Morfydd St. Clair

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since Feb 09, 2015
Hamburg, Germany
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Recent posts by Morfydd St. Clair

Jumping in late, but furoshiki is a quick way to make a bag from a square of cloth.  I just quickly googled it and this site has a good diagram:

Obviously don't do this with produce that will leak, like red currants.  For that matter, don't trust red currants to a plastic bag (or even two) either.  Guess how I know!
1 week ago
I bought some last year from this German site:

Worried that they would get out of control (and that the slugs would go after them) I put them in a planter.  I don't know whether it was the heat wave or the slugs, but they completely disappeared.  I want to try them again, but may start them in copper rings or something.
1 week ago
They're popular here as an ornamental - there's actually a volunteer in the middle of my closed-off street that I nibble from on my way to work.  WebMD says children shouldn't have it: so I should be more discreet in the future as there's a daycare directly opposite.  

The fruit is sour (which I like) but the seeds are bitter.  So I just crush the fruit with my tongue and swallow the seeds whole.  Chewing makes bitter.
1 month ago
Nina Jay said:  "On the topic of being an introvert at the market place: it can feel scary at first. Me and my husband are both introverts, but we manage We manage it about once a month, that is. To do it every day is a job for an extrovert, I think."

I definitely like the advice to know the details well in advance!  Starting the day well-organized and feeling on top of things can only help.

I know that if I have a canned speech and/or set of responses to FAQs, I can fake extroversion really well.  First, because I can start with them, and then move on to more individualized outreach.  Second, I can put myself into kind of a role - in your case, of "farmer", or "educator", etc.  Then I'm less worried about what the person thinks of *me* and can more objectively work on improving the role, and thus the outreach.  (Yes, there are authenticity issues that could arise - ymmv.)

So maybe having a factsheet available to give out + in your head, about your farm, about how you're growing, about specific interesting produce... could help give you a few prompts + starter confidence?
2 months ago
I grow greens as per the book Michelle cited.  I try to start one mixed tray and one pea tray per day, for salads and adding to cooked dishes.  I started out just using up old, likely spent, seed packets (which germinated much better than I had expected), and now buy in more bulk from a wildlife feed store (  It's fun and takes very little time once you're set up.

Oh, and since the specific question was about which seeds to grow:  I like peas as they taste good and are sturdy enough to hold up to cooking (and they'll regrow from cutting once or twice).  The book recommends black-hulled sunflowers - I got the stripey kind and they taste... off somehow, so I can't recommend.  The book also talks a lot about certain greens being very spicy - I haven't gotten anything but a mild tang from any of my seeds, so I wouldn't worry about that.
3 months ago
Thank you, Dean!

I don't water my rhubarb - it's really wet here year-round.  So any asparagus will have to live with wet feet anyway.

We do have harsh winters, with rhubarb dieback starting in September.  (I should go weed my rhubarb as they're no longer shading everything else out.)  Last time I divided, I definitely didn't see a single mass of roots, but it's a good point that they could outcompete asparagus.

I think I'll try it anyway (because why not?) and also put crowns in a bed a little north that used to be a compost heap.  You would think that this would be perfect for asparagus, so I've tried there before.  It... grows nettles really well.

Your rhubarb story is awesome.  Keep watering!
3 months ago
Along these lines, I have what I think is a bright idea but... probably isn't.

In my garden, I inherited a small rhubarb patch.  It's nice loose soil, elevated a bit from the soggy clay that is the rest of the garden.  Can I interplant asparagus with rhubarb?

Why I think it would work:
--Rhubarb is pretty short; asparagus is tall.  They shouldn't really be competing with each other.
--They seem to like similar soil conditions and amendments.
--As perennials, they'd be happy with mostly undisturbed roots together.
--I have to divide the rhubarb this winter anyway, so putting in asparagus crowns while I'm digging would be easy.  (I am lazy.)

Why I have doubts:
--They'd be jostling each other in early spring, and asparagus would have to get tall before the rhubarb forms a canopy.
--I would have to divide the rhubarb every few years.*  Can asparagus take that kind of regular disturbance?
--No one else is doing this.  What am I missing?

*Or just pull/kill extras, I guess.  I've divided them already and have happy healthy rhubarb all over the garden, so I'm not in deep need of more plants, just allowing the ones there some breathing room.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
3 months ago
So my German "Wild plants and animals" book has only one likely candidate, here super loosely translated:

"Lysimachia vulgaris

50-150 cm. 1-1.5 cm wide flowers in a sparsely branched panicle; crown of bloom bare, comprised of red-spangled calyx leaves. Blooms June to August. Stems indistinctly angular, short haired; Leaves are opposite or in whorls of 3-4, they are ovate-oblong, 14 cm long, dotted.

In broken and rolling forests, on banks, in trenches and bogs.

The pollination is done by insects. Closely related to the pennywort."

PFAF says the leaves are marginally edible - that's my experiment for next weekend!
6 months ago
Nifty!  I only put my lonicera in winter before last ( Wojtek, Blue Velvet, and Duet from ) and they haven't fruited yet.  At least they're still alive, which is tricky in their boggy/shady area.  It's ok, I'm drowning in currants right now anyway.

How do you plan to use the honeyberries, aside from eaten fresh?  Is there a recipe available for the liqueur?
6 months ago

Daron Williams wrote:Got another plant ID for you all. This has shown up in a couple spots on my property - not sure what it is. Anyone know what it is?

Ironically, I was thinking all weekend of posting precisely that plant!

In the book "Botany in a Day", I found two matches, both with the common name loosestrife.  But one has 5 sepals/petals/stamen and the other has the squarish stem and leaves in sets of 4, but only 4 petals.  Argh.

(I'm in N Germany, while BiaD is North America-based.  I was thinking that perhaps I just had some European ur-loosetrife - maybe not. :) )
6 months ago