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Reenie Boeckmann (guest) 04 Oct 2010 13:14
in discussion Connect with people! / Neighbor to neighbor » Permaculture

Thanks Sarah.

by Reenie Boeckmann (guest), 04 Oct 2010 13:14

Zucchini Hummus

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c coarsely chopped zucchini
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp salt
ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency is reached. Serves 4.

Per serving: 290 calories, 16 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 9 g. protein, 27 g. carbs, 5 g. fiber, 300 mg. sodium.

Zucchini Hummus by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 01 Sep 2010 16:52

2 c. beets, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 qts. water or stock
1 garlic clove, crushed or minced
1 medium onion or 2 leeks, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 c. potatoes, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red cabbage, shredded (I find this to be optional)
2 Tbsp. tomato puree
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
black pepper
sour cream, grated cucumber (optional), parsley

In a large covered pot, simmer beets for 20 minutes in the water or stock. Meanwhile, saute garlic, onions, carrots, and potatoes in olive oil until onion is tender. Add onion mixture to the beets, along with the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Simmer the soup for an additional hour. Serve hot or cold, garnished with a dollop of sour cream, cucumber, and parsley.

Serves 8

Fun fact: Did you know you can eat beet leaves just like spinach?

Here is a permaculture forum out of Missoula (they are a zone 5-6, we are zone 4)—they might be able to help:

You could also try contacting Jean Duncan of the Sundog Ecovillage, east of Missoula: moc.anatnom|erialcnaej#moc.anatnom|erialcnaej

Re: Permaculture by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 24 Aug 2010 16:22

Sage Pesto (a great dressing for roasted potatoes)

1+ cup walnuts, pine nuts, or other type nut
generous handful bouquet of destemmed sage
3 cloves of garlic, whole
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
some parsley, to taste
salt, to taste

Blend in a blender. If adding to potatoes, add pesto to potatoes in an oiled, warm frying pan and cook until warm.

Spring Rolls

Filling can be almost anything crisp and fresh — try thinly chopped carrots, cabbage, etc. and add fresh herbs like mint and cilantro. For the filling, mix chosen ingredients. Use cellophane noodle wraps — briefly immerse in hot water first — put ingredients in bottom one third of wrap, then wrap like a burrito. For a sauce, try mixing salt, chopped peppers, fish sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, etc.

Reenie Boeckmann (guest) 18 Aug 2010 12:32
in discussion Connect with people! / Neighbor to neighbor » Permaculture

Anyone have experience in making permaculture work in our zone?

Permaculture by Reenie Boeckmann (guest), 18 Aug 2010 12:32

Serves 6

1/2 cup smooth almond butter
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp. chili-garlic sauce (or to taste)
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
8 oz. whole wheat fettuccine (or other type of pasta)
12 oz. fresh vegetable stir fry blend (such as carrots, broccoli, snow peas, cabbage, etc.)

Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond butter, lime juice, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, and ginger. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until not quite tender. Cook veggies until not quite tender. Add the vegetables to the pasta and cook until the pasta are just tender. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Rinse the pasta and veggies in cold water. Stir the reserved cooking water into the almond sauce, then add the pasta and veggies. Toss well to coat. Serve at room temp. or chilled.

2 jalapeno chilies, halved lengthwise, seeded and chopped
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk

Melt butter in a 3-4 qt. stock pot over medium heat. Add jalapenos, carrots, onion, thyme, nutmeg, pepper, and bay leaf. Stir well to coat vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup vegetable stock, increase heat to high, and bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook at a slow boil, stirring occasionally, until carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, puree carrot mixture in a blender, mixture should become smooth. Return to pan and add remaining 1 cup stock, heavy cream, milk, and salt to taste. Stir well. Reheat to medium, but do not let it boil. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve.
Makes 6 servings.

3 Tbsp. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. dill
salt and pepper

In a bowl, mix cream cheese, honey, and dill. Spread on bread, top with sliced cukes and salt and pepper. Top with another slice of bread.

Honey Cucumber Sandwich by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 21 Jul 2010 16:20

Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Serve over rice, millet, or couscous, topped with crushed peanuts (can crush in a blender or roll with a rolling pin) and chopped scallions. Feel free to add more kale and chard!

