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Tis The Season – Merry Christmas

xmas-card-2014

Desert Southwest – Making Do With What You Have

I found this picture and had to share it with my blog friends.

Albuquerque, New Mexico In the desert southwest people make do with what they have on hand. In this case its a Tumble Weed Man. Having enough snow on the ground in the desert southwest to make even a small snowman is a rare event.

Please Meet Tumble Weed Man

tumbleweed

Ancient Food Genetics – Leading To Our Future Food Crops?

Source Back to the future

Scientists want ‘rewilded’ crops to boost agriculture. Scientists should “re-wild” food crops by inserting lost genetic properties of ancient, edible plants in order to boost agricultural output for a growing population.

Important properties of wild plants, including varieties of wheat and rice, have been unintentionally lost during thousands of years of breeding. Around 7500 BC, farmers chose to use seeds based on a few selected traits, particularly their yields.

Michael Broberg Palmgren, University of Copenhagen said “We estimate that all crops would benefit from re-wilding.

Is reverse Genetically Modifying Organisms (GMOs) the answer to improving food quality and quantity? Scientists suggest using biotechnology to re-insert desired (lost) genes from wild varieties of popular crops into widely consumed food crops in order to improve food security.

Big Grin. This is going to really screw up all my GMO hating friends.
GMO I hate It..
Reverse GMO I love it..

Which side of this idea are you on?

Happy Holidays

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Sugar Plumbs – Fairies & Spring Gardens

fairy A UK gardener said “I grow a medium size garden every summer and make a second planting in late July or August to provide me with fresh food 8 to 9 months a year. I catch run off water from my gutters to water a few chickens, rabbits and my garden, this provides me all the eggs and most of my yearly meat supply needs. Ducks and geese are easy to raise and require little supplemental feeding.

A Australian gardener said “I have found that it does not require as much water for my garden as I was using when watering from my tap. Now I only water when plants ‘really’ need watering. It seems that waiting it out for normal rain fall is almost always best for me and my garden. I only water now to prevent plants from dieing in the hottest driest parts of summer. Pot and raised bed gardening works well for many but they also require much more daily attention and supplemental watering than simple in ground gardening.

I said “When planting I wide space rows at least 42 or more inches between rows. This allows me easy access to plants when harvesting. It seems to me that plants not being crowed in narrow rows produce more and larger vegetable crops as well. Spreading a thick layer of grass clippings, old soiled hay and chicken litter mulch between rows help keep mud off my shoes, very helpful in weed control and is a real effective soil builder when tilled into the soil at the end of my growing season.

Hint For using a small space to grow big tomato’s. Fertilize ‘them’!
Fertilizers in a bag or box, is the most expensive and least effective way to to add nutrients to your garden. Once started it is difficult to return to less expensive more effective compost, labor intensive manure fertilization regimens.
Fertilizers in a bag or box gives a quick shot to your garden but is quickly used up or lost through water run off and leaching into the ground well below root zones of most plants. Compost and manure is as they say the first slow release fertilizer.

My mail box is being over run with seed and plant catalogs. That’s a good thing. It keeps my mind off of the cold winds and my barren garden plot.

Happy Holidays

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Beet(root) 101

striped beets Source Beet Basics

Beet Find I read this and had to pass it on. Things that you may or may not known about the abused and under used beet(root).

Did you know that one third of the world’s sugar supply comes from a special variety of beets known as the sugar beet? Beets also have the distinction of being very rich in red pigment. In fact, borscht, a traditional Russian soup, is colored red with beet juice.

Beets are sweet and earthy tasting and pair well with tangy sweet fruits like pineapple.
While most beets are deep red in color, there are a number of beet varieties that range in color from white to yellow to red. There’s even one variety, known as the Chioggia beet, which has red and white concentric rings. One variety of beet is known as the spinach, or leaf beet. It is grown for its greens more than it’s root.

When you’re shopping for fresh beets, choose smaller beets over larger, tougher beets, and pass over any beets that are cracked, shriveled or look very dry. If the beet greens are still attached to the root, they should be crisp looking and not wilted or slimy.
Baby beets are available in some specialty and farmer’s markets and are considered a delicacy for their tenderness and delicate flavor.

Cook beets with their skin on to preserve nutrients and to prevent the loss of their deep red color. You should leave about half inch of the stem on while cooking. Adding a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar to the pot can help preserve the color of the beets.

Beets are a great source of iron, potassium and magnesium, although an abundance of nutrition actually lies in its leafy greens. A half cup of beet greens, cooked, supplies upwards of 92% of your daily need for vitamin A. Beet greens are also high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.

From my if you really care department.
Nutritional facts for one half cup of beets:
Calories: 37
Fat: 0
Carbohydrates: 8g (2g dietary fiber)
Protein: 1g
Nutrients and RDAs:
20mg magnesium (6%-7%)
32mg phosphorus (4.5%)
1mg iron (10%)
3mg vitamin C (5%)
68mcg folate (17%)
259mg potassium (8%-13%)

Merry Christmas

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Christmas Party Fruit Mix

Assorted fruits ‘your choice’. Berries any kind, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries go together well. Place fruit/berries in layers in a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup white sugar. Sprinkle with 1 cup good quality champagne. Mix well to coat fruit with sugar and champagne ‘Just’ before serving.

Hint Serve chilled or on a bed of ice.

Merry Christmas

Fresh Fruit Holiday

Stop don’t toss your almost over ripe fruit in the dumpster or compost pile. Wash well and de-seed your leftover fruit. Well everything except for berries that have all those tiny seeds.
If you have only a small amount of several different fruits, combine them to make a mixed fruit jam. Do not forget to through in any left over dry fruit, raisins, cranberry’s etc that you may have on hand.

Fine chop or use a blender or food processor. Put your chopped / processed fruit in a sauce pan. Add 1 or more sugar(to taste). Cover chopped fruit with fruit juice (the kind that you like) or use tap water. Heat to a slow boil, string often to dissolve sugar and to prevent scorching.

Bring to a hard(rapid) boil for about 20 minutes. Add pectin, continuing boiling another 5 minutes or so. remove from stove top, fill hot, sterilized jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 to 20 minutes. Carefully remove jars from boiling water bath. Allow to cool. This may take as much as 24 hours.
Check jar lid seals. Any jar that did not properly seal, store in your refrigerator and eat with in the next few days.

Like old Ben(Benjamin Franklin) and grandma said. Waste not want not.

Merry Christmas

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