Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Did you know by clicking on the green rectangle to the right you can visit garden blogs all over the world? Maybe it isn't your thing, but if you want an armchair adventure, take a look. You can visit gardens such as Garden Adventures, a guy in Florida with orchids hanging from his trees, to My Small Garden, a woman in Malaysia who has to whack out tapioca plants like I have to blackberry vines. I am proud to say I have periodically been on the "popular blogs" list and currently I am number 111, which with all those blogs is pretty impressive. Are you impressed? No worries, it is a good cheap hobby for me to provide info with this format.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Amaranth, or Pigweed as it is more commonly referred to, has many attributes I am aware of, but seldom take advantage of. It is a good indicator that your soil is well nourished and most of its parts can be eaten. When young, the leaves are a good substitute for spinach and have all the same vitamins and minerals. As it develops its seed head, the shiny black seeds can be shaken out and ground into a meal from which a flatbread or cracker can be made which native American populations were aware of. In Africa, there are much larger varieties grown for just this purpose. For me, it is a weed that comes up where I don't really want it. Its seed heads hold the propect of millions of new weeds for next year. It is easy to spot and remove, but I know it is there if I ever need it.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Potatoes are not as fussy as some things about their storage needs. Cool, dark, and mostly dry are the main ingredients of happy storage, but a little moisture in the air doesn't seem to bother them. The temperature as long as it isn't hot or freezing seems to be OK, but between 50 and 60 would be ideal. The darkness is probably the most important as they will not know they are no longer buried as long as they don't see any light. In light, they will turn green which indicates they have a naturally occurring toxin, solanine, building up in them. This is the same with sprouting which will also happen in the presence of light. I try not to pile them up too deep in boxes, but have them in only a couple layers, easy to take a look at and remove any questionable ones that might affect the rest of the group. Most of them will keep through the winter until spring approaches and they know something else should be going on. Save the ones that are the size of small hen's eggs to replant. If you live in a temperate zone that isn't extremely wet, you can leave your potatoes in the ground under mulch and dig as needed. You only have to worry about bugs and gophers finding them.