Lots of cleavers and a few dandelions in the compost pile
Don't forget to eat your greens! They provide valuable vitamins and if you grow them yourself, you can just add a few leaves at a time to each dish, or even add a leaf to your sandwich for a nice digestive stimulant. Here is a picture of some kind of purple mustard green with a few little cleaver plants coming up underneath. This picture was taken in early December! At least in the Pacific Northwest we can find a little bit of nutrition in our own backyards all year long.
We have been enjoying our home made beer- We actually grew the hops and our friend came over to brew and we cut the hops, measured and bloosh! right into the hot wort!
Here's a view into the hoop house- the last of calendula & tomato land. The calendulas are going to seed or are coming back from being cut way back, and I already have a few lettuce seeds sprouting up! I also have lots of chard seeds, onions, and pak choi to plant.
I went to see Wangari Mathaai in 2007 at the Paramount Theater in Seattle with a friend who served some time in the Peace Corps in Africa. I was so impressed with what she was able to accomplish with the help of women and plants (and a little money). She basically educated the women in plant propagation and set up small edible plant nurseries for each woman. She was required to raise the trees and also to teach the next woman how to do the same. They used grey water from cooking and washing to feed the plants, and eventually the trees got big enough to plant and harvest from. The women were able to harvest the fruits and provide more nutritious food for their families as well as sell the excess and buy other supplies for their household. It is such an easy plan, but it took time and education and lots of people. The trees also provided much needed shade for the people and animals of the household, and the soil started to become more workable between the trees.
Seriously, she was a genius and her Noble Prize was much deserved! After the speech, in the afterglow of good will that happens after a great person has moved you, we all were just smiling at each other with hope. The woman next to me told me that her mom had been one of the recipients of some of those trees! Wangari Maathai had literally changed her life. She felt like her family had been raised up from this movement, and that was the reason she was able to go to school in the US. It was amazing to be in the presence of such hope and greatness. I am eternally grateful for her work. May she rest in peace and may we continue with the forward thinking projects that would make her proud!
I am off to the Seattle Urban Ag Business Forum (today at City Hall from 4-6) to see what new policies and opportunities for support with growing food in the city.
Sorry for the late notice (It starts in a few hours), but I will take notes and update the blog later.
Hope to see you there.
Well, I went to the Ag Business Forum and learned a few things from each of the speakers... I saw a bunch of urban farm friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and met a few more at the event. It was great to see city officials thinking about this urban agriculture trend as a business trend and not just some dirty hippies! It seems like they have lots of enthusiasm for helping facilitate teaching kids about food, bringing healthy food to corner stores, helping with business plans and even permitting issues pertaining to growing food on private or City/ Parks property.
I am grateful for the effort and thought that went into the forum and hope the City of Seattle (and Richard Conlin) will continue to support programs that promote food security. I look forward to finding out what this group of activist- business owners & policy makers can do together to help more people get access to great fresh food from their own backyards!
I came home and opened my email from Rodale Reporting on their 30 year Farm Systems Trial. They have run 4-5 different farms with the same food, but different inputs. Two completely organic, one with manure & the other legume compost, a conventional with chemical based fertilizers and gmo crops, and one more recent no-till project. Check out the results!
Here is a video explanation of making Compost Tea from Comfrey plants. You can put the leaves in a bucket to ferment for up to 2 weeks, then dilute the mixture 1 part fert to 4 parts water (you can guess). I just dip my watering can in and scoop some up then add water to the top of the can. It does get quite funky, and you want to use it quickly so mosquitoes don't hatch in the standing water. If they are unwieldy and you have more than you need for the fertilizer, you can cut the leaves and use them as mulch (just put the leaves on the ground to dry). Be careful not to let them root at the joining stems or you will have extra plants soon enough.
I know the quality of the video is not the best and I need to speak louder; I was using a tripod and since I cut the plant down to talk about it, I couldn't do a re-take!
I hope to make more videos about growing and making products from herbs soon, so subscribe to my channel on youtube if you would like to learn more. Enjoy!