Jondo Almondo

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since Oct 06, 2018
NNSW Australia
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Recent posts by Jondo Almondo

I would call it carbon importing or cheating of emissions accountancy.

If you didn't request the wood, it would've likely ended up as mulch for highway landscaping growing natives on some very marginal land or municipally composted (thats what happens with dumped chips here).
I would argue that is a better use of the resource than growing fruit and cooking - purely from a carbon emissions perspective.
[Store-bought food can be incredibly carbon-intensive, but not if you eat simple wholefoods in sensible quantities]

There are so many soil amendments that can be utilised on your own property without needing imports.
A handful of compost can be extended almost infinitely with an aerated brew and growing your own mulch is not a difficult or lengthy endeavour.
There's also the matter of all the carbon and nitrogen flowing through you on a daily basis.

I prefer the zero budget strain of permaculture both for emissions reductions and the achievable model it sets for those in poverty, who may not even have power lines, let alone a source of free woodchips.
(I am assuming that climate change can only be addressed from the grass-roots, as the top-down approach seems to be incapable of making sufficient and timely change)
6 days ago
Thinning fruit can encourage further production and prolong the season.
It can also reduce fruit fly damage (both by removing old fruit as a vector and increasing the vigour of remaining fruit).
1 week ago
Hmmm, hommus-pesto sounds like a rich delight. (Pestus? No, it'll have to be Hommsto)

Thanks for the input, Dan.
Have you tried using whole peanuts or just PB? I'm not sure my cheap stick-blender could handle PB.
I've been considering tahini as a nut substitute, but I'm trying to go for the least packaging and processing.
I want to stress that macadamia adds something special (both taste and mouthfeel) and toasted bunya nuts are out of this world flavor.

While tree-nuts are universally expensive, they are ethical purchases being perennials with far less inputs than annual agriculture.

Theres lots of recipes using spinach, kale etc in place of basil.
I'm more curious to try a pure parsley pesto or a pure coriander one (which might be better as a sandwich spread or marinade than a pasta dish).

I can't stomach basil on its own and don't have many uses for it besides pesto.
I guess a lot of people can't grow basil through winter, but if you can it satisfies the hunger for rich pasta meals.

It surprised me that my basil seed all germinated in <1 day, even quicker than radishes.
Definitely a good instant-gratification plant to grow from seed and hardy enough to deal with poor quality potting mix and a scorching balcony or veranda.
1 week ago
I've been making many pounds of pesto this winter and freezing single serves.
Five months prior, I discovered that it is so simple and quick to grow basil from seed.

I love how easy and energy-efficient it is to reheat some leftover pasta with a glob of pesto and some fresh garden veg and serve, takes 1minute in the microwave - no prep.
I'd read that you can mix a lot of parsley and coriander into home-made pesto and sure enough, it bulks it out without affecting the strong taste of basil.
Holy basil and a little mexican coriander can also be added to the mix.

Substituting other nuts (I like toasted macadamia, bunya or walnut) saves you the money and packaging of buying pine nuts. [$60/kg is nuts]

Making it last longer:
1. Don't add cheese to the pesto - if you want cheese, add it when serving. (And use standard cheese, the Parmesan twang can be provided by citrus)
2. Don't skimp on the oil - when saturated with oil, it acts like a protective film.
3. If you need to add water (only sometimes needed) use boiled water.
4. Use a good amount of lemon or lime juice - the citrus twang is overpowering (even unpleasant) for a day or two, then the taste mellows enough to enhance the flavor, then it seems to accelerate the browning of the pesto for a few days (which looks bad), but then it seems to act like a preservative (presumably from the acetic acid).
[Vinegar probably works too]

This pesto stays good (if a little brown) in the fridge for at least 12 days and that is without an airtight container.
When I'm trying to make it last two weeks, I'll scald the spoon I'm using to scoop out a serving and try not to exhale towards an open dish of pesto.
Alternatively you could cover the pesto with half an inch of olive oil for longer preservation, but I think pesto is oily enough without being drowned in more.
1 week ago
I'll add my support for the hori hori gardening knife.
I have the same one as OP (thanks for suggesting it) and its still newish and razor sharp and I've never been so tool-smitten.
It's a perfect chop n drop tool for my needs (though a machete might be preferable in the tropics).
I like using it to knock all the leaves from large palm fronds (swoosh! - done in seconds), then using the saw to cut big bunches into strips for a broadleaf mulch. (Which surprisingly smell sweet like sugarcane)
The fronds get burned otherwise and are widely scorned as trash and/or snake habitat.
It's worth taking the time to observe ecological interactions with 'weeds'.

All the literature claims that weeds aren't a food-source for Australian native animals and that they routinely displace native plant species.
However if you sit and watch, you can see throngs of native animals eating the weeds, even preferring them to other foods and the displacement of ecosystems nearly always has human activity undermining the stability of established systems.

