Country Traditions

November 14, 2010

A Guide to Saving Seeds | Care2 Healthy & Green Living

Filed under: dehydrating, family, farming, gardening, herbs, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:19 am
Fennel seed

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A Guide to Saving Seeds | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

via A Guide to Saving Seeds | Care2 Healthy & Green Living.

How to Save Seeds

There are two main types of seed saving depending on the type of plant: wet processing and dry processing.

Wet Processing

Very simply, when the fruit of the plant is fully ripe, separate the seeds from the flesh of the fruit, wash them, and air-dry them on a non-stick surface. During washing, any seeds that float can be discarded as this is usually a sign of a non-viable seed. Some fruits and vegetables in this category are squash and melons.

Exceptions

Some seeds, like tomato seeds, actually have to be fermented to become viable. For tomatoes, mush up the fruit (with seeds) and add to a quart jar filled 2/3 with water. Let this sit for about a week (it will be fermenting during this time), then rinse, dry, and store the seeds in an air-tight, dry, and sterile-as-possible location, where the temperature will remain cool.

Dry Processing

You might have read in the Bible about threshing and winnowing. Well, when it comes to saving seed, those skills are just as valuable today as they were back then. Threshing is separating a seed from its coating, usually by beating it or whipping the dry plant on the ground. Winnowing is separating the seeds from the chaff, traditionally by enlisting the help of the wind. For some plants, this can all be achieved by hand, as with beans. With beans, simply crack open the dry pod and remove the seeds. Other dry-processed plants include broccoli, cabbage, carrots, most herbs, flowers, and grains. Storage is the same as for wet-processed seeds.

Other Plant Varieties

Of course, some plants are propagated by means other than seed planting. For instance, potatoes can be stored through the winter, then each eye can be cut out and planted. Most fruit trees are propagated through cuttings. The methods listed above are general principles of seed saving. There are excellent books and online resources which will provide further information about specific plants.

Related:
4 Reasons to Grow Heirloom Plants
10 Tips for Harvesting Your Kitchen Garden
Grow Your Own Food!

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/a-guide-to-saving-seeds.html#ixzz15G6D6Spl

 

November 9, 2010

Composting 101 | Real Simple

Filed under: composting, family, farming, gardening, rain water, weather — Tags: , , , , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:03 pm
better compost

Image by normanack via Flickr

Composting 101 | Real Simple.

via Composting 101 | Real Simple.

It’s not just for people in the sticks anymore: Composting is great for all gardeners because it improves soil, which in turn prevents plant diseases. And it can even reduce harmful greenhouse gases. “Organics that break down in a landfill produce methane gas, which is about 120 times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” says Cary Oshins, assistant director for programs at the United States Composting Council, in Ronkonkoma, New York. So why not help the planet and your yard by piling it on?

How to Get Started

Choose a container that’s made of wood (or some other sturdy material) and no smaller than three by three feet. Place it in your yard in a shady spot with good drainage. Start adding waste in a ratio of three “browns” to one “green.” Browns are carbon-rich materials and include wood chips, straw, branches, and leaves. Greens provide nitrogen and include grass clippings and kitchen scraps, like eggshells and carrot tops. When you’re adding new material, Oshins suggests, dig a hole in the pile and stir the new stuff in so it gets coated with the old mixture.

October 30, 2010

Interiors: Get the distressed look | Life and style | The Guardian

Filed under: decorating, farming, furniture, painting, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:44 pm
Antique French Bamboo washtand - black pink an...

Image by frenchfinds.co.uk via Flickr

Interiors: Get the distressed look | Life and style | The Guardian.

via Interiors: Get the distressed look | Life and style | The Guardian.

Style tips for the distressed home

1 Avoid the overly ornate. A curling French bed looks great in a sparse room with white painted floorboards, but straight-edged, blocky shapes work better under distressed paint as there’s less to distract the eye.

2 Colder, neutral tones work best – from dark to pale grey to blue-whites. Avoid creamy and yellow tones that will tip you towards Scotts of Stowterritory. If you’re brave and have an artistic eye, experiment with strong colours such as turquoise (très Provençal) or pea green (rather Bloomsbury set). But be warned – most of us don’t have an eye. For a safer strong colour, dark grey is always a winner – check out Downpipefrom Farrow & Ball.

3 Pay attention to handles – anything shiny or attention-seeking is out. Safest is to paint-in round wooden handles, which makes them disappear: the distressed ethos is about quiet elegance, not shouty dingly-dangly bits. Another alternative are half-moon handles, which are often sold in an aged patina.

