Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thanks to Peggy Campbell for sharing this data at the Barefoot Gardeners Organic Permaculture Central Florida forum. Moringa info: PKM-1: Superior Moringa Variety with commercial Viability Long and Fleshy and Pods with Desirable Attributes Green and Abundant Nutritive Leaves with Massive Production – Suitable for Making Moringa Leaf powder and by-products Rich Oil content 38 to 42 % of Oil Ready for harvest in 150 days Highest Yield of Drumsticks - 400 Fruits/Per Tree- up to 30 seeds/per pod Early fruit-bearing and tends to mature in short time.Fleshy and Tasty Fruits Flowering starts within 90-100 days. Flowering Twice per Year. 100 to 150 Flowers in One cluster. More than One Pod per Cluster Pods are 70 – 80 cms Long 220 pods per tree Huge Production 35 – 40 kgs of Pods per Tree Edible Maturity within 65 days from Flowering All Moringas: Convenient for wild production Annual in habit and bushy in growth Pods non-fibrous and seeds soft even in late harvests Amenable for ratooning twice. Low cost of production Soil enrichment through leaf litter-Better successive crops PKM-1 is a hybrid that is able to withstand drought and produces long, fleshy pods of the highest quality. This cultivar grows much bushier and produces more leaves and pods than common Moringa Oleifera It is also reported to be more nutrient rich. PKM-1 is a perennial tree but it is very often grown in cooler climates as an annual. The number one choice for commercial production. *PKM-1 can produce as many as 400 pods (drumsticks) per tree! *PKM-1 is the choice for serious moringa farming and maximum yields in the shortest period of time. Pods are ready to eat after just 65 days. *PKM-1 was developed at the Horticultural College and Research Institute, *Periyakulam, in Tamil Nadu of South India. Taste tests conducted in Africa between (1) Moringa Stenopetala, (2) Common Moringa Oleifera and (3) PKM-1 hybrid confirmed that PKM-1 had a better taste than (1) and (2) Leaves: 7X Vitamin C of an Orange (if raw, if dried, much less) 4X Vitamin A of a Carrot (if dry, more of it) 4X Calcium of milk (if dry, more of it) High Protein Helps: Antibiotic Diabetes Cardiovascular Bursitis in Hips Anti-inflammatory High Blood Pressure 1 capsule/day, no more In good soil--can have all vitamins and minerals Deciduous Nitrogen-fixer--Green Manure Contains all essential amino acids Chickens won't eat Anti-microbial in soil Only plant that purifies water, branch in water kills E. Coli Germinate Seeds: 1. Soak in water overnight 2. Put a paper towel in bottom of a plastic food storage container 3. Wet paper towel with water from seeds, wet but not extra water in container 4. Remove flanges from seeds 5. Lay seeds on paper towel, with about 1/2 or more between seeds. 5. Put lid on container, set in warm sunny window. 6. Seeds should sprout roots in a week. Planting: Well-drained soil, mound up high, NO wet feet Grow from seed, not cuttings Cuttings or a plant in pot will not get a nice long tap root to pick up minerals deep down. It will also go over easy in a storm if no tap root. Don't grow in pot for more than one month. If in pot, only use a 3 gallon pot or larger for one month or less and then plant in ground. Nematode resistant Grows in the Desert Little white flowers and then get seed pods (15-20 seeds in a pod) but can't prune the branch to get the seed pods. Grows 8" a week in summer Trunk stores a lot of water, still produces during drought Harvest Leaves 19-20" every 35-40 days Harvest Leaves 6-8" above the ground 2L

Thanks to Brad Ward and ECHO, I now have TWO TRAYS of Moringa PKM-1 seeds sown, with a few seeds left in one packet. So cool that less than 2 weeks after I learned of this hybrid Moringa, kind folks insure that I have it to grow and share.

All four times I applied FRESH neem leaves to that kiddy pool okra garden there was NO squirrel digging damage so I will keep it up!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

So many dog treats from China are killing dogs, but even the "safe" ones made here have ingredients I find scary. Cracker does not like crunchy dog biscuits like Sweety did...he wants the soft chewy ones that come in sealed bags, which I've tasted...quite sweet even if the label says beef or bacon. So I'll try my own versions of this recipe, substituting sweet potatoes for the carrots as I have a vast abundance from the front yard, plus I'll cook some bacon lightly, puree it, and add it to the slurry for flavor. The chemically store bought ones are SO pricey! My neighbor Theresa often gives me half or more of a baked chicken from the one I'll strip off the meat, boil the bones for a broth, puree it all with some garden greens and freeze to flavor a batch of chewies with because he LOVES to eat cooked chicken.