When plants crisscrossed the globe thousands of years ago, we call them 'naturalized' and they can become an integral part of ecosystems.
(Thinking of Nymphaea caerulea)

The other thing to note is that the global temperature is rising and the migration patterns of seed-carrying birds has been altered.
What was once an opportunistic tropical weed outside its natural range, brought by humans - is now a natural pioneer, brought by birds and germinated at optimal temperatures, providing food for subsequent generations on their now altered migration route.
(E.g. Schefflera actinophylla - umbrella tree)

I'm a fan of Lawton's term 'fast-tracked carbon pathways' as the weeds are often ready to become mulch before your green manure crop is three inches tall.
Weeds are often 30:1 ideal composters, which makes them chop n drop gold.
Weeds are usually very high in trace minerals, which is vital for soil biology.
Weeds like Paddys Lucerne have extremely high leaf-protein content, making them ideal forage for animals (or making a veggie soup more hearty).

There are 7 billion humans rearing 20 billion chickens, cultivating a trillion kilograms each of corn and rice, spending $30 billion on carcinogenic herbicides.
Every. Single. Year.

The real weeds are us and the fruits of our labours. Occupying every niche and displacing the wildlife.
The so-called 'weeds' are trying to clean up our mess and they are full of the food, fibre and medicine we could use to decarbonise our hubristic lifestyles that are fueled by outsourced environmental destruction.
2 weeks ago
I just got a pack of orach seed in the mail.
Geoff Lawton used it and praised its qualities for both his Zaytuna farm and his project in Jordan.

Both mediterranean and desert soils often have high salinity, so a tolerance for it would make sense.
Less oxalic acid than spinach is great news as it should be more palatable raw.

It's the same family as the Australian saltbush and is related to the Chenopodium.
2 weeks ago
Great and honest contributions.
I think this problem is even more common for your avg gardener than for permies.

One solution is fermentation. I've got heaps of radishes which no one wants to eat, but pickle them with a little carrot and you've got a probiotic that everyone hankers for.

It took me years to learn to make vegetarian imitations of meat meals that dyed-in-the-wool meat-eaters really enjoyed. A lot of spices and caramelization (and frying things off separately, then mixing at the last minute) seems to be key.

Fats will also smother bitter tastes and carry spices effectively - my family hates pak choi, but won't notice it wrapped in cheese and pastry.
No one will eat the basil until its turned into pesto, then it is cherished.

The main thing that makes me resigned to eating what I grow is a lack of transport, a disdain for money and disgust at the carbon footprint involved in food production, preparation and the inevitable waste.
Food and transport are the source of the majority of our emissions.
Eating from the garden is the single-most noble and environmental action you can take - and if you do, I'll think your a hero because its not always easy.
3 weeks ago
I live in a rural area where most folks are progressive.
Nearly everyone is familiar with permaculture (not far from the original Permaculture Research Institute) and shares the literature, but most are content with a kitchen garden and some citrus.
The village has a single shop and community hall.
Those who are communally minded congregate at the shop daily (ostensibly for coffee), where we give away seeds, plants and crates full of produce.
We also keep a table for free second-hand goods and a rotating library of books and movies.
People come to pick up their mail and are roped into helping out at the hall, where we have monthly music and weekly affordable meals-to-go.
Community gardens are in the local school, as most of the public land is subject to toxic railway runoff.

The next village over the hills (where I used to live) has a tight-knit community that celebrates and supports a very artistic and alternative population.
They are very politically active and provide community oversight of their natural resources.
When logging or water extraction businesses don't follow regulations, the community collectively walks in front of the trucks and refuse to let them pass.
They take notes and get photo evidence of wrongdoing and forward it to all the relevant authorities and the local environmental centers for independent prosecution.

Both communities mobilized against fracking when exploration licenses were granted a few years ago.
Information nights held, conversations had.
Every road was separately surveyed by the community for its opposition and each now bears signage 'Lock the Gate - no coal seam gas'.
Technically, we had no right to refuse entry.
But technically, fracking workers have no right to remove a padlock.

There's many dedicated protesters here and a local group of activist grandmothers who lock-on to excavators and gates in other towns where fracking was going ahead and they knit scarves while riot police remove them at the behest of governments and corporations.
One fracking operation was stopped in its tracks. The media started to question the 'social license' of mining companies and other towns in other states realized they could say No and ask for the help of these protest groups.
The community was strengthened by the effectiveness of its civil disobedience and the organizational infrastructure (FB groups, mailing lists, phone lists) has been transferable to new issues that require community opposition and dissent.

Such community feels like a last bastion against environmental destruction and I cherish it.
3 weeks ago