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plants health food gardening

gardening

The most difficult thing about gardening is staying in one place. Many of us dont 'own' our land, and get moved on, or want to travel, especially in summer when plants need a lot of attention. Gardening techniques work over many years. We have to find the right compromise between travelling and learning from other places and also wanting to enjoy having a garden and eating uncontaminated food. So whereever you are, treat the gardens around you as your own, try to keep a long term vision even if you yourself wont be there for very long, but respect the ideas and techniques that have been put in place by those who have been there before. When you are somewhere for a longer time, try to help passers by become involved and see how the garden works. and of course, save seeds, swap seeds, when you travel carry seeds with you.

Growing food is often separated from enjoying ourselfs and made into 'work', it would be good to see more bands/soundsystems playing infront of garden fields to motivate and inspire people. you might expect that this would destroy the garden. but we need to break down the barrier between work and play and maybe not get so wasted when we hear music or not be so orderly when we 'work' in the garden.

Plants which need more attention could be planted on paths we use often or on junctions of paths where people naturally meet and make a pause.

perrenial veg:

(that grows every year and you dont really need to do anything once they get going)

plants that are easy to grow and feed you well:

wild plants that feed you well

green manure

other gardening ideas:

seed saving information:

bio/organic seed suppliers

Gardening Books:

food

spironlina

spirolina is an edible algae that needs only water, urine and iron (from rusty nails for example). However, it needs quite a warm climate. In colder places it is only possible to grow it in a greenhouse in summer. A possibility could be to pump it through a wood stove or compost heater.

aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). apparently this has more chlorophyll than spirulina, needs less salinity, has more calcium, and importantly, can live in a colder climate. But it seems it only grows naturally (not cultivated). AFA and Spirulina Compared

tempeh:

Tasty indonesian soja with mould grown on it. The difficult thing is keeping the temperate constant. tempeh needs to be at about 32 degrees C for about 22 hours. Not a problem if you live in indonesia. If it gets colder than that for some time period, it seems it still works but takes longer, eg: on a woodstove which goes out at night but you light it again in the morning. but there is then increased risk of contamination with other bacterias. If it gets too hot the mould cannot survive.

electric incubators are easier to regulate temperature but less ecological and use too much power to realistically run from batteries. typically an isulated box (eg: an old refridgerator) and a heating element (eg: 40 or 60w light bulb). The simplest way to regulate it is with a dimmer switch (this works quite well). but leaving a dimmer set external temperature changes (eg: at night) and towards the end of the process the tempeh begins to produce its own heat and the temperature rises. Old water heater thermostats can also be used, which can be regulated by moving the temperature sensing element closer or further from the heat source. It would be interesting to know if its possible to use a refridgerator thermostat for this as these are much more readily available.

Regulating the humidity is also an issue, a small amount of air circulation is needed but it must not dry out. You can experiment with covering them and leaving a small gap open. Some people use plastic food bags with tiny holes in which works well but is expensive and wastefull.

Another tricky thing is how to save the spore so you can make more and dont have it keep buying tempeh starter. You must leave the tempeh in the incubator for longer (When you take it out, cut off a thinner piece for more surface area and to not waste the middle part). After about another 8 hours, the black powdery stuff is the spores. these can be scraped with something sterile to collect, or just take the whole piece of spore covered tempeh and dry it out (eg: on the stove) and blend it/grind it to a powder.

beansprouts

very important food for winter, when theres not so much salad to eat. they will grow much faster if kept warm. rinse them as often as possible - so keep them close to water or somewhere where you will always notice them and remember to water them. water is important to them, so give them good water.

almost any bean or lentil (not split ones) will work.

after eating them, clean the container well before starting some more

wine making

alcohol drinking is not healthy. but if you do drink, it can be a good idea to make it yourself. it saves money, does not support the supermarkets, and you can be more in control of how much you drink. However, do not be tempted to drink it before its ready. If this is a problem remember to make enough that you have a constant supply.

Making wine is easy, but making good wine that does not give you a hangover is not so easy. Keep everything clean with hot water (or chemical sterilisers if you really dont have much water), and 'rack' the wine at least once (syphon it into a new container to get rid of the sediment). I think its the sediment which causes the hangover. Some fruits make more sediment than others, so it can be more difficult to get them to clear. Apple and pear wines can be difficult as they make a lot of mousse (become frothy).

Yeast and yeast nutrient can be difficult to find. They can be bought on the internet if there is no brewing shop nearby. It is also useful to add lemon juice, a source of tannin (some black tea, for example), and if making a wine from flowers or leaves, rather than fruit, the yeast will like something to live on, crushed or minced raisens/saltanas are often used. and sugar is its food.

The first stage of fermentation can be done in an open-topped container, like a pot or bucket, with some textile over the top to stop insects going in, kept warm and stirred as often as possible with something clean.

After five days, or one week, the wine is filtered through cotton or muslin into another container. Traditionally a glass demijohn with an air-lock which can let air leave but not enter. I have had success using 25l plastic water containers, with a condom or balloon instead of an air-lock. but plastic containers are much more difficult to clean. In winter, make sure the wine does not freeze.

Wines to try:

Links:

health

compost toilets

Shit is a very useful asset, and really the only thing we produce. It is crazy to treat it as waste and even more crazy to use drinking water to get rid of it!

It is importand to keep the shit dry. This will make good compost as well as stop it stinking and spreading bacteria. Use sawdust from untreated wood if possible as it will compost. Some designs of toilet have a system allowing air to flow under the shit, keeping it dry. If you use toilet paper, depending on what you will do with the compost you might want to put toilet paper in a separate bucket and burn it. Keep the composting shit in an uncovered heap and add dry plant material.

It can be used on fruit trees after about a year, for vegetables i would wait two years.

Although it is more work initially, going up some stairs to shit on top of a heap can be preferable than shitting in a bucket and having to empty it elsewhere.

See: Joseph C. Jenkins-The Humanure Handbook, A Guide to Composting Human Manure, Third Edition-Joseph Jenkins, Inc. (2005)


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