Category: Food Plants – Annual

The Results – A Trial Looking at 5 Ways to Prepare Beds for Tree and Shrub Planting – Which one is the best?

Last year we started a trial to discover the best ways to prepare the ground for tree and shrub planting. We trialed five different methods and recorded the performance of each method looking at how long they took to implement and manage, how much they cost and how effective they are. I’ll start the post with why we prepare our ground in advance of planting then we will look at the […]

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Horseradish: Why I Should Try It Again

Earlier this year, in the spring, I was able to acquire a handful of horseradish roots to plant in a garden my wife Emma and I were putting together. I’d first encountered it as a plant the year before and was happy discover the leaves were edible with a flavor reminiscent, though milder, of the root. I’d never had horseradish in anything besides cocktail sauce, possibly some other condiments here […]

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How to Start an Urban Farm

Like any new venture, starting an urban farm is a daunting and difficult task. Not only do you have to find land to farm, but that land also must be suitable for growing food. Not only do you have to know how to grow food, but you also have to know what to do with your bounty when harvest time comes around. What has often been referred to as “the […]

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Fixes for Nutrient Deficient Soil

Basic understanding of plant health comes from the soil they grow in. Their nutrition is vital to their health and overall sustainability, so it’s essential for plants to get all of the macronutrients necessary to thrive. However, there are times we still struggle with a plant mysteriously dying off long before its time. It happens, but this is often indicative of a bigger problem with the nutrients in the soil. […]

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Real food does not come from supermarkets: 6 steps from bare ground to homegrown cauliflowers

I imagine that when our grandchildren and great grandchildren read in history books about the supermarkets we relied upon for food, they’ll wonder what we were thinking.   My goal is to get to where our family can live without the supermarket entirely. There are many things we have yet to learn, but we’re well on our way.   We already raise all of our own meat and eggs, and most of […]

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Straw Bale Gardens

What do straw, paint brushes and the human blood circularity system have in common?     The answer is capillaries, very narrow, long tubes. It is this physical characteristic of straw which gives its remarkable ability to become the soil of a garden bed. Large amounts of water and nutrients can be held within the straws capillaries. This is an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This conversion from straw to soil makes […]

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Ornamental Plants That Are Edible and/or Edible Plants That Are Ornamental

When I first began growing food and working with ideas of permaculture, I lived in the tropics where many edible plants leaf out large and are exceptionally stunning. Moreover, the places I found myself building gardens tended to be free-for-alls, where anything goes and HOAs didn’t interfere with what people planted on their property. Last year however, after twelve years abroad, I moved back to the US. Where often people […]

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Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

Planting by Schedule & Plagiarizing Instinct

With a recent transition from the wet-dry tropics to Zone 7b in temperate USA, this year’s planting schedule has been more on my mind than I’m accustomed to. My wife Emma likes to joke with people that we’d just stick anything in the ground down there and it would grow, but in a lot of ways, that was true, not a joke. Other than paying attention to the rain and […]

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Raised Garden Beds in the Bush – Growing Your Own Food in Poor Soil Conditions

A simple aluminum raised garden bed

“We acknowledge and pay respects to the Dhurga people of the Yuin Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country where we live.” When we moved to our bush property two years ago self-sufficiency was high on the agenda. We wanted to produce our own electricity, collect rainwater and we certainly wanted to grow some or if possible most of our own food. This included an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables […]

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Calendula

Butterfly landing on a calendula flower

Calendula is a bright little member of the Asteraceae Family, which includes stevia, sunflowers, and even lettuces. The name Calendula is actually the genus name for around 20 species of herbaceous plants. The most often recognized and utilized species is the Calendula officinalis (English or pot marigold) and is edible. This is not the same as the French marigold from the Tagetes genus. Calendula is often grown in polyculture gardens […]

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Cosmic Carambola

Carambola in the palm of a hand.

Carambola (Averrhoa carambola), often called starfruit, does seem like a fruit that is out of this world. This beauty is a member of the Oxalidaceae family, and is considered a slow growing, fast producing tree with evergreen foliage. The foliage is light sensitive and most often folds in upon itself as the sun goes down. The carambola is thought to have originated in Sri Lanka and Indonesia, but is also […]

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The Charm of Cabbage

Large purple cabbage

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitate) is a cool season vegetable that comes in both purple and green and is related to other vegetables such as broccoli, romanesco, horseradish, and cauliflower. This Mediterranean native has been around for over 4,000 years and was used medicinally by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Cabbage was brought to Europe around 600 B.C.E., and around 200 B.C.E. the Celts began using it to make sauerkraut. Later […]

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