Saturday, January 17, 2015

A look at the British past

I have been looking at the past some to get some insight into what is possible for the future.
The British have a long history of vegetable gardening, as several other nations do.
Few seem to remember the role these gardens and small farms playing in WWII.
I have found a series of videos that the BBC made that give some insight into this period and the importance of food production. It is also a time where chemicals were just being introduced to the farm. At the same time due to limited resources farmers had to reach back in time and use animal power and other technology that had recently been discarded.

Wartime Farm Part 1 of 8

Wartime Farm Part 2 of 8

Wartime Farm Episode 3 of 8

Wartime Farm Episode 4 of 8

Wartime Farm Part 5 of 8

Wartime Farm Part 6 of 8

Wartime Farm Part 7 of 8

Wartime Farm Part 8 of 8

Thursday, January 15, 2015

two interesting videos

I would like to suggest two YouTube videos.

The first one is called "Gardeners World, The Vegetable Kingdom"
I am suggesting this because is show a culture of vegetable gardening in the UK that goes back generations. Over 90 percent of people who garden in the UK grow some type of vegetable!

The second video I would like to suggest comes from the Corbett Report which is a independen listener-supported alternative news source.
The video is call "Solutions: Guerrilla Gardening"

What both show is that producing ones own food is not a lost art and in some cases is becoming mainstream.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

some lessons learned in 2014

Lessons learn in 2014

Every year I learn new things about raising plants. This year was not different. I had to redo all my Jerusalem artichoke beds due to a type of sunflower moth. Talking to an insect specialist it is likely a insect that feeds of the root of wild sunflowers in my area. Jerusalem artichokes are native to my area and related to sunflowers. So after many years of growing chokes I now have a pest problem. I will likely take care of the issue with predatory nematodes or fungus treatments in July and August. That is the likely time when the eggs were laid on the chokes.

I am also having an issue storing the chokes. They are like some of my other plants that are very high in water. If I was storing them for food I really need to store them in a cold area in sand of something. For they tend to mold very easily. I left most of my root stock in very large pots outside to winter over. I will likely try to dust with sulfur and put in a plastic grocery bag full of shavings next year. It is one thing to grow plants for food it is quite another to store it till you need it. The best place to store chokes is in the ground since they winter over in my area.

I have some small potatoes that I found in one of my pots that had herbs. I had thought those potatoes died out over two years ago. The pot had thyme that died out last winter. When I cleaned out the pot this fall to plant garlic I found the potatoes. It is January 2015 and the potatoes have sprouted. I will have to plant them in pots this weekend if I wish to keep them. I will likely baby them through the next month or so since I really want to keep a potato that will overwinter in my area.

My ground nuts I would consider a worthwhile crop now. I finally got enough to share with some people. I replanted chokes and ground nuts together in pots. I am hoping the ground nut vines will grow up the chokes. Ground nuts provide nitrogen and will hopefully reduce the sunflower moth attacks on the chokes. The nice thing about these two crops is that I can wait up to three years to harvest the roots and replant them. So they are a storable food source for me and my animals, provided I deal with the sunflower moths.

Another good crop to winter over are the garlics and onion families. I dug up my French grey shallots and replanted them this year. I also planted my garlic and purchased some new types. I could have planted green onions and long day onions in the fall and they would have wintered over. I have done this in the past. But time and money did not allow it this year. My garlic chives did survive this year so if they make it through the winter I will be transplanting these to make new larger containers of them. As a general rule I like to have at least two containers of any one plant that will overwinter. Sometimes one dies and the other makes it through the hard winter.

Well that is all for now. I am planning for 2015 and ordering seeds. I will try to be better with updating this blog.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Plants that can supplement protein levels over a extended growing period.

It has been some time since I added a post to this blog.
In order to have a balance diet one needs protein.