1 cup chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bunch kale or Swiss Chard (4 cups sliced)
2 cups undrained crushed pineapple (20 oz. can)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
salt to taste

In covered saucepan, saute onions and garlic in the oil for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until onions brown. Wash kale or chard and remove stems. Cut in 1 inch thick slices cross-wise. Add pineapple and its juices to onions and bring to a simmer. Stir in kale or chard, cover, and simmer 5 minutes. stirring a couple of times until tender. Mix in peanut butter, Tabasco, and cilantro, and simmer another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and serve.

Make your own potting soil
Making your own potting soil will save you money (North Americans spend more than $500 million each year on potting mixes and specialty soils!).

At least half of any potting soil is compost, but most commercial potting soils have some combo of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite, all of which are mined, processed, packaged, and shipped.
Peat moss can be replaced by composted tree bark or wood chips or leaf mold (rotted leaves) or a mixture. Just for reference, a 4’ x 5’ pile of chopped leaves will take about two year to decompose into leaf mold.
Vermiculite can also be replaced by rotted sawdust, leaf mold, or an abundance of organic matter in garden waste compost (side note: vermiculite mining is what caused the asbestos problem in Libby, MT).
Perlite ore can be replaced by clean sand. For a light mix of soil, add a handful of sand per quart. And to guard against slow drainage in the bottoms of flats/containers, use a thin layer of rotted leaves, sawdust, or sand.

To use live compost or active garden soil in potting mixes usually requires screening the compost (sifting the compost through a screen) and pasteurizing (heating) the material at 160 degrees F (but not hotter than 190 degrees F) for an hour (30 minutes at 180 degrees F). Pasteurizing kills most fungi and bacteria while preserving the biological integrity of the compost. If the temperature goes above 190 degrees F, compounds may be formed that interfere with plant growth.
To pasteurize compost in the oven:
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and put 3-4 quarts of screened, mature compost in a bucket and mix with enough water to make it lightly moist. Spread moistened material in a large metal or glass pan, but don’t pack it down (steam needs to be able to circulate). Cover tightly with aluminum foil, and poke a meat or oven thermometer into the center of the cover at a diagonal angle.
2. Place pan in the oven and check the temperature at 15 minute intervals. Turn off the oven when the thermometer shows 150 degrees F. Compost heats quickly (denser soils take longer). After oven is turned off, heat should rise to 170 degrees F (vent the oven if it gets to 180 degrees F). Sharp odors mean it’s gotten too hot. Allow the pan to sit in the warm oven for at least 30 minutes. When you remove the pan, wrap it in dry towels, as this will slow the cooling, giving a more thorough pasteurization.
3. When the pan is cool, dump the pasteurized compost into a bucket with a lid, and let it rest until you need it.
When dealing with transplants ready to go outside, you can use unpasteurized compost. It actually helps to harden off the plants and reduces transplant shock.

Information taken from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

Re: Starting Seeds by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 26 May 2010 20:25

Cold frames help you extend your season, either in the spring or fall. Please check out the links section and the upcoming events section for documents about cold frames.

Top 12 Winter Cold Frame Crops:
Chinese cabbage
Green onion

Cold Frames by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 25 May 2010 21:14

Want to make a garden bed quickly? Use these techniques to make quick garden beds that you can turn into permanent beds later.

— Lay down cardboard or wet newspaper, top with several inches of grass clippings, shredded leaves, or weed-free hay/straw. Use a hand trowel to pull back the mulch, cut away sod, and open up planting holes for stocky transplants (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cukes, etc.).
— If you don’t want to plant directly into your soil (because of nutrient deficiencies, etc.), buy some 40 pound bags of topsoil. Slash drainage holes in the bottoms of the bags and lay them over the area you want for your growing bed. Use a sharp knife to cut away the top of the bags. Moisten well, then plant the bags with seeds/transplants, and mulch to cover the bags. Tip: when growing tomatoes in bags, allow one bag of topsoil per plant.
— Use bales of straw or hay to frame a big raised bed (arranged in a rectangle, a 15 bale instant bed will be 8’x20’). Fill the enclosure with as much soil, compost, and any other growing mediums you can find (a truckload or two). Allow several days of intermittent watering to thoroughly moisten the growing medium and the bales, then plant veggies inside and on top of your straw bale barge. As long as you keep this set up moist, it will support a large array of veggies and decompose into a nice large bed of organic matter in about a year.
— Along the same lines, just build a frame out of fencing, rails, etc. (it doesn’t necessarily need to be 4 sided either—just lay 2 rails parallel to each other) and fill with soil.