My original plant of "Filipino Mexican Tree Pepper" was planted in the ground many years ago, before the drought settled in, and each year averaged 5' X 5' and bore hundreds if not thousands of hot peppers annually. Each spring I'd cut it back hard and feed it like a rose and it would regrow like crazy. Then I lost it a few years ago after 2 nights of 27 degrees. Thankfully 2 years ago I found some old pods in an envelope and have it again. Now I have seedlings in a pot I am dividing today.....3 go to Mary Jo recently gave one to Charlei and her hubby Nate. I'll keep at least 3 as I want to go back to bulk hot sauce making. This plant is thriving in an 18 gallon Water Wise Container Garden, and in about 6 weeks I'll have red ripe pods to mail to folks...oddly, Allen Boatman and I discovered the hard way that the pods need to be dried for a few weeks indoors until very brittle for the seeds to germinate. The pic of my hand with peppers was taken in the good old days of the original plant.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I've been growing/eating/selling the thorn free, glochid free Opunita cochenillifera for years and love young pads raw, cooked or pickled. Last night I treated myself to that wonderful "Hamburger Deluxe' at that 'Momma's Kitchen' very close to here and the owner was there so I could ask about the HUGE thornless opuntia cactus beside the building that I've noticed for years when driving by. He said that many years ago he brought just one pad from Greece and that ever since he and his brother have propagated it all over. Even though he is Greek he calls the fruits "tuna" like Hispanics do, and said the flesh is yellow and very tasty. He cooks older pads on the grill...not sure if he peels them before or after......younger pads he cooks and eats whole. He LOVES the fruits and had heard of red ones so the next time I take Cracker to Picnic Island Beach I'm getting him pads of the super thorny kind I found there roadside (Opuntia ficus-indica) that makes huge flavorful red/magenta fruits that must be handled carefully and scrubbed under running water. When I look very closely I see very small numbers of tiny glochids....he mentioned just scrubbing them off. Even though it came from Greece I wonder if it might be one of Luther Burbank's many dozens of thornless ones Andy Firk has been collecting that he bred about a century ago as food for people and livestock. The ground was littered with pads knocked off by cars that pulled in too far. I'll choose a place out back to plant this one in a few days after the wound heals.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I am relishing my first ever batch of low sodium "cultured vegetables" that due to my last fridge dying slowly spent 2 months at room temp....much like kimchi or sauerkraut but less salty plus crisper. But since I love to experiment, rather than pull out the hard to use/clean food processor and make a new big batch today, I just chopped/added a wild mix of veggies right into the quart canning went: whole baby carrots, chopped leeks and "Indian Shallot" and "Filipino Mexican Tree Peppers", leaves of moringa, bidens, purslane, Tree kale, collards, plus whole garlic cloves, aerial bulblets of Allium canadense, 1/2 young pad of thornless opuntia cactus chopped. I added a big pinch of brown sugar to feed the bacteria that make the lactic acid, several big splashes of That fish sauce, and about a heaping teaspoon of salt, topped with filtered water. The cap is on but loose enough to let pressure escape. I'll taste it after a month in a dark corner of the kitchen counter

At H.E.A.R.T. in Lake Wales, Florida they cultivate moringa for the leaves not the drumsticks, so the trees freezing down completely each winter then recovering gives them tons of low bushy growth to harvest. Josh Jamison is also an advocate of white mulberry for its edible leaves and has posted cool links showing what WOULD have been actual trees instead being grown closely spaced and in rows as low dense bushes, all very heavily coppiced for easy harvest of the leaves. I am growing the one that he gave me atop my cat Angel's grave in my south food forest where I too will keep it cropped low. Yesterday I cut my center food forest moringa, which was close to 20 feet tall, down to this short stump less than a foot tall to see if I can duplicate the "bush effect" that they have at H.E.A.R.T. due to their very hard freezes taking their moringas to the soil line annually. I planted two cuttings on the west side of the center food forest, and one in the west bed I am clearing out after years of it being a messy, classic " John Starnes Catch All Storage Area" that is now home to a Palestine Lime, jaboticaba (in a buried 55 gallon Water Wise Container Garden), Estrella chaya, African Yellow Yam, and a newly planted chayote mailed to me as a gift. If all goes well, by early June this stump will be a bushy mass of tender new growth that I can add to batches of kimchi and cultured vegetables and soups and smoothies for a nutritional boost. One goal this year is to make a batch of kimchi entirely from moringa leaves, and after a few months of it fermenting I'll puree it with spices, roasted sesame oil, and coconut oil as a pungent, super nutritious spread to use on pita bread, meats, in salad dressings and on home made pan breads.

That last rain system nearly refilled that south bed 55 gallon rain barrel that I had brewed that experimental batch of fermented cactus pads fertilizer in, so today I used a machete to hack off lots more cactus and re-stuffed the barrel. When I took off the boat dinghy cover that acts as rain catchment I saw VAST numbers of mosquito larvae almost ready to hatch and fly away, so when I was done adding cactus I sealed it tight with a heavy circular glass table top I scavenged years ago. They'll be trapped, die, decay, add more nitrogen, plus the tight seal will insure anaerobic fermentation. I'm cutting the center top out of another 55 gallon drum and will set it in the center food forest for on-site creation of liquid fertilizer based on cactus pads, fish carcasses and seaweed from the beach, chicken poop, moringa leaves and picuda leaves. I do few things precisely, but I'm guessing the ferment time is three weeks. Waste not, want not!