just plain learning about perennial vegetable culture here in Florida, come on out for this full day of workshops, garden tours, plant swapping and purchasing, etc. Featured speakers, demonstrations, sampling table. Plants discussed and /or shown: True Yams, Yacon, Perennial Onions & Leeks, Oca, Crosnes, Sweet Potatoes, Malanga, Taro, Eddo, Dasheen, Kuwai (Duck Potato), Water Chestnut, Belembe, Boniato, Cassava, Achira, Tigernuts, Earth Pea, Jerusalem Artichokes, Groundnuts (Apios), and more. Show up between 8 am - Noon: $15 / after 1:30 pm: $10 / after 3 pm: $5 / after 4:30: free admission. 6 pm free plant swap. 7 pm free vegetarian and wild pescatarian potluck. 8 pm campfire and free tent camping. LIMITED TO THE FIRST 150 PEOPLE WHO RSVP on Facebook, or by calling me at 863-993-3228.
    8 am: Gates open
    8 am - Noon: $15 admission.
    11 am - Noon: Garden Tour
    12:30 - 1:30: Workshop on...
    After 1:30: $10 admission.
    2 pm - 3 pm: Workshop on...
    After 3 pm: $5 admission.
    After 4:30 pm: Free admission.
    6 pm: Plant Swap and Sale. Give away, trade, and for sale plants in three different sections.
    7 pm: Free Potluck Dinner (Vegetarian & Wild Pescatarian). Please label your ingredients, all utensils, napkins, cups, glasses, bowls & plates will be provided.
    8 pm: Campfire & free tent camping.
    Kids and friendly pets welcome. Kids under 15 are free.

Day three on Zithromax, my cat-bitten right hand has SO improved I can actually chop onions so am making a giant batch of spaghetti noodles into which I'll add onions, chopped squid tentacles, onion and garlic tops and chard and Lesbos basil and Mexican oregano and yellow wax beans and tomatoes from the gardens sauteed with olive oil and fish sauce along with coarse black pepper, topped with grated parmesan and home fermented botargo. Some smart sweet guy with nice pecs should marry me for my cooking and insatiable sex drive!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I've met folks who get arthritic reactions from eating the same nightshades I relish with no ill effects, but I learned in my mid 30s in Denver I get auto-immune arthritis if I use dairy as a main stay....a few times a month no problem. And science now knows why.....mitochondrial DNA mutation studies show that twice, the prehistoric ancestors of modern western cows (but not the kind in India), several thousands of years ago had a mutation that caused two new proteins to appear in their milk....people, like me, sensitive to both, can develop arthritis and quickly from eating a lot of dairy. I've met lots of people just like soon as they dropped/cut back on dairy, their arthritis vanished, thankfully! But others can chug a lug milk and feast on cheese with no problem. Interesting that nearly all Asians are lactose intolerant, which explains why there are no Chinese or Japanese cheeses.

Okra pods and tender young leaves are loaded with protein, and the plants love hot muggy summers and rich very moist soil, so I grow mine in various Water Wise Container Gardens. The heirloom strain 'Fife Creek' routinely gives me and gardeners I know pods that stay tender to the amazing length of 11 inches!!

An elegantly simple way to give pee a chance! I bet at home a plain bale would do!

Summer Crops in my Tampa Yard

Yesterday I bought a chayote to grow, a large 'Caribbean Red' papaya for the seeds within, and this Pepino to eat and for the first time in years, to try to grow the seeds.

Waste Not Want many of us discard or compost perfectly edible leaves from our crops...try these creative recipes

Nice Overview of Cow Peas

Few summer crops are more reliable here than Cow Peas (Vigna unguiculata) and there are MANY varieties, like my beloved 'Iron Clay'. I enjoy the young, tender, protein-rich leaves raw in salads, plus added to stir fry and soups. This summer I will finally try some of the traditional African recipes for Cow Pea leaves. To me, the pods are a bonus after months of bountiful leaves.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Most soy now days is GMO, not the soy Asian people have grown and eaten for many centuries, though I feel I don't react to the small amount of tofu and soy flour I eat now and then. Due to breeding work done in the Green Revolution of the 1960s (not GMO) modern wheat contains a protein in the gluten that it never has in history ( I forget the name), so perhaps that is why "gluten intolerence" is now so seemingly widespread. An angry militant vegan I know who is VERY "in your face" to people dismisses my reports that as both vegan and vegetarian I was very unhealthy even though I took zinc, B12, balanced my amino acids, etc. but I am VERY healthy as a light omnivore...perhaps people like me can't make the vital amino acid taurine found in meat as well as she and HEALTHY vegans can, just as I can eat mangoes and shrimp and strawberries and peanuts etc. with impunity but they make others very ill. But she dismisses that too, just as some GAUNT unhealthy looking raw foodies have told me without my asking, that I should stop cooking food. (Interestingly, this angry vegan dismisses eating raw out of hand too!) My point is I would hope that people, regardless of how passionately they feel about how THEY eat, would afford people enough respect to let them eat how THEY wish to too. I would NEVER tell this vegan "YOU NEED TO EAT MEAT!! I know your health status and life history better than you do, here, EAT this burger!". I am one of many ex-vegans and vegetarians I've met over the years who also went back to omnivorism for health reasons...our body chemistries simply would not comply with our ethical and philosophical ambitions and goals. Sharing your views about diet when ASKED for advice is one....pushy, obtrusive, born again food nazi militancy is another.