Keep in mind that plants grown in “instant” beds will probably need more water/fertilizer than plants that can reach roots into the ground.

Taken from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

No Dig Garden Beds by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 19 May 2010 21:53

1. Grass clippings (from untreated lawns!) are very effective. They also can be used as mulch to prevent weeds and conserve moisture. Nitrogen content varies, however clippings from unfertilized lawns will probably be around 2% N. For the most part, half an inch of clippings (about six 5 gallon buckets per 100 square feet) mixed into the soil, or 1-2 inches used as surface mulch will provide all the nutrients most of your crops will need for the season.
2. Compost usually contains about 1% N (composted manure contains closer to 3%), and it releases nutrients very slowly, over a period of years. Also, many strains of fungi and bacteria from the compost form beneficial relationships with plant roots, helping them absorb (or develop) nutrients. Compost also helps soil hold moisture. As a rule of thumb, each time a crop is finished, spread at least half an inch of compost over the soil to maintain fertility (add more to increase fertility).
3. Organic matter is essential to soil health. The more organic matter in your soil, the more your soil can hold on to nutrients, as well as maintaining soil moisture. Organic matter also helps to suppress soilborne diseases. Using shredded leaves, old straw/hay, or grass clippings as mulch will increase your soil’s organic matter as the mulch decomposes into the soil. You also grow cover crops (like buckwheat or clover) on soil not being used to increase soil fertility.

Adding too much fertilizer can be just as bad for your crops as not adding enough. So when should you add extra? In the spring or fall, a quick releasing fertilizer (like fish emulsion or blood meal) helps support strong, early growth of hungry cool-weather crops, like brassicas. In addition, for plants that take all season, like tomatoes and peppers, you might need to mix in a light application of fertilizer into the top inch of soil over the root zone mid-summer. You could also replenish your grass clipping mulch. Also be aware that seedlings started indoors may need some fertilizer (fish-based fertilizer works well, mixed half ration with water) two to three weeks after sprouting, as they will have started to use up the nutrients available in their container.

When planting/planning your garden, be aware of which plants are heavy feeders (i.e. corn takes a lot of nitrogen).

Info taken from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

Fertilizer by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 19 May 2010 21:28

For the bruschetta:
8 thick slices crusty Italian bread
4 cloves garlic (2 peeled, 2 pressed), divided
3 Tbsp fruity extra-virgin olive oil, divided

For the topping:
16 to 20 medium tomatoes (fully ripe)
2 to 3 Tbsp finely chopped, fresh basil
salt and ground black pepper
garnish: sprigs of fresh basil

To make bruschetta: toast bread to a medium brown. While still warm, lightly rub one side of each piece with peeled garlic, using about a quarter clove per piece. Drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over toasted bread, dividing it equally among the slices. Set toast aside (garlic-side up), on a medium-size platter until ready to serve.
To make the topping: fill a medium-size saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Immerse tomatoes for 30 seconds, then drain and rinse with cold water. Peel, remove seeds, and dice. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes with pressed garlic, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, basil, salt and pepper. Set aside and let the flavors meld for 30 minutes. To serve, spoon a few generous tablespoons on each piece of toast. Garnish the plate with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.
Yields 4 servings

Extend your growing season by using a cold frame or hot bed. Here is a guide on both:

Extend your season! by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 14 May 2010 17:38

Starting Seeds: Seeds you should NOT START indoors include: asparagus, carrots, corn, endive, lima beans, parsnips, radishes, snap beans, spinach, soybeans, Swiss chard, turnips, cilantro, dill, and summer savory. Seeds need water and warmth (75-90 degrees F) to germinate. Seedlings need less warmth (60-70 degrees F), but also need sunlight (16 hours of light is ideal).

Containers: You don’t need to buy flats/seed starting containers. You can make them! If you have access to wood and tools, you can make wooden flats (don’t make them too large to lift, and 2 or 3 inches deep is sufficient), or cut milk jugs/soda bottles in half and use the bottoms. You could also use old aluminum pans. Be creative! Just make sure to poke some holes in the bottom to allow for water drainage.

Transplanting: The first leaves that appear are not the plant’s “true” leaves. The plant’s true leaves are the second set that appears. If the plants appear to be crowded, either thin them (snip off some of the plants), and/or transplant them into separate, larger containers. When transplanting, make sure to plant the seedling at the same depth or a bit deeper.

