August 30, 2012
To me this image says Urban because it combines an ornamental plant, Euphorbia, with an edible plant, Artichoke. It is an example of how, even in a small urban space, we can plant gardens that are both interesting, unique, useful and practical.
June 1, 2012
This is my entry for this week’s photo challenge. It means summer to me because I love mixing edibles in with my flower beds and I find that artichokes look particularly good in a perennial bed. I love the way their leaves are structured. And I love artichokes!
May 4, 2012
As with produce and meat there is a lot of jargon that gets thrown around when it comes to seafood.
Just this past Earth Day Whole Foods stopped selling red-rated fish. What is red-rated fish you ask?
Whole Foods has partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Blue Ocean Institute. These two institutions have created a color-coded sustainability rating system to tell you how sustainably certain kinds of seafood are harvested. Green is best, then yellow, and last red. Whole Foods is no longer selling any red-rated seafood.
If, like me, you could eat sushi day and night (which I did for a week in Tokyo once) go to The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s sushi guide. And you can download a sushi specific green, yellow, red pocket guide for the next time you are at your favorite sushi place. Go here and look for the link on the bottom right.
April 16, 2012
Martina Fugazzotto, who has a blog entitled farmtina, has a post on her site written by her mom. Apparently her mom knows about some very interesting ways to use seaweed in the garden.
If you go here you will have the chance to be enlightened, as I was, about how to use seaweed to keep down weeds, repel slugs and restore nutrients without adding too much salt to the soil.
April 12, 2012
In many underprivileged neighborhoods there is an inadequate supply of healthy food. Due to (often mistaken) preconceptions about crime rates, insurance, shoplifting, and vandalism, chain supermarkets are reluctant to open stores in these areas.
As a result, many people who live in these neighborhoods are forced to rely on local corner stores which carry mostly overpriced, unhealthy food.
Sister and brother Alison and Alphonzo Cross are trying to put an end to that in Atlanta with a new venture, The Boxcar Grocer. According to its co-founders, The Boxcar Grocer is “at the intersection of food justice and high concept retail.” In other words, it is testament to the fact that you can have a corner store in an urban area that provides healthy food choices to those with limited transportation options.
The Boxcar Grocer gets much of its produce from growers in and around the city of Atlanta. There is great information, including videos, on the Community page of their web site about some of the farmers they work with.
As the Cross team puts it, “with community support, we will have a thriving model of convenience store retail that successfully unifies the ideals of the larger environmental and food movements with the needs and voices of diverse urban communities such as Castleberry Hill, Mechanicsville and the West End areas of Atlanta.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
March 29, 2012
In Austin, TX there is a tradition of food trucks. To me they kind of look like a cross between a trailer home, a submarine, and the take out window at a fast food joint. But a lot of brick and mortar restaurants get their start as food trucks and you can get a lot of good food at the trucks.
The general path is to start with a truck and move on to a restaurant. One man, however, went kind of backwards. He had a restaurant and then started a food truck. That man is Hoover Alexander.
After several years of running Hoover’s Cooking, a Tex-Mex restaurant, Hoover began to feel disconnected from the passion he had previously had for cooking. He felt as though he was getting away from his roots; from the way his family had taught him to cook according to the seasons using every part of the animal, fish or vegetable you were cooking with.
In an effort to get himself back on track he planted a garden. It was this garden that led to the idea of opening a food truck serving veggie-centric, locally sourced food.
I recently ate there and the food was terrific. For those of you who live in Austin I highly recommend a trip.
Hoover’s Soular Food is located at:
1110 East. 12th St.
March 23, 2012
For this week’s Once A Week Page there is one really simple thing you can do. Go to Just Label It, fill out the info on the right hand side of the page and click send message.
There is a pre-written message that will get sent to the FDA asking that they comply with the legal petition which has been filed requesting the FDA label genetically engineered food.
That’s all you have to do. Easy peasy.
I was driving down the road yesterday on my way to the park since the weather has been so wonderful lately and I heard a really great story on NPR about wicking garden beds. I can't believe I have learned about two great gardening options this year for our Texas heat that I had never heard of before. You can read about…
March 17, 2012
I ran across this post about creating an Herb Spiral on Antony Jones’ web site The Kale Yard. It is an amazing way to grow a number of different herbs that require different growing conditions in a small space.
According to Anthony the idea behind the Herb Spiral is “to get as many different herbs as possible in a confined area. The spiral and the subsequent hight differences mean that you create a number of different environmental conditions which normally would not be possible in a small space.”
The link to directions for how to build an Herb Spiral are here at The Kale Yard.
March 16, 2012
People often ask me what makes a plant an heirloom. Good question. The answer is it depends on who you ask. A good general definition is a plant that was commonly grown in earlier periods of human history, has never been grown on a large agricultural scale and has been around for at least 60 years. Many will also say plants must be open pollinated to qualify.
All this aside, what I really want to talk about today is the Heirloom Plant Database at yourgardenshow.com. If you want to include more heirlooms, or new, interesting heirlooms, in your garden the database is a great place to get ideas. They have wonderful fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers from around the world and from right here at home. And as a plus, many of the heirlooms are great for the edible/ornamental garden like the Moonshadow Hyacinth Bean which has a wonderful purple pod.
If you are looking for places to buy heirloom seeds I recommend Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seeds Trust. There is a plethora of information on the Seeds Trust web site including good information about heirloom, open pollinated and hybrid seeds. (Go to their home page and click Know Thy Seeds then Definitions.)
As for Baker Creek, their web site is good but their free catalog, which can be ordered on the web site, is better than a $30 gardening book you would buy at a store. It is packed with information on the history and care of the plants they sell and interesting quotes from gardeners throughout history.