You need protein for your muscles, bones, and the rest of your body. Exactly how much you need changes with age:
According to WebMD the following levels of protein are required.
Babies need about 10 grams a day.
School-age kids need 19-34 grams a day.
Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
Adult women need about 46 grams a day (71 grams, if pregnant or breastfeeding)

You should get at least 10% of your daily calories, but not more than 35%, from protein, according to the Institute of Medicine.

Most vegetable protein comes from seeds, nuts, and legumes. However, many of these are not available until harvest time and must be stored for the year. There are plants that can be grown and harvested over an extended period that can help supplement protein. Unfortunately, few provide all the amino acids required. Also there can be an issue with oxalate levels. Even with these disadvantages they should still be included as possible sources of protein.

(One cup) 70 calories, 0g fat, 4g protein, 10g carbs, 5 g fiber

Collard greens
(One Cup) 25 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 5g carbs, 3g fiber

Turnip greens
(One Cup) 20 calories, .1g fat, 1.2g of protein, 4.4g of carbohydrates and 3.5g fiber

Swiss Chard
(One Cup) 7 calories, 0.7 protein, 0.07 fat, 0.6 fiber and 1.4 g carbs.

(One Cup) 7 calories, 0.12g Fat, 0.86g Protein, 1.09g Carbs., 4.3 Fiber

Mustard greens
(One Cup) 15 Calories, 0.1 g Fat , 1.5g Protein, 2.7 g Carbs., 1.8g Fiber

(One Cup) 30 Calories, 0g Fat, 2g Protein, 6g Carbs., 2g Fiber

(One Cup) 22 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 5g carbs, 2g fiber

Bok Choy
(One Cup) 9 calories, less than 1g fat, 1g protein, 2 g carbs, 1 g fiber

(One Cup) 4 calories, 0g fat,  1g protein, 0g carbs, 0g fiber

pea shoots
(one cup) 30 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 6g carbs, 2g fiber

sweet potato vines
(one cup) 22 calories, 0.2g fat, 1.5g protein, 4.7g carbs, 1.2g fiber

yardlong beans
(one cup) 49 calories, 0g fat, 3g protein, 10g carbs, 0g fiber

green beans
(one cup) 34 calories, 0.13g fat, 2g protein, 7.8g carbs, 3.7g fiber

artichoke hearts
(one cup) 116 calories, 3.96g fat, 5.83g protein, 18.81 carbs, 9g fiber

Brussels sprouts
(one cup) 38 calories, 0.26g fat, 2.97g protein, 7.88 carbs, 3.3g fiber

(one cup) 31 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 7g carbs, 3g fiber

New Zealand spinach
(one cup) 8 calories, 0g fat, 1g protein, 1g carbs, 0g fiber

(one cup) 36 calories, 0g fat, 2g protein, 8g carbs, 5g fiber

Lambs quarters
(one cup) 58 calories, 1g fat, 6g protein, 9g carbs, 4g fiber


Chart of oxalate levels in foods. This is an issue for formation of kidney stones.

This study clearly shows that boiling greens high in oxalate significantly reduces the soluble oxalate levels.
J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Apr 20;53(8):3027-30.
Effect of different cooking methods on vegetable oxalate content.
Chai W1, Liebman M.


Approximately 75% of all kidney stones are composed primarily of calcium oxalate, and hyperoxaluria is a primary risk factor for this disorder. Nine types of raw and cooked vegetables were analyzed for oxalate using an enzymatic method. There was a high proportion of water-soluble oxalate in most of the tested raw vegetables. Boiling markedly reduced soluble oxalate content by 30-87% and was more effective than steaming (5-53%) and baking (used only for potatoes, no oxalate loss). An assessment of the oxalate content of cooking water used for boiling and steaming revealed an approximately 100% recovery of oxalate losses. The losses of insoluble oxalate during cooking varied greatly, ranging from 0 to 74%. Because soluble sources of oxalate appear to be better absorbed than insoluble sources, employing cooking methods that significantly reduce soluble oxalate may be an effective strategy for decreasing oxaluria in individuals predisposed to the development of kidney stones.