I like butternuts as dual-purpose squash. I used to grow Zucchetta Rampicante, but now I use Bigger Better Butternuts. The flavor is similar between the two, but BBB keeps longer. (ZR keeps well into April if not damaged, but BBB can keep over a year and into December.)
If you plan to save seeds from this variety, be aware that the pods are definite "soakers". In the drying-down stage they will absorb water like a sponge, and hold it for an impressively long time. This increases the risk of sprouting and mold. If you're in an area with damp autumns, you'll probably need to pick pods as soon as they mature, and bring them inside to finish drying.
I suspect that this trait could be useful in dry areas. Instead of shelling the pods meant for seed, clip them into 1-seed sections and plant them like that. The pod will soak up any water and act as a tiny reservoir. You could probably even crush the empty pods and add them to the soil near other kinds of seeds to get the same effect.
If all you want is to keep it going, you don't need to harvest at all. Left in the ground, the garlic will continue to grow and multiply as clumps, becoming so dense that it chokes out weeds on its own.
I had that happen. One year I had some health problems and couldn't keep the garlic patch weeded. When harvest time came, the weeds were so thick and my stamina so limited, that I just wrote the patch off as a lost cause.
About 3 years later, I decided that section would work well as an apple/berry patch. The weeds around the perimeter were tall enough that I had assumed the entire area would need reclaimed. To my astonishment, the weeds around the perimeter were the only weeds that survived. The rest of the area was covered in a thick carpet of garlic plants! The bulbs themselves were so small they looked like scallions, but the plants didn't seem to care. I dug up part of a clump to use as green garlic, but left the rest alone. Later that year they formed so many scapes that I was able to use scapes in place of normal garlic all year long!
Last fall I decided to do this deliberately. I planted garlic under some berry bushes and fruit trees I had just planted, with no intention of digging the garlic up. I'm hoping it fills in the space and supplies lots of garlic scapes, while otherwise tending itself. I call it "feral garlic".
So, if harvesting is going to be too much of a burden and you just want the garlic to survive, feel free to leave it alone. Chances are, it'll do just fine.
For anything else, given the time and calories a bike generator requires, I think it might be more efficient to figure out how to do the job without electricity.
Depends on both the task and the person. I have strong legs but bad shoulders. There are a lot of tasks I wish I could convert to pedal power. Some could, theoretically, be run off the bike directly, with the right adapters. But if you don't have the adapters, using the bike to charge a battery might be a workable second-best.
I don't know about plant-based, but I have heard of people coating their skin with a thin layer of mud or clay. This accomplished 3 things: It helped keep them cool in hot weather, it protected their skin from the sun, and it made it harder for biting insects to get through. Not impossible, mind you. Just harder.
I don't recommend doing that in public these days. Especially if you are a Caucasian person and the mud is dark! But if you're on your own, on your own property, it might be an option.
I like cloaks for when the temperature is too hot to wear a coat, but too cold to go without one. I even used to keep one near my desk when telecommuting. You can adjust the drape of the cloak to suit the temperature a lot more easily than you can with a coat.
I think another promising inroad might be with animal feed. I know when I give my critters a little food-grade charcoal every day, their poop doesn't stink nearly as bad. It's especially noticeable with my two cats, who love to hold "competitive pooping" marathons. If they don't have charcoal for a few days, the stench is eye-watering! It doesn't matter how recently their litter was changed, nothing will contain that smell! But a tiny pinch of charcoal, mixed in with their squishy food, and suddenly there's no smell anymore.
What if that was the selling point? With more suburban areas expanding into farm country, controlling odors can go a long way toward easing neighborly tension. And the benefits it would have on soil could be presented as a bonus.
Do you have a space where you could grow your own beans? If so, I recommend the variety "Beefy Resilient Grex". It has an unusual flavor, 100% umami. But it's also the only bean I've tried that didn't cause gas.
I had a problem years ago with the majority of my sweat glands not working. I'm still not sure what caused it, but oil cleansing fixed it.
Mix 3 parts olive or other skin-friendly oil with 1 part castor bean oil. The castor bean oil is usually found in the "laxatives" section of the store. Take that as a hint not to ingest it unless you'll be near a bathroom for a while!
Rube the oil mixture over your skin. Massage it well, then let it sit for about 20 minutes. Shower as usual.
(Some sources say to avoid using soap to wash the excess oil away, but that's usually when dealing with an acne problem, because soap dries out the skin. Personally, I found that if I didn't use soap, the oil left a thick residue over everything in the shower, including enough to clog the drain. Use your own judgement here.)
For clearing clogged pores, you'll probably only need to do this once or twice. Be aware that if the pores have been clogged for a long time, your body may respond by pushing as much stuff as it can through the suddenly opened pores, to the point where you feel like setting up an oil well on your skin. This will ease up after a while, but that first day can be awkward. I recommend timing it so you'll be at home for a day or two after the oil cleansing, and keep some tissues or a cloth handy to mop up whatever comes out of your skin.
