Pakistan Mulberries

...ce enough to drop off some freshly picked Pakistan mulberries (Morus macroura) gleaned from a house sitting gig. It’s one of the tastiest fruits I’ve ever had, very sweet, kinda like nature’s version of a Jolly Rancher. If you’ve never had a Pakistan mulberry it’s not surprising as it’s a fruit that simply doesn’t ship well. Here’s what the California Rare Fruit Growers say about it, “Origina...

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Squash Baby Stolen!

...ash butchering party.  Now he’s hunched over his breakfast cereal, disconsolate, and muttering about never planting anything in the parkway again. He harvested Squash Sibling this morning, though it could have grown some more, I believe.  We’re hoping it’s ripe enough for good eating. It’s no inconsiderable squash, despite being the runt of the litter. It measures 22 inches. Next year we will plant Lunga di Napoli again, f...

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How to Process Carob

Before. Photo by Bill Wheelock. Our neighborhood has an abundance of carob (Ceratonia siliqua) trees that, around this time of year, drop thousands of pounds of pods. Now many of us may have unpleasant associations with carob as a 1970s era chocolate substitute, but the tree has a long history in the Middle East, where it’s used to make a tea, as a source of molasses, as a vegetable and as animal feed. The “locusts” th...

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Plantago coronopus, a.k.a. Buckhorn Plantain, a.k.a. Erba Stella

...8217;ll only find highly domesticated foods. Thumb through the pages of the Silver Spoon (the Joy of Cooking of Italian Cuisine) and you’ll discover entire chapters devoted to the use of wild or semi-wild plants. This summer I grew one of these semi-cultivated Italian vegetables, Buckhorn plantain (Plantago coronopus) also known as Erba Stella and Barba di frate (friar’s beard). It’s a mild, ever so slightly bitter green I fou...

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Self Irrigating Pot Patent from 1917

...at Blake Whisenant, a Florida tomato grower and Earthbox company founder, had invented the SIP in the 1990s, but it turns out that the idea came much earlier. Reader Avi Solomon, sent me a surprising link to a patent for a SIP, dated 1917, by a Lewis E. Burleigh of Chicago. From the patent description: “My invention is concerned with flower and plant boxes, and is designed to produce a device of the class described in which the proper moi...

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Acanthoscelides obtectus- A seed saver’s lament

Homegrown Neighbor here: Well, I had a rude awakening when I tried to plant my beans a few weeks ago. I have been growing several different types of pole beans for three or four years and saving seeds from them at the end of every summer. I usually grow purple, yellow and green varieties of pole beans for beautiful summer soups, salads and other dishes. Not this year. When I opened the packet of bean seeds that I had saved last fall, I found al...

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Asian Citrus Psyllid Eradication Program Causes Outbreak of Citrus Leafminer

...to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “The leafminer moth, Phyllocnistis citrella, forms channels as it feeds inside citrus leaves and, as a result, often makes the plant more susceptible to canker disease. Further exacerbating the leafminer problem is the spraying of more insecticide to combat another pest—the Asian citrus psyllid. The insecticide is killing off the leafminers’ natural enemies, allowing the pest to increase in number...

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Growing Artichokes on the Sly

...dwack everything to lawn level. If you can negotiate with them, or somehow put a protective barrier between your plants and the whirling cord of death, you can grow stuff. Take this lovely artichoke. It was a sprout off of one of our own plants, which we gave to a friend who lives in a courtyard apartment. She tucked the sprout near a wall, between some permanent shrubs. It flourished through our wet winter–she says she didn’t give it...

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