Maintaining a Worm Bin

...layer of my working side into the empty part of the bin. Worms like materials that provide some fluff or air to the texture of the bin. I like to use a combination of materials, whatever I have on hand. Shredded newspaper is a standard bedding material, but we don’t take a paper. Today I used rotted straw, wet pieces of cardboard, lots of dead leaves, a few wood shavings and a little bit of garden dirt for grit. Note regarding paper: I wou...

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Sun Bleaching Really, Really Works

...ur porch for a couple weeks (in good weather, of course!), just to see what happened. Day and night, I just left them there. Turned them whenever I thought about it, then forgot about them entirely. Today I pulled them off the porch, and they look a whole lot better. I’m shocked they’re not counter-stained by diesel particulate. There are a few intractable stains from their days as slop towels, but 95% of that nasty yellow splotching...

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Advances in Gardening Series: The Fan

...ed them into their wedges this week. Poppies don’t like to be transplanted, so I sowed those seeds today. The original herb garden was a rough quarter circle. We kept that footprint, but used spare bricks to divide the shape into 3 smaller wedges. The bricks give me a way to walk between the wedges without compacting the soil.  The Process: To prepare the ground… I first forked the original soil, because while it’s not bad so...

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Addendum to the previous post: Nasal irrigation and pressure points

...gross, but it’s worth doing because you’ll feel so much better afterward: all clean and fresh. *** The second technique that I found helpful for sinus pain was pressure points. I don’t know much about this therapy, a friend suggested it and I just did as she said. I found it helped, or at least distracted me, when I wasn’t under my steam tent. I used two sets of points: 1) Press the tips of your index fingers on either s...

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Why not plant some Calendula?

Calendula glows like the sun. Mrs. Homegrown here, leaving the composting controversy behind… One of my favorite plants in the garden is Calendula officinalis, aka pot marigold. It should not be mistaken for common marigold, or Mexican marigold, both of which are in the genus Tagetes. Tagetes marigolds are popularly used in companion planting (to ward off bugs in the garden), and for combating nemadtodes in the soil. Calendula...

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Return of Bean Friday: Spicy Mayocoba Beans

...y liked the results. Erik proclaimed it to be the best of all the Bean Friday dishes, though I remain partial to the Bastardized Puerto Rican beans. I’m happy to finally get a moment to share this with you. Mayocoba beans are pretty yellow beans, the color of old ivory. We’d never had them before, but are glad to have met them, because they are mild in flavor and have a smooth, buttery texture. They’re used extensively in Latin...

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What Mountaineering Accidents Can Teach Us About Food Preservation

...ated to storing garlic in oil at room temeprature. The National Center for Home Food Preservation now recommends the following if you want to preserve garlic in oil: Garlic-in-oil should be made fresh and stored in the refrigerator at 40°F or lower for no more than 7 days. It may be frozen for long term storage for up to several months. Package in glass freezer jars or plastic freezer boxes, leaving ½-inch headspace. Label, date and freeze....

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The Organic Minefield: How organic are your organic eggs, soy and dairy?

I wish the label “organic” meant all that I mean when I use the term, but unfortunately organic is not a a guarantee of sustainable agricultural practice, much less humane treatment of livestock. The Cornucopia Institute promotes sustainable organic agriculture and family farms, and helps consumers parse the difference between greenwashed and genuine organic farms and suppliers. They release quick reference charts...

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Stickers for the Organic Gardener

...handsome “Now Slower and with More Bugs!” stickers, originally produced to adorn software products. The influence of the Slow Food movement is increasing, and gardening is getting ever more popular. Even the tech bloggers are posting about local pollinators and getting beehives. In this environment, it is fitting that a new use has been found for our Now Slower and with More Bugs stickers, which were first seen in the wild back in De...

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How To Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

...es, green beans, peas, diced onions, whole-kernel corn etc are more convenient to cook with if you can just pour them out of a freezer bag without having to break them out of a solid mass. To do this you’ll individually quick freeze IQF them. To IQF: Wash, blanch (veggies) and cool . Spread in one layer on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for four to six hours. Pack in sealed containers or in freezer bags. Label with date to avoid freezer...

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