Archives for June 2014

Sumac, Water Hyacinth, Sweet Potato Vine for Food YCH #58

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SUMAC:

     I remember a while back reading about a plant that tasted like lemons.  I knew it wasn’t a mint or lemon balm.  But I knew I had read about a substitute for lemons.  I am in zone 8.  Maybe I could raise a small lemon tree (along with my lime and kumquats); but how many lemons could I get from that?  Not enough.  So I set out to find a lemony plant for seasoning and lemonade!  Now the only sumac I have heard of is poison sumac;  eeek – related to poison ivy.  Being highly allergic to poison ivy I was very skeptical.  But after a little Google  searching, I came upon Green Dean’s site (You know “Eat The Weeds”).  He has a wonderful video on sumac.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPH-IDwVmrM

http://www.motherearthliving.com/health-and-wellness/natural-healing-snack-on-sumac-berries.aspx#axzz35guV9vTG

http://www.aihd.ku.edu/foods/smooth_sumac.html

 

  But the fun doesn’t stop there.  Sumac is actually used as a seasoning in Middle Eastern foods. 

Sumac can also be used in place of candle wax for smokeless candles, as a dye and tanning agent, to make smoke in a beekeepers smoker.

It also has medicinal properties

And miscellaneous uses

Eating Sweet Potato Leaves and Vines:

Are you kidding me?  Nope, When we lived in Hawaii we made a nice salad.  I picked the shoots and dropped them in boiling water for a few seconds.  Then plunged them in cold water.  We then mixed them with tomato, sweet onion (like Georgia Vidalia or Maui Sweet Onion) and a little Patis (fermented fish seasoning – really!)

http://foodtech.uonbi.ac.ke/node/1164

 

 http://marcsala.blogspot.com/2006/06/unusual-greens-part-3.html

 

Water Hyacinth:

Invasive plant that destroys Florida’s waterways.  But I will talk about easy ways to control it and use it as a great benefit!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1kkn5Sz4MI

 

 

 

 

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Azolla, Biofertilisers, Homestead Updates YCH#57

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  • I have been doing a lot of reading about bio fertilizers and am very impressed with the many uses of azolla.
  • Azolla is a fresh water fern that is one of the fastest growing plants in the world.
  • Azolla can double it’s biomass in 2 days.
  • It has a symbiotic relationship with a cyanobacterium (blue green algae) called Anabaena.  Oxygen is poisonous to cyanobacteria.  Within it’s leaves cyanobacteria is able to live in an oxygen free environment.  Anabaena in turn sequesters nitrogen from the atmosphere which is then available to Azolla for growth.  It can then live without soil.
  • The oldest fossils are nearly 70 million years old.  This would have been during the time of the dinosaurs. This makes it one of the oldest plants with the longest marriage on earth.
  • Azolla grows in the water and is able to get nitrogen from the air instead of the soil.
  • This means it can produce bio fertilizer, livestock feed, food, biofuel and sequester large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere.

 

 

I discuss this in detail on the podcast.

A lot is going on around here:  the garden is finally getting going.

I talk about what I planted in my garden and some things I am trying out in the fields.

Comfrey as fertilizer.  Compost tea.

Rotational grazing is going very well with the sheep and goats.

We have a new male goat and I can hardly wait for him to breed with the girls.

The goats and their antics (who needs tv)

The baby sheep are growing up fast and still look great.

We are bottle feeding the little ram and how we did it.

Timber rattler and “Guard Pig”.

Ideas an things we have done to get more water to the plants; especially the ones way out there in the fields.

Best way we have found for sprouting seed.  We went from 20 to 30% viability to 90 to 100.

Can 3 year old mushroom spawn still be viable?

Ideas and changes for the podcast.

Book review:  “Remind Yourself”  by Jim Samuels

 

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