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Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Importance of Fiber

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Make A Rain Barrel ~ Conserving Water

Gardening season is here! Whether you’re growing edibles, flowers, or anything in between, those plants are bound to be thirsty as temperatures heat up.

A rain barrel is a great way to keep your plants hydrated in between downpours without tapping into the municipal water system.

Survival Weekly shared an awesome video showing a simple, cheap way to construct your own rain barrel out of a 55 gallon food-grade drum:

Caring for Your Rain Barrel
Once it’s built, you can pretty much set it and forget it, but rain barrels do need a little bit of maintenance from time to time.

First, you’ll want to check the screen on top occasionally to make sure it’s still secure and that it doesn’t have any holes or tears. That little piece of screen keeps rodents and insects from getting into your rain barrel. Mosquitoes in particular are attracted to all of that standing water, and you don’t want them laying eggs in there!

This isn’t so much a concern at this time of year, but you do want to make sure to drain the water from your barrel if temperatures are going to get below freezing. The expanding water can cause the plastic to crack, damaging your barrel.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to let that water sit for too long. Try to use the water you’ve collected within a week.

About once a year, it’s a good idea to clean out your barrel. Give it a good scrub with a hard bristled brush and a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar. This will help prevent your barrel from taking on a funky smell and ensure that you’re not spreading any bacteria into your garden. This is especially important if you’re using your collected water to maintain food plants.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Things To Do With Fresh Sage


Things To Do With Fresh Sage


I recently remarked to a sympathetic friend how difficult it is to buy fresh sage around here. Sage isn't used intensively in French cuisine, so it's not part of the classic range of fresh herbs sold at produce shops or at the green market. But I enjoy its flavor very much, so I decided I would try and find seeds to grow my own.
Only days later, I walked past the sidewalk display of Etablissements Lion on my way home, and noticed that they sold potted sage plants that looked exceptionally healthy. I couldn't resist; I chose the most beautiful one and adopted it.
It now rooms with our blooming strawberry plants on the bathroom window sill, but it is so bushy I thought I'd better start thinking of ideas to put it to good use. And I did what any modern person would do: I turned to twitter and asked, "What do you like to do with sage?"
The response was multicolored and inspired, and I thought it would be a pity not to share it with you. Surely there are other owners of expansive sage plants who would benefit. So here's a compilation of the suggestions I collected -- my sincere thanks go to the twitterers who kindly contributed their ideas.
Sage pairings:
- Sage + eggs (i.e. in an omelette)
- Sage + polenta
- Sage + onion (i.e. in stuffing)
- Sage + white beans (i.e. in white bean hummous or an open sandwich)
- Sage + apple
- Sage + pineapple
- Sage + roasted peanuts
Sage uses:
- Sage butter on gnocchi
- Sage butter on ravioli, especially pumpkin ravioli
- Sage olive oil with pasta and parmesan
- Put some leaves into pesto with other herbs.
- Add sage to bean dishes.
- Infuse honey with sage.
- Use with parsley, rosemary and thyme in UNchicken risotti and soups.
- Add along with fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary to tomato sauces.
- Deep-fry the leaves and serve as an appetizer, or use as a garnish for poultry, meat dishes, or pasta.
Recipe ideas:

- Sage on asparagus with shaved pecorino
- Lay two sage leaves over a long slice of sweet potato and wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Roast for 20 minutes or so with some olive oil (credit to Mark Bittman).
- Italian bread and cabbage soup with sage butter
- Roast butternut squash on a thick bed of it.
- Sage and goats' cheese gnocchi
- Sweet potato gnocchi with chestnuts and fried sage
- - Wrap a flattened chicken thigh in prosciutto with a leaf of sage and pan-cook.
- Pan-fry UNchicken breasts(QUORN), add sage, red onion, lemon & crème fraîche.
- Pork, sage and apple burgers (USE PORK SUB)
- Mold around a piece of UNsausage , batter and fry.
- Sage and cheddar biscuits or pumpkin sage biscuits
- Sage ice cream
- Sage panna cotta
Other uses:
- Freeze in ice cubes for summer drinks.
- Go native and use the dry sage leftovers to purify your kitchen from evil spirits (see smudge sticks).
- Sage tea is a great remedy for sore throat.
- Sage plants give the most beautiful blooms!
More Entries Like This One:
~ Watercress and Fresh Sage Soup

Monday, May 17, 2010

How to Grow Potatoes in a Trash Bag

Growing potatoes in a plastic bag is an almost fool-proof way to grow potatoes.

Step 1: Prepare the Seed Potatoes

About a week before planting, place seed potatoes in a warm spot. When the sprouts that form are about 1/4" to 1/2" long, the potatoes are almost ready to plant. Cut large seed potatoes into chunks about 2" wide. Each piece should have at least two sprouts. After cutting the seed potatoes, let them sit at room temperature for two or three days.

Step 2: Prepare the Bag

Use a pair of scissors to cut several drainage holes in the bottom of a 30-gallon black plastic trash bag. Roll down the sides of the bag and fill about one-third of the way up with potting soil. Place the bag in an area of the garden that receives full sun.

Step 3: Plant the Potatoes

Dust the seed potatoes with agricultural sulfur to protect against fungal diseases. Plant the seed potatoes by burying them, eyes pointed up, about 2" deep in the soil. Water well.

Step 4: Add More Soil

When the potato plants get about 6" to 8" tall, it is time to add more soil and straw to the bag. Add enough soil so that just the top few leaves poke through the dirt. As the potato plants grow, continue to unroll the bag and add more soil. Keep the potatoes well watered but not soggy.

Step 5: Harvest the Potatoes

One clue that the potatoes are almost ready to harvest is that the leaves will yellow and the foliage will die back. At this point stop watering and leave the potatoes alone for two or three weeks so that their skins toughen up. To harvest, slit open the side of the bag to release the potatoes.

VERTICAL VEGETABLES: "Grow up" in a small garden

 A hanging shoe organizer....I found this article here: Instructables

Growing veg in a very small garden.