Planet X Town Hall

Socrates & R.R. Book - PERMACULTURE, and methods for gathering food and water => PERMACULTURE => Topic started by: R.R. Book on March 10, 2017, 08:17:11 AM

Title: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 10, 2017, 08:17:11 AM
Hi all,

Socrates, thank you for your wisdom and your passionate stewardship of the earth.  This sub-thread is focused upon homesteads north of the Mason-Dixon line, but Southerners may have lots to contribute as well.

I've spent the past several years intensively studying and experimenting with Eric Toensmeier's book Perrennial Vegetables, and here is what I have learned:

Some edible species which are so invasive that they may be illegal in some Southern locations may be suitable for Northern gardens as dieback perennials.  One invasive that carries the potential to be a reliable northern starvation ration is sunchokes, aka Jerusalem artichokes, which are essentially a sunflower and one of many alternative species of potato or sweet potato.  Even a small remnant of one of these tubers may be used to amass a whole colony of plants in a short period of time.  This plant allows northerners to overwinter something more nutrient-dense than salad greens.

The Nutrition Data website gives the following nutritional profile for a cup of uncooked Sunchoke tubers: 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 26g carbohydrates including 2g fiber, 3g protein, 10% daily vitamin C and 20% daily iron. If that raw bit of sunchoke were brushed with olive oil or butter and sprinkled with sea salt, the nutritional profile would be still more enhanced.  Some fingerling potatoes are also hardy enough to be left in the ground to overwinter, and Fedco of Maine carries a selection, as well as Roninger's Potato Farm in Colorado.

Toensmeier challenges northerners to re-think the severely limited number of species that we consider to be food.  Sunchokes are in essence a northern type of potato.  Sea kale can be thought of as perpetual northern broccoli.  Lovage satisfies the cooking requirement for both parsley and celery, and is medicinal as well as being a bee magnet.  Chives replace onions in the garden, and there is a kind of patented French sorrel which forms tidy clumps and does not bolt (go to flower and then die back) that is available from Richter's in Canada or Food Forest Farm in Massachusetts which satisfies the need for perpetual greens, in addition to many other spinach-like species that will overwinter in the north.  Skirret is the northern perennial carrot/parsnip, available at Oikos Tree Crops of Michigan.

Any other thoughts?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on March 10, 2017, 05:02:21 PM
Thanks for your thoughtful post, R.R.Book.

Jerusalem Artichokes are as you describe and here's my addendum.  Here in Missouri's Ozarks in southeast MO, I grew them years ago and unfortunately planted them in our well-dug garden, where they did become invasive.  Had I realized that even in our temperate climate their potential I would have planted them outside the garden where they would be better kept in check.

So I dug and dug and finally got rid of them, and now have regretted it ever since.  I want to re-start them as I agree with everyone who taks of their high nutritient qualities.  We found they are great baked with potatoes, onions, etc., as long as they are not broken open.  But slice them open and bake them, and every single thing in the dish tastes like Jerusalem Artichokes!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Socrates on March 11, 2017, 04:38:54 AM
My focus has always been toward semi-arid 'gardening' but Paul Wheaton (http://www.permies.com) is possibly the world's most influential permaculture facilitator and he's up in cooler regions [Montana]. Listening to him i picked up a few extremely interesting facts that i'd never considered before, like
- soil holds onto it's value must longer and easier in colder regions since bacteria and other lifeforms die off or go dormant in winter. In warmer regions, everything gets eaten up much quicker [assuming you can keep it moist].
- though higher [in the Northern hemisphere] latitudes have sunlight that is a bit less intense, the fact that there are more hours in the day levels the playing field. Assuming you can take advantage of the extra hours [and your plants don't end up in the shade at some point or something], there's no reason most plants shouldn't have enough (i.e. compared to more southernly regions).

