Feral Tomatoes on the Bayou

...n’s Buffalo Bayou, just next to a concrete plant and under a bridge we stumbled on some feral tomatoes. We theorized that some fast food meal pitched in the gutter found it’s way into this meandering, heavily industrialized waterway. The tomatoes separated from the cheeseburger, floated to the surface of the water and were deposited on the muddy banks of the bayou. Houston’s hot and humid climate sprouted the seeds and the resul...

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A White House Vegetable Garden

Via a post by Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing, one man’s plea to turn the White House lawn into a kitchen garden: I’ll note that the last person to try to convince a president to plant veggies was the always forward thinking Alice Waters, the proprietor of Berkeley California’s Chez Panisse. Waters asked then president Bill Clinton to grow some vegetables at the White House. Clinton responded, “send me the seeds Alice...

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Tree Spinach – Chenopodium giganteum

...nts for the combination of invasive and edible. Tree spinach contains saponins and oxalic acid, substances which the Plants for a Future database notes can cause nutritional and medical problems. Note to all the raw food fetishists out there–cooking takes care of both oxalic acid and saponins. We ordered our tree spinach from Trade Winds Fruit but it’s also carried by Seeds of Change. We’ll post a full report if and when we get...

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We sometimes make mistakes . . .

Some time ago we printed the wrong email address for Franchi seed distributor Craig Ruggless. His correct email address is: franchiseeds@sbcglobal.net. Send him a note and he’ll send you a catalog. Check out Craig’s blog here or drop by his booth at the Sierra Madre farmer’s market on Wednesdays. We’ve been using Franchi seeds for years and have been consistently impressed with the results....

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Arundo dorax

...l find refineries, factories and scrap metal yards. And both L.A. and Houston have clogged mega-freeways. Add to these parallels, an abundance of Arundo dorax, a giant invasive reed known by the popular name, Carrizo. According to Delena Tull’s excellent book, Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest, Arundo dorax seeds can be ground into a flour, the young shoots are edible and a kind of candy can be made from the stems. Just li...

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So Much Chicory, So Little Time

Chicory mania continues here around the casa with a grid of some of the many varieties available at Seeds from Italy. At the risk of turning into a chicory blog, we’d also like to augment Wednesday’s chicory post with a link to a recipe for chicory and beans posted by Homegrown Revolution reader Sognatrice, an American living in Southern Italy. Grazie!...

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Interview With Apartment Gardener Helen Kim

...large windows facing every direction except north). It takes a little doing, and I’ve lost a few here and there. I started years ago with French breakfast radish seeds, which didn’t go so well–they needed too much attention and too much water–and the few small radishes I ended up with a few months later were eaten and gone in a few seconds! Then I planted mint because I felt increasingly silly buying plastic packets of...

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Prickly Pear Jelly Recipe

...of the spines (technically called glochids). 2.There are many methods described on the interenets for extracting the juice. The way we have found best is to slice the fruit (you need not skin it) into quarters and put in a pot with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher and strain the juice and water through a colander with two layers of cheesecloth to remove the seeds and pulp. 3. We’...

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Mandrake!

...und would drive the harvester mad. The roots are said to resemble a human with the top of the plant representing the head as in the illustration above. The plant belongs to the nightshade family and has been used over time, as a purgative, an aphrodisiac, treatment for rheumatism, a means to expel demons among countless other purposes. Pliny used it as an anesthetic, and Buhner offers a beer recipe using a 1/2 once of the dried root. Seeds fo...

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Fava Fava Fava

Fava bean mania has descended upon the Homegrown Evolution compound this spring. I can’t say enough good things about fava beans (Vicia fava): they taste good, the plant fixes nitrogen into the soil, making it an ideal cover crop, and it’s attractive. If harvested small you can eat fava raw but I prefer to remove the skins and briefly boil the seeds (around five minutes). Once boiled, fava can be used in a variety of dishes from soup...

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