Category Archives: Crops

Be a Real Cheapskate – Grow Your own Fertilizer Part 2

In an earlier post Comfrey was the garden partner for grown fertilizer. In this post, Stinging Nettles ( Urtica dioica ) will be discussed. Stinging nettles are also a valuable food source as a dark leafy green it is a nutritional powerhouse in the kitchen as well as the garden.

     How to Use as Fertilizer:
1. Carefully harvest the leaves and stems (avoid roots and seeds)with snippers and gloves or in large patches use a scythe( pick up with fork or gloves. They are called STINGING Nettles for a good reason.
2. Fill a bucket or barrel with the harvested leaves and greenery, top completely with water and COVER for 2 weeks
3. After 2 weeks you will have a potent mixture loaded with – iron, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, copper and chlorophyll.
4. Removed most of the remaining solids and add to compost pile or spread around plants as a potent mulch.

Nettles are often considered a weed and may grow with abundance , over-reaching your need as fertilizer and food. they my be harvested and placed in compost piles and bins. They add a potent energizer to the compost
                                 Using the new PLANT FOOD ***
This mix will be highly concentrated and should be used in a 1/8 -1/10 mixture. In a gallon of water add approximately 2 cups of nettle tea.
Spread on the garden every every 2 weeks during or before a planned watering or rainfall

NETTLES ARE A VALUABLE FOOD SOURCE.

They are loaded with vitamins and minerals and rival the ever popular kale, spinach and collards in nutritional content. Nettles must be cooked or steamed before eating to eliminate the needles. They can be used in smoothies and there are many popular Green Smoothie recipes.
Nettles also make a delicious and potent Tea. Dry the leaves in a warm dry room or spread on cookie sheets in oven at lowest setting for several hours. Chop/grind the dried leaves and store until brewed.

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Be a Real Cheapskate- GROW your Fertilizer Part 1

Russian Comfrey ( Symphytum uplandicum) and wild comfrey ( symphtum officinale) are partners to consider adding to your garden because when established ,after  year 1 , it provides plenty of “free” fertilizer for your plants and an energizer for your growing compost piles(bins).

Wild comfrey tends to spread so plan ahead and put it in a spot that allows for  that or control the expansion by planting in buried pots, buckets or old storage bins (make sure they have drainage) control / limit  the spread.
Comfrey has the added benefit of being a useful medicinal herb (See link below).

It is  a relatively tall plant that  likes to reach out and spread its “wings”, so set it in places where it can do so and not cast too much shade or crowd out neighbors, especially permanent plantings like trees, berries and bushes.

The average home garden will benefit from 4-6 plants . It is be propagated from cutting or established plants can be divided .  It is an attractive plant with attractive blue-purple flowers and a fuzzy green leaf.

            How to Use Comfrey in your garden:
A. Liquid Fertilizer: 1] fill bucket with leaves(not necessary to pack tight) and top completely with water and cover the bucket with lid or board and set in sun for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks the liquid should be dark brown-black. IT WILL STINK, BUT THT IS OK!!
2] Combine dark liquid with clear water and ratio of 1-2 cup liquid/1 gallon water
3] add spread around plants every other week during regular watering or before a rain.
B. Transplant Kickstart: Put 3-6 leaves in bottom of pot or garden hole when transplanting fruiting plants.
C. Power Mulch : Place a layer of leaves around plants, can be covered with cut grass or leaf mold
D. Compost Activator: add and mix into compost heap/bins. include flowers and stalks
MEDICINAL USES-
http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/comfrey-medicinal-uses-zmaz92jjzshe.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

spring ahead, FALL BACK- the garden in Fall and Winter

The end of summer usually means an end of the garden but does that mean the work is over?

This post is just a free-for-all collection of semi-random fall gardening articles I found and enjoyed this week

what to grow when the sun goes away?

A.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LvaHzdb7CLE

B. http://gardeningjones.com/blog/2014/07/19/how-to-plan-a-fall-garden/

some more thoughts….

What to do in the garden?  or not…

1. http://thedailysouth.southernliving.com/2013/10/13/5-gardening-mistakes-to-avoid-this-fall/

2. http://www.finegardening.com/getting-your-roses-ready-winter

3.  http://sustainablog.org/2013/01/protecting-garden-space-winter/

4. http://homereadyhome.com/cold-frame-in-fall-garden/

Sprouts- ‘Baby’ Food that is Easy to grow and Get Healthy With.