4 Be inspired. If you’re commissioning built-in distressed furniture, collect pictures of the desired look to show your carpenter. Think about structure first. If you want blocky, Shaker styling, draw up trad panel doors. Bevelling, or perhaps mirror panels, on bedroom wardrobes? Colour and the level of distressing comes later.

5 Never underestimate the importance of the tester pot.

The basic technique

1 Remove all handles and other hardware.

2 Sand the piece thoroughly – boring, yes, but vital to the finished product. Don’t lose interest yet.

3 Apply a coat of primer. White is fine, but if you want to vary the look, use a toning undercoat (grey under white, say), which will show through at the distressing stage.

4 Apply two thin coats of matt eggshell. The more matt, the better. Farrow & Ball has a woodwork paint called Dead Flat. Say no more.

5 Once dry, sand it down again to expose tasteful glints of raw wood or primer. Go hard on edges, crevices and curves for that beaten-up look.

6 Wipe it all clean, then coat with a wax paste to seal the deal.

Make it age, and fast…

1 Cheap picture frames can be instantly antiqued using Rub ‘n Buff (in silver leaf or pewter) – try Amazon and online craft sites. Dab a small amount along the raised ridges for that Miss Havisham glint.

2 To age a modern mirror, brush flecks of grey paint into the corners where it meets the frame, especially if there are cracks or indentations. But do this sparingly and carefully. “It’s quite a delicate job,” warns interior designer Gill Richardson.

3 Painted floorboards scuff up all by themselves – as long as you don’t varnish them. Several coats of floor paint is enough to protect boards but malleable enough to scuff quite quickly. For perfection, varnish over the top coat. Lighter shades will age more quickly than dark floors.

4 Don’t forget the garden. Railway sleepers make great raised garden beds. Paint them with live yoghurt and you’ll get a beautiful patina of growing lichen – within hours.

How to grow squash – Telegraph

Filed under: farming, gardening, recipes, weather — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 8:31 pm
Spaghetti squash cleaned

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How to grow squash – Telegraph.

via How to grow squash – Telegraph.

There are four others the Longlys grow every year and have stood the test of time: ‘Celebration’, ‘Yellow Patty Pan’, ‘Little Gem Rolet’ and the spaghetti squash.

‘Celebration’ is pretty, a mix of green, cream and orange; it’s a fantastic cropper and stores better than any other variety they’ve grown, but the flesh is pale.

The colour of squash flesh seems to correspond overall with the flavour – the deeper the colour, the richer the taste.

‘Yellow Patty Pan’, ‘Little Gem Rolet’ and the spaghetti squash are summer and autumn producers. Like courgettes, you can crop these lightly over months, starting to pick in August, and the more you harvest, the more the plants produce. That’s handy for any vegetable grower and I’ve added these to my sowing list next year.

‘Little Gem Rolet’ is a very heavy cropper and easy to cook well. Just roast it or boil it whole until it’s soft to the tip of a knife (about 40 minutes at 175C/350F/gas 4, or 30 at a gentle rolling boil), slice off the top and eat with a spoon, seasoned with salt and pepper, like a boiled egg.

I also love these stuffed with pork mince and pine nuts flavoured with chilli, rosemary and sesame oil. The Patty Pans are similar – lovely in stir-fries when small in summer and excellent for soups and mash in autumn.

Spaghetti squash is better not thought of as a squash at all. Its texture and flavour is much gentler and softer, but still delicious.

Boil for 30 minutes, slice in half and remove the seeds and douse liberally with fruity olive oil or butter, salt and pepper and mix this in the flesh.

I thought I would find these too watery and boring, but they’re perfect – served on their own – for a simple midweek supper.

Tough love

The final piece of advice from the Longlys – sow your squash in the usual way, the seed pushed in vertically, direct into the soil, or in a pot to grow on a bit before planting outside into very organic-rich soil.

Then – the absolute key to a good harvest – pinch out the growing tips of all the plant shoots in mid-August and keep doing so.

This stops plants putting on triffid-like, leafy growth and forces them to conserve energy for flower and fruit production.

Without pinching out, the quick growers often just drop their flowers in favour of shooting out like a giant squid. Keep them contained and you’ll have many more fruit to harvest.

 

Roast pumpkin seeds

These are good to serve with a glass of wine and less fattening than crisps or peanuts.

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Good pinch of flaky salt

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3.

Put the pumpkin seeds in a roasting tin, add a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of water, a pinch of flaky salt and the cayenne.

Toss together and roast for 5-10 minutes. As the water evaporates, it crunches up the seeds and leaves them coated in oil, cayenne and salt.

October 26, 2010

Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage

Filed under: farming, gardening, weather — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 7:46 am
A container garden of petunias, daisies, marig...