I have a garlic patch that was neglected for a few years due to medical issues. I assumed it died. Then last year when I went to plant a tree in that area, I discovered that the garlic had not only survived, it thrived! The individual bulbs were so tiny they looked like scallions, but the plants were packed so tightly together that they choked out all the weeds. And the patch produced so many scapes, I was able to use those in place of regular garlic for most of the year. I still have some dried scapes left. I run them through a grinder whenever I need garlic powder.
I'm working on expanding this idea. Last fall I planted 5 different varieties of garlic with the intent of leaving them to go feral. We'll see if it works!
I use Beefy Resilient beans for everything beany these days. It has a flavor that's 100% umami. In savory recipes, it really does taste like beef. In sweet recipes, it gives the dish a depth and richness, without altering the topnote flavors. Similar to what you'd get with adding whey or almond milk.
I'm working on developing a strain that can be machine harvested so it can be grown on a larger scale, but as far as I know, right now the only way they're sold is as garden seed.
Another reason I prefer this variety is that it's easier to digest. It's the only bean I know of that doesn't cause gas!
Andre Herrera wrote:I have a friend who makes this delicious black bean chocolate cake for breakfast.. Mind you he uses the canned black beans, so I’m not sure if this is something that can be donde with homegrown beans.. I don’s see why not.. I gotta ask him for the recipe! I’ll post it here
In theory, using the largest as seed stock will eventually result in a higher percentage of large ones.
But, garlic plants tend to be clones. Which means there probably isn't much genetic variability between plants, except for the occasional sport or mutation. You might get better results by comparing the soil and growing conditions the different sizes were pulled from, and trying to mimic whatever made the biggest bulbs.
I recently decided to go a different direction entirely, after I found a neglected patch of garlic that had gone feral and was doing just fine that way. It produced enough scapes that I was able to use those in place of regular garlic for most of the year. I'm hoping to expand on that idea a little more this year, I like food that doesn't need tending!
Mine will eat any type of legume, as long as it's cooked. They tend to turn up their noses at raw, dry split peas, or dry lentils. But, the guy at the feed store swears that most chickens love those, so who knows? Each flock seems to develop their own preferences.
Beans such as kidney, pinto, or lima definitely need to be cooked, soaked, or sprouted to get rid of the naturally-occurring toxin they contain. I have no idea if fermenting would render them safe.
Sunflower seeds might be another chicken-safe high-protein treat you could grow.
Kelly Pakes wrote:Hi Susan. I was interested to read about the Beefy Resilient Beans - I have never heard of them and have never grown a mixed bean like that before. They sounds delicious. Even though they have a wide range of appearance, they taste the same?
I found some and ordered them to try just for fun. As I understand it, I don't have to worry about them crossing with the purple pole beans I normally grow? Or the dried pole bean to grow in corn that I also ordered on impulse while I was on the resilient seeds website?
There is a chance they'll cross, but it's a very, very small chance.
I don't know of any program like that per se, but I do know a few people who bought land from a logging company after they were done cutting. The land always needed a LOT of cleanup, but was at a very low price because the company didn't want to clean it up themselves.
It might be worth checking with logging companies in your area to see if they have properties like that that they're hoping to get rid of.
I don't remember the details on what type of plants work best over a septic field, but it seems like, if you want to minimize digging, perennial crops might be a better option. Personally, I'd be inclined to go with white clover, alfalfa, perennial grains of some kind, perennial flax, and some kind of perennial green leafy things like sorrel.
I don't have a photo handy, but at one point I was experimenting with something similar. Mine was just a 1/2in PVC pipe zip-tied to a long-handled weeding fork. The idea was to stick the fork in the ground, tilt it, then drop the seed in the resulting gap. It didn't quite make a big enough gap, but I had so many other projects going that I never pursued it further.
The bend in the hoe you used is far enough that I'd find it hard to use, but if it works for you then awesome!
I might try something different like an ice-chopper. It looks like a hoe, but the blade is in line with the handle instead of at an angle. That should make a bigger gap in the soil.
Ellendra Nauriel wrote:I'm fond of purslane. It works well as a lemon substitute in a lot of dishes.
I love purslane, but is it perennial in your climate? I would find that very surprising, as it dies in winter here, and my winters are much milder. Or do you count on it self seeding? I don't yet have enough experience with purslane to know how well it self seeds for me. It didn't last year, but that was also my first year ever growing it.
I know it comes back every year, no matter what anyone does to it. Some of the plants in the spring are too big and hearty compared to the ones starting from seed, so I assume those are regrowing from dormant roots. I haven't pulled any up to really study, though.
Casie Becker wrote:Even with a pressure canner you are not supposed to can pureed pumpkin or refried beans. The food is too dense to be sure the center gets high enough for safety. Is it possible for that to happen when canning whole beans? It hasn't come up for me as I store my beans dry.