Diseases: The most common issue with seedlings is damping-off, which is caused by a fungus that thrives in wet, poorly ventilated places. The telling symptom is when a healthy looking plant falls over and the stem near the soil looks pinched. Damping-off is easier to prevent than curing it. Keep good air circulation around your plants and don’t water too much. If only a few plants are affected, you can try to save the rest by removing those affected, improving air circulation and fix the drainage and spraying the remaining seedlings with chamomile or garlic tea.

Hardening Off: One or two weeks before your planting outside date (after danger of frost, usually), you need to toughen up your plants. Do this by watering less, keeping them cooler, and not fertilizing. Start setting your plants outside, first only for ½ a day in a sheltered place, and then work the plants up to a full day in full sun and all night (if there is danger of frost, make sure to cover them!).

Planting Out: The ideal weather conditions for planting out are cloudy and damp. Make sure to water each transplant as you set it in the hole, and then cover the roots with loose soil.

Tips taken from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

Starting Seeds by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 22 Apr 2010 22:02

Why bother with homegrown organic? Because you’ll be getting more nutritious food.

A study was published in HortScience, 2009, “Declining Fruit and Vegetable Nutrient Comoposition,” which shows that commercially grown vegetables, fruits, and grains are now significantly less nutritious than they were just 30 years ago.

Here are some examples: The protein concentration in wheat and barley declined by 30-50% between 1938 and 1990; 45 corn varieties developed between 1920 and 2001, grown side by side, showed that the concentrations of protein, oil, and three amino acids have all declined in the newer varieties; 14 popular wheat varieties have shown a 22-39% decrease in 6 minerals over the past 100 years; and USDA nutrient data shows that the calcium content of broccoli averaged 12.9 mg/gram of dry weight in 1950, but only 4.4 mg/gram of dry weight in 2003.

Why is this occurring? Two reasons: 1. The environmental dilution effect—researchers have known since the 1940s that yield increases produced by fertilization, irrigation, and other environmental means tends to decrease minerals in those plants. For example, in a study, phosphorus fertilizer was added on raspberries. Yields increased by almost double, with higher levels of phosphorus in the plant, however 8 other minerals declined 20-55%. Therefore, higher yields means cheaper foods, but may also mean lower quality. 2. The genetic dilution effect—this occurs when plant breeders only focus on developing high-yielding varieties (fruits, veggies, and grains with high carbohydrate content) without taking into consideration nutrient content.

So what can we do? From this study, it seems that eating older varieties means that you’re probably getting more nutrients. Therefore, choosing to eat heirloom varieties is a good way to go. Also, using organic methods and slow-releasing fertilizers should help keep homegrown produce nutritious. Lastly, eating fresh food is best, as nutrient content declines as a food is processed.

Taken/paraphrased from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

They say this year is shaping up to be a bad year for grasshoppers…

Cool, rainy summers cause many grasshoppers to fall to disease, but hot, dry weather causes a boom.

— Baby grasshoppers hatch in spring/early summer from eggs just under the soil. Young hoppers live in dense vegetation, which is also home to their predators (spiders, ground beetles, frogs, etc.). Therefore, areas of dense, mixed herbs, grasses, and flowers located near your garden might serve as an early-season trap.
— Attract insect-eating birds, by providing trellises, posts, etc. to act as perches. Chickens, ducks, guineas, and other fowl love to eat grasshoppers, but be careful because they might also like to eat your garden plants. Using movable pens for fowl around your garden, if possible, could be effective.
— Use row covers (floating row covers, lightweight cloth, etc.) over your plants. Be sure to hold the cloth above the plants with hoops or stakes.
— Grasshoppers like tall grass, so try to keep your garden weeded and maybe let a stand of tall grass grow up near the edge of your garden in late summer. — If the grasshoppers become too much of a problem, using a biological method might be necessary. Nosema locustae, a naturally occurring fungus, is sold as Nolo Bait or Semaspore, and when ingested by grasshoppers will kill them. Please note that Nosema locustae is also harmful to crickets (which eat weed seeds) and mantids (which eat other bugs), so you’ll have to decide if you want to make the trade-off.

Taken/paraphrased from Mother Earth News, Vol. 6, Spring 2010

Grasshopper Control by Sarah BhimaniSarah Bhimani, 22 Apr 2010 21:47
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