I have experimented with packets of sprouting seeds and a few days of twice daily rinses and watching the taisl pop out and then the baby leaves and then DIGGING in.

 

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/23/edible-garden.aspx

   ***  HOW TO Grow sprouts for Healthy Food and Life

http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/606515-how-to-grow-sprouts/

Alfalfa Sprouts– (procedure similar for others)

http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/home-and-gardening/headlines/20130313-see-how-to-grow-alfalfa-sprouts-in-your-kitchen.ece

PEACHES- On the Grill, In The Salad

 

 

Found some ALMOST ripe peaches and decided to grill them to sweeten them up and use as the base for a fun salad..

Grilled Peach Chopped salad

7-8 peaches cut in half
2-3 green tomatoes sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 cup orange or yellow cherry tomatoes ( can be red- color is for THE LOOK)
1 medium cucumber chopped
3/4 cup Apple cider
OPTIONAL- finely chopped hot pepper

1. Place peaches on grill- flip after 2-3 minutes
2. flip again after 1 minute
3. Place tomatoes on grill  4 minutes each side
4. Allow peaches / onions to cool
5. Cut into bite sized pieces(not MY bite size..)
6. put peaches, onions, cukes and tomatoes (pepper) into bowl and toss
7. Add cider sparingly- until all coated and place in Fridge

 

Camera didn’t ork right o I found these photos to visual attraction.

GARDEN 2014 – Updates and photos

The garden for 2014 is going great and the joy is abounding as we gaze at the growing plants and stems and leaves. There are flowers blooming and fruit forming.

 We have tried a few new things this year- 

FREE COFFEE ROASTING CHAFF– as compost bulk and garden pathway coverage. It works great for both uses and is free at local coffee shop/roaster and this keeps chaff out of the garbage.

 

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff

Path mad with newspaper and Coffee Roasting Chaff


The next new thing we tried was OLD SCHOOL- 3 Sisters-   

Corn-beans and Squash in the same plot- sharing the same bed.

The basic idea is that the Corn serves as a post for the beans to climb and the squash grows out to cover the soil and prevent weed growth. This symbiotic relationship can produce a large amount of food in a relatively small space- with reduced need for watering/feeding/weeding.

 

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old

3 Sisters- Corn, beans and squash- 1 month old


We have also experimented with potato towers and the plants seem to be growing strong and we look forward to the FALL when we can break the towers down and see our harvest- The tower can, in theory, produce 20-40 pounds of potatoes per tower.. We will see in a few months

 

 

Potato Towers protected by onions

Potato Towers protected by onions

Summer Garden- Cabbage Medicine salad

I LOVE CABBAGE !!!  

I also love turmeric- and loving it more every day.

It tastes great and adds a nice flavor to many dishes…..PLUS it is a TREMENDOUS NATURAL ANIT-INFLAMMATORY.

 

This recipe ( and many variations) allows me to enjoy the brassicas I love so much and eat anti-inflammatory food and herbs throughout the day.

In it’s most simple form this salad is :

CABBAGE –  ONIONS  – GARLIC  + Raw Apple Cider vinegar

Ad some balck pepper, organic mustard, sea salt……

Add some turmeric powder (or ground fresh) and it become even more medicinal

Add fresh ginger……The crooks at the F& DA might want to label and control it.

 

RECIPE:

1 head of Cabbage- shredded to your taste

1 bunch red onions (I like the color) [Yellow- ok too]

1/2 cup Raw apple cider vinegar ( I use BRAGGS)

DRESSING-

1/2 tbs fresh ground pepper

2-4 tbs mustard ( to taste- and choose a fun /favorite mustard)

2 tbs  Olive oil (EVOO)

1-3 tbs Turmeric ( use less if fresh root) This is to taste

Mix in a bottle and shake vigourously or blend to emulsify- pour over the veggiues and set in fridge for 4 or more hours.

Options-

raw garlic, beets, young turnips, 2 kinds of cabbage or kale or greens

-lemon juice, snap peas, or fresh beans, ???????

SERVING ??

Serve over rice, or as a side to a spicy chili.

There are as many variations as there are mouths and tongues and Veggies at the Farmers Market.