If it was happening with whole beans, you'd be more in danger of botulism than bean toxins. And no canning book would be reckless enough to recommend it. Whole beans have enough space between them to allow liquid to circulate, which allows the heat to reach where it needs. If you think your pressure canner isn't getting the beans hot enough to destroy the toxin, then you need to get it checked, because the bean toxin is easier to destroy than botulism spores. And botulism will kill you a lot faster.
Mine go crazy over cooked beans. Just soak and simmer as if you were making them for yourself, but don't add salt or other seasonings. I sometimes add zucchini, assorted grains, freezer-burned fruits or veggies, and anything pantry bugs have gotten into. It takes a while for the beans to cook, so I tend to make a huge batch and then freeze it in convenient size containers.
My chickens won't eat raw zucchini, and they're not too keen on cucumbers either. But they'll eat anything if it's cooked in with the beans.
I use a tooth powder made from dried comfrey root, baking soda, powdered charcoal, and ground cloves. Before I started using it, one of my fillings had a grey line around it where the tooth was deteriorating. After about 5 months the grey line was gone. I'm told it would work better if I swished the comfrey mix in my mouth like mouthwash for 20 minutes a day, but that's not going to happen. I have also been told my teeth would recalcify faster if I added ground eggshells to my diet, but I haven't done that yet.
As it is, this seems to be working.
There is a lot of debate over how toxic comfrey really is. I wouldn't go eating comfrey salads on a regular basis, but there are people who do. If you decide, after researching, that you're not comfortable using comfrey in your mouth, look for a plant called oysterleaf. It has the same healing compound, allantoin, but at a lower concentration, and without the toxic alkaloids comfrey has. It is actually sold as a salad green in some places.
If using cooked starches, you'll need a way to introduce the exact microbes you want to ferment with. You can buy starter cultures, or take some from a batch already fermented, but any that were in the mix before it was cooked will be killed off by the cooking process.
When making wine, I prefer to cook the fruit first. It gives me better control over the result. And, I tend to use unusual fruits, like squash, which work better if softened by cooking.
I have no idea which of these were native, but off the top of my head:
Yucca (soap from the root)
Horse Chestnut (laundry soap from the nuts)
Comfrey (dried powdered root plus fine-ground charcoal makes a good tooth powder, which is easier to make than toothpaste)
Soapwort (soap/shampoo made from the above-ground parts)
Jewelweed (gel-like lotion, similar to aloe)
Velvetleaf (also called "butterprint", makes a good tissue)
The list above is entirely from memory, so please double-check before relying on it.
Anne Miller wrote:A lot of folks feel that digging up plants when they find them is okay.
I have had a lot of my rare Thompson Yucca taken from my West texas property,
There is nothing I can do. I have "no trespassing" signs.
Is there a face on those signs?
It sounds weird, but study after study has shown that people are more likely to obey a sign if the sign has a face on it. Psychologists think it's because the primitive part of the brain can't distinguish between a real face and a fake one, so it thinks the face is really watching them. Who knows if that's the real reason? But, whatever the reason is, a sign with a face on it is more likely to be obeyed.
Start by designing the house. Go heavy on the insulation and waterproofing. Maybe even look into heat exchangers for the ventilation system. Position outlets so they don't create a hole in the insulation. Run the plumbing in such a way that hot water going down the drain gives back at least part of its heat before it really leaves the house (not sure I'm phrasing that the right way). Add lots of thermal mass to help keep things warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Have multiple storage areas for foods, keeping in mind that some need slightly different storage conditions. Make sure you have a few difference ways to cook, in case one type of fuel becomes hard to get. If you can develop a fuel source on your own property, even better. The standard is wood, but something like corn cobs would also work. More fuel options than I can summarize, really.
Try to position things with an eye toward efficiency and safety. An example would be adding a trellis or grow-tunnel between the house and the barn, so that it shelters the walkway in bad weather. Or positioning the fridge so that it takes fewer steps to bring in groceries.
When deciding what foods to produce for yourself, there are lots of factors to consider, and price is only one of them. Eggs are a good example. In my area, eggs are cheap, when they're available. But they're also one of the first things to sell out if anything happens, and they're a huge part of my family's diet, so I feel better having my own chickens. Many times in the last two years, those chickens kept us supplied when eggs were nowhere to be found in the stores. If you choose the right breed, chickens can raise their own replacements, with any extras being used for meat. Choose a breed that fits your climate, temperament, and farming style.
The same factors apply to plants. Herbs, spices, and greens are probably a good start, since they can be both expensive and easy to grow. But by weight, the bulk of your food is probably going to be carbohydrates, which means things like potatoes, squash, carrots, etc. Those can be cheap, when they're available, but growing your own still helps. Dry beans and grains can take a lot of room for the amount harvested, but they're easy to store.
I wish I had a formula on what order to prioritize everything in. But there are too many factors to consider, and everyone is a little different. The only thing that's certain is that the more you're able to provide for yourself, the less things like inflation will hurt you.