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Author Topic: SEEDS...  (Read 15587 times)

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...
« Reply #135 on: May 21, 2018, 01:22:38 PM »
Thanks Ilinda - pickling sounds like it might be a good choice for the bitterness.

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Quote from: R.R. Book on April 27, 2018, 06:55:20 PM

    Your own little valley sounds like paradise Ilinda!  Would love more pics!

From Ilinda:
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Will try to get a few pics that can show something other than tire tracks, goat sheds, vehicles, fence posts, bales of old hay, etc. ....

Farms are definitely not 100% picturesque - there is an industrial aspect to each of them, isn't there?  :)

R.R. Book

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Re: SEEDS...Inter-cropping with pole beans
« Reply #136 on: May 24, 2018, 10:50:53 AM »
Am in the process of increasing the productivity of the homestead using an inexpensive, simple method: by expanding the use of purple hyacinth beans (please see post # 113 on this thread) in the scheme of the garden.  Any pole beans will work for this purpose.  These will be inter-cropped with the sunchokes, which are also being encouraged to take up an increasing amount of space in the garden.

First the spring thinning of the sunchokes patches was completed.  This was done in stages. 

Late winter / early spring: As discussed previously, this is the time to dig up 'chokes and harvest some, as they will have overwintered and inulin will have converted to fructose.  Remainders are re-distributed evenly throughout dedicated beds, or just left to keep increasing on their own.

Mid-to-late spring: Shoots will have grown tall enough to reveal additional crowding beneath the soil in sunchoke beds.  Relieving this crowding will increase productivity.  Four options (other than benign neglect) exist at this point:

1. Make a salad with the snapped-off shoots, maybe tossing in some dandelions and violets
2. Provide chop-and-drop from broken-off shoots to livestock
3. Dig up extras carefully and add more dedicated sunchoke patches, judiciously as they are invasive (invasive is a very good word in a famine).  This spring I expanded from 2 to 4 sunchoke beds at no cost just by doing this. 
4. Dig up extras and sell, barter, or share with a friend in need.  If you were to pot them up to sell, you'd have dozens of plants available.

Next, the growing sunchokes are treated as corn stalks in the "Three Sisters" planting scheme: three hyacinth beans (or your favorite pole beans) are sown around each 1' 'choke stalk (which is a giant sunflower) and permitted to climb freely, anchoring stalks in place against strong winds.  This requires a bulk order of bean seed, to save sourcing too many little 2 gram seed packages.  The larger 1/4 ounce packages have 14 times as many seeds for a little over $1 more in cost from Rohrer's.  I purchased 10 bulk packages to get started, and will reap many times that amount, as each bean vine from a single seed will produce many pods.  All parts of a hyacinth bean vine are edible BTW, including leaves and flowers.

The largest sunchoke bed just happens to be located adjacent to the apiary.  The late-blooming sunchoke flowers and sweet-pea-like hyacinth bean blossoms will provide something badly needed by the bees: large quantities of flowers that are still blooming in early autumn when most everything else is done for the season.  Color combination: yellow, pink and purple.

The bean vines will also grab nitrogen from the air and replenish soil fertility, though 'chokes will grow almost anywhere even with neglect.  Store-bought chemical fertilizers will never be needed.

Once stalks have thickened enough, poultry may be permitted into the beds and even allowed to camp there overnight (if beds are fenced) on warm summer and early autumn nights, as opposed to remaining in the coops. They will love this freedom and adventure, freeing coops from needing clean hay for a while, and adding nutrients to the soil with their manure, but you will need to hunt for any eggs that are laid in the gardens.  :)

Total cost for all this benefit to the homestead this spring was $40.55, delivered.  This was a one-time expense that will never need to be repeated.  Scarlet runner beans might be a nice alternative, as they are perennial in milder northern locations. 

Will provide photos when the plants are a little taller.


« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 12:01:59 PM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: SEEDS...Inter-cropping with pole beans
« Reply #137 on: May 24, 2018, 03:37:12 PM »
Am in the process of increasing the productivity of the homestead using an inexpensive, simple method: by expanding the use of purple hyacinth beans (please see post # 113 on this thread) in the scheme of the garden.  Any pole beans will work for this purpose.  These will be inter-cropped with the sunchokes, which are also being encouraged to take up an increasing amount of space in the garden.

First the spring thinning of the sunchokes patches was completed.  This was done in stages. 

Late winter / early spring: As discussed previously, this is the time to dig up 'chokes and harvest some, as they will have overwintered and inulin will have converted to fructose.  Remainders are re-distributed evenly throughout dedicated beds, or just left to keep increasing on their own.

Mid-to-late spring: Shoots will have grown tall enough to reveal additional crowding beneath the soil in sunchoke beds.  Relieving this crowding will increase productivity.  Four options (other than benign neglect) exist at this point:

1. Make a salad with the snapped-off shoots, maybe tossing in some dandelions and violets
2. Provide chop-and-drop from broken-off shoots to livestock
3. Dig up extras carefully and add more dedicated sunchoke patches, judiciously as they are invasive (invasive is a very good word in a famine).  This spring I expanded from 2 to 4 sunchoke beds at no cost just by doing this. 
4. Dig up extras and sell, barter, or share with a friend in need.  If you were to pot them up to sell, you'd have dozens of plants available.

Next, the growing sunchokes are treated as corn stalks in the "Three Sisters" planting scheme: three hyacinth beans (or your favorite pole beans) are sown around each 1' 'choke stalk (which is a giant sunflower) and permitted to climb freely, anchoring stalks in place against strong winds.  This requires a bulk order of bean seed, to save sourcing too many little 2 gram seed packages.  The larger 1/4 ounce packages have 14 times as many seeds for a little over $1 more in cost from Rohrer's.  I purchased 10 bulk packages to get started, and will reap many times that amount, as each bean vine from a single seed will produce many pods.  All parts of a hyacinth bean vine are edible BTW, including leaves and flowers.

The largest sunchoke bed just happens to be located adjacent to the apiary.  The late-blooming sunchoke flowers and sweet-pea-like hyacinth bean blossoms will provide something badly needed by the bees: large quantities of flowers that are still blooming in early autumn when most everything else is done for the season.  Color combination: yellow, pink and purple.

The bean vines will also grab nitrogen from the air and replenish soil fertility, though 'chokes will grow almost anywhere even with neglect.  Store-bought chemical fertilizers will never be needed.

Once stalks have thickened enough, poultry may be permitted into the beds and even allowed to camp there overnight (if beds are fenced) on warm summer and early autumn nights, as opposed to remaining in the coops. They will love this freedom and adventure, freeing coops from needing clean hay for a while, and adding nutrients to the soil with their manure, but you will need to hunt for any eggs that are laid in the gardens.  :)

Total cost for all this benefit to the homestead this spring was $40.55, delivered.  This was a one-time expense that will never need to be repeated.  Scarlet runner beans might be a nice alternative, as they are perennial in milder northern locations. 

Will provide photos when the plants are a little taller.


Looks like a win-win situation.  I'm intrigued by the sunchokes, as I grew them years ago and they did try to, or start to, take over the garden and that is the ONLY reason I finally dug them all up and basically eradicated them.  But being a bit wiser and more able to think outside the box now, maybe it's time to revisit them.  I remember giving away a trash can full of them, just to get them off this farm in the remote chance they could re-establish themselves.

But they are really a winner and you have shown something interesting you do, with the sunchoke stalks, covered by bean vines, making for a makeshift chicken coop for those warm summer nights when the birds would rather be outside anyway, as long as they feel safe. 

Maybe one key is to have animals before growing sunchokes, as you will never feel overwhelmed with too much of any given crop as it will always feed some herbivore animal. 
Good ideas here!

 

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