Image via Wikipedia

Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage.

via Petunias Seeds to Save – iVillage. Click link for list of 10

Petunias

“Be careful not to cull from common petunia hybrids,” warns Milliken. (Hybrid offspring are either sterile or will not resemble the parent.) “But otherwise gathering the seed is very straightforward.”

October 11, 2010

Predicting Weather Using a Persimmon Seed!

Filed under: animals, farming, gardening, home remedies, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , — dmacc502 @ 11:21 am
A fuyu persimmon fruit

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According to folklore, you can predict the weather with apersimmon seed. Here’s how to do it:

Cut open a persimmon seed. (Find persimmon fruit in your local supermarket.)

Look at the shape of the kernel inside.

  • If the kernel is spoon-shaped, lots of heavy, wet snow will fall. Spoon = shovel!
  • If it is fork-shaped, you can expect powdery, light snow and a mild winter.
  • If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect to be “cut” by icy, cutting winds.

It’s best to use ripe seeds.

That’s it! Now, what did you see?                http://www.almanac.com/content/predicting-weather-using-persimmon-seed

 

Cricket Chirps: Nature's Thermometer

Filed under: animals, farming, gardening, home remedies, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , — dmacc502 @ 11:16 am
Thermometer with Fahrenheit units on the outer...

Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that you can tell the temperature by counting the chirps of a cricket? It’s true! Here’s the formula:

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C

http://www.almanac.com/cricket-chirps-temperature-thermometer

September 28, 2010

Root Cellars: Handle Your Harvest With Care

Filed under: dehydrating, farming, gardening, herbs, recipes, weather, wisdom — Tags: , , , , — dmacc502 @ 3:24 pm
An arrangement of fruits commonly thought of a...

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http://www.almanac.com/content/root-cellars-handle-your-harvest-care

If you’re planning to store produce in a root cellar, here are tips to ensure to ensure that your fruits and vegetables survive storage.

  • Stock your cellar as late in the season as you can. If possible, chill the produce in the fridge before putting it in the cellar.
  • A few vegetables—such as potatoes, winter squashes, and onions—need to be “cured” for a few days in warm temperatures before going into cold storage.
  • Shake off loose dirt rather than washing it off. Many root–cellar vegetables store better this way.
  • Always handle your vegetables with care; even slightly rough treatment can cause invisible bruising, starts the produce on the road to decomposition.
  • Store cabbages and turnips in a detached root cellar so their odor, which can be unpleasant, will not permeate the house.
  • Think about where you place produce: The driest, warmest air is near the ceiling, more-humid air is lower as well as farthest from the door.
  • Most fruit “breathes,” and some—particularly apples and pears—should be wrapped in paper to retard the release of ethylene gas.
  • Making a root cellar in a garage or using pressure-treated wood is not recommended.
  • Vegetables piled together generate heat, which can lead to spoilage. Put on shelves close to the floor and rotate.
  • Check your vegetables regularly, and immediately remove any with signs of rot. From the lessons of the cold cellar comes the saying, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.”

How to Predict a Frost

Ice Iris

Image via Wikipedia

  • How warm was it during the day? If the temperature reached 75 degrees F (in the East or North) or 80 degrees F (in the desert Southwest), the chance of the mercury falling below 32 degrees is slim.
  • Is it windy? A still night allows cold air to pool near the ground; a breeze keeps things stirred up.
  • Is it cloudy? If the Sun sets through a layer of thickening clouds, the clouds will slow radiational cooling and help stave off a frost.
  • What is the dew point? As a rule of thumb, don’t worry about a frost if the dew point (the temperature at which water vapor condenses) is above 45 degrees on the evening weather report.
  • How is your garden sited? Gardens on slopes or high ground often survive when the coldest air puddles down in the valleys and hollows.

See frost dates for your area. Click here for the U.S. Frost Chart and for the Canadian Frost Chart on Almanac.com.

Better Safe Than Sorry

If you’re a gardener, here are few tips on preparing for frost.

  • When nights get cold, protect tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants with old sheets, paper bags, or plastic at night and remove the coverings in the morning.
  • Bring geraniums indoors before the first frost arrives. Keep them in a sunny window in a relatively moist room; the kitchen is often best.
  • Harvest basil and other tender herbs before a frost. Even if they survive the frost, they don’t do well in cold temperatures. The same is true for summer squash, peppers, and most annuals.
  • Harvest all tomatoes and let them ripen indoors on tabletops or counters out of the sun.
  • http://www.almanac.com/content/blog-how-predict-frost

September 27, 2010

FEMA Website Helps Kids Prepare For Disaster

"updating the website from work"

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www.ready.gov/kids Check out this great website to help children understand natural disasters. Interactive site for children.

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