INCREDIBLE selection of alliums!

Nice Overview of Potato Onions

I've met militant foodies (vegan, raw, fruitarian, anti-soy, anti-whole grain, etc.) who feel healthiest eating a certain way and insist that EVERYONE else would too, ignoring folks they are trying to convert who report that is not the case with them. "Born Again" foodies can be incredibly dogmatic and deaf to experiences and views that don't mirror theirs.

Eliska Adema, your name sake onion is growing like crazy and blooming in the east bed along with roses, arugula and nasturtiums.

Like her and others I've known, I too was very unhealthy as a vegan. Like she says, we are all different vs. a "one size fits all diet".

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hopefully this panty hose foot will insure self pollination by this "Giant Green Callalloo" vs. cross pollination by dwarf wild pig weed, also an amaranth.

Thanks to Natalia Dengler of Tampa, as of today I have one of these....amazing scent!

OBSCENE income inequality in the U.S.!

I've never grown "Vegetable Mallow" (Malva verticillata var. crispa) before but it clearly needs damp mulched soil to do well for me in the bed it shares with the fig, roses and more. Very mild flavor, zero bitterness and tender raw right off the plant.

If you've never made "Bread and Butter" pickles using raw strips of thornless opuntia cactus, ginger root, garlic, honey, vinegar, salt and STRONG kombucha tea, DO! I never measure or use recipes when cooking, but I'm guessing maybe a quart of STRONG kombucha tea, cup of cider vinegar, cup of brown sugar or honey, 1/4 cup salt, cup of sliced ginger root, simmer in saucepan, covered, 15 minutes. Pack jar with RAW sliced cactus, turn off heat and pour IMMEDIATELY over cactus strips, let cool, put on lid, let age in fridge 2 or more weeks. These are classic "refrigerator pickles".....I've done okra for years but no ginger, hot peppers instead.

I love the concept and execution!

Amazing that my Chipilin plant is already ripening a second cluster of pods with new bloom spikes open and opening.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Once again here in my gardens, Mojito Mint, a species native to Cuba, outperforms by a WIDE margin other mints that are MUCH sweeter and mintier in both taste and aroma, like 'Kentucky Colonel' mint, a cultivar of Spearmint (Mentha spicata) which in Denver was SO prolific I knew people who used RoundUp to try to control it. Mojito Mint makes a nice minty tea and is good in salads and grows like crazy for lots of Floridians. I wonder if I could cross it with 'Kentucky Colonel' mint to improve the minty-ness and cut the sharpness? I keep hearing from gardeners in the area that Mojito Mint is super-reliable, so they forgive it for its sharpness raw, and it being far less minty sweet than the spearmint that thrives in colder climates. I've seen people make a face when tasting it raw due to its bite.

GMO corn vs. Organic....shocking differences, and NONE are good

Be VERY careful about tasting wild plants without knowing EXACTLY what they are, especially legumes!

Paul Saucier...the longer I live the less I "know" about plants....remember that "Capital D" cross leaf cross section thing about Allium fistulosom that for years I've told friends and students and that you and I saw even in your bulbing onions that baffled me? Well, I just Googled my brains out and this seems to be yet one more thing that accomplished botanists disagree about, just as others can't agree about the yam species. I've seen the "D" and "O" cross section over the years but am now no longer willing to attribute either trait to a given species or cultivar. Part of the problem seems to be genuine academic disagreement, part seems to be the ancient human origins of both A. cepa and A. fistulosum, and part seems to be because they and their hybrids readily cross. Getting humbled like this reminds me why I've loved roses, mostly heirloom and species roses, since 1989.....despite my having passionately studied them since that year, I am continually baffled and surprised by them. Cracks me up when I am introduced as a "roses expert" when in fact I am just perennially CURIOUS about them! As to my quest for tasty perennial alliums, all I can do at this point is to keep obtaining and testing various candidates, so thanks for cordoning off some of each of your three patches at H.E.A.R.T. to see if any divide/make bulbils/make seeds/make vivaporous clones/rot in the summer rains.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bless Yoko Ono

I bought one of these yesterday at the Garden Celebration at H.E.A.R.T.

I am amazed at how quickly that a spike of chipilin flowers become a spike of ripening seed pods....barely a week!

Yellow Wax Beans

I can't think of the last time I grew them but am so glad I took advantage of CHEAP seeds at Dollar Tree and am growing some in an 18 gallon Water Wise Container Garden in my back door kitchen garden as I am relishing eating many pods daily raw right off the plants. They are sweet, crunchy and stringless.

Despite brutal temps that dropped to 19 this winter at H.E.A.R.T., I saw hot peppers ACTIVELY regrowing from their bases all over......I think that Paul Saucier told me that one of these is a "Grove Pepper"....he was not sure of the other. Elsewhere, Josh Jamison showed me a Habanero coming back in a similar, vigorous bushy fashion that is four years old! I always thought it was Capsicum annuum!

Yesterday at H.E.A.R.T. Cracker quickly learned where to quench his thirst...this cool human-made stream that is an integral part of their aquaponics set up.