Hey, if the world goes into some sort of nuclear winter, it could be that people in now semi-arid regions then find themselves dealing with conditions people farther away from the equator are used to dealing with; it's good to know a few things about the differences.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 11, 2017, 02:19:59 PM
Hi Ilinda, I hope you get your separate sunchoke patch up and growing again, even if only for the extra peace of mind in knowing it's a reliable staple crop.  A friend of mine who farms 90 acres just keeps his on one big open mound at one end of his farm, not even in or near a garden.  I have them growing in dedicated quarantined beds at opposite ends of my little homestead, and just maintain paths around them for access.

Socrates, Thank you for all the great links that you post.  It will take me some time to digest all of your shared material.

Some other northern analog crops to share: Instead of tomatoes, there are sweet distant relatives such as cape gooseberries/ground cherries (similar growth habit to tomatilloes) that self-sow prolifically.  The pineapple flavored variety (Aunt Molly's) tastes awesome and fruits heavily the same season it's planted, but causes me to break out in hives, so allergy sufferers should be cautious. 

Alternatively, cherry tomatoes are perpetual if overwintered in a pot indoors, as are pepper plants.  Tumbling Tom cherry tomatoes make a gorgeous hanging basket both indoors and out.

Dandelion offers both a source of greens and a source of carotenes in the flower, which is a delicacy pan grilled in butter.

Although Good King Henry is touted as a kind of spinach, I find the seed head on the tops of the plants to be far more interesting and edible.  This plant is in the amaranth family and the abundant seed, which should be soaked overnight before using, is similar to quinoa, which provides a substitute for the taste of corn for dishes such as grits.  The plant makes a reliable and handsome medium-tall crop row in the garden.

Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 22, 2017, 11:51:53 AM
Adding a few more northern perennial permaculture crops that I'm experimenting with, some of which are variants of weeds!

Garlic chives - has both the garlic and onion flavor in one convenient crop.  Richter's of Canada carries started plug packs.

Groleau chives, also available at Richter's, is a cultivar for growing indoors under low-lighting conditions.

Dandelions that have been selected for non-bitterness (though the bitterness is actually beneficial for liver and GB) -   Cultivars Vollherzigen and Full Heart are available as started plants at Oikos Tree Crops.

Miners' lettuce or Claytonia seeds from Sowtrueseed.com

Chickweed seeds from Sowtrueseed.com (A half cup contains 375 mg of vitamin C, which is several times as much as an orange contains, so it's a good non-citrus source of C for northerners - see one of my favorite websites, the Plants for a Future database, for more details).









Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on March 22, 2017, 04:30:35 PM
Adding a few more northern perennial permaculture crops that I'm experimenting with, some of which are variants of weeds!

Garlic chives - has both the garlic and onion flavor in one convenient crop.  Richter's of Canada carries started plug packs.

Groleau chives, also available at Richter's, is a cultivar for growing indoors under low-lighting conditions.

Dandelions that have been selected for non-bitterness (though the bitterness is actually beneficial for liver and GB) -   Cultivars Vollherzigen and Full Heart are available as started plants at Oikos Tree Crops.

Miners' lettuce or Claytonia seeds from Sowtrueseed.com

Chickweed seeds from Sowtrueseed.com (A half cup contains 375 mg of vitamin C, which is several times as much as an orange contains, so it's a good non-citrus source of C for northerners - see one of my favorite websites, the Plants for a Future database, for more details).
And according to some goat books, chickweed is higher in copper than many plants which makes it good for goats, as copper in the system tends to be unpalatable to intestinal parasites.  It doesn't kill them, per se, but they don't like the environment.

And for humans, it's good to know of plants with important trace minerals, as well as good ol' vitamin C.
Title: Re: chickweed
Post by: Socrates on March 22, 2017, 06:53:13 PM
I loves me chickweed!  :P
And it's all over the place this time of year here in Holland. Thank you! for letting me know it's a good source of copper. I've actually made colloidal copper before to make sure i get enough; now i know that i just have to harvest more chickweed.  :D
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Solani on March 26, 2017, 03:08:57 PM
Not sure what sub/category to write this. Let me know where to move it if it's in the wrong place.  8)

Growing potatoes in colder climate

I REALLY need to stop typing directly online... :( and type whatever in a document on my computer first. I don’t know how many times I’ve lost everything I’ve written, before I’ve been able to push the post button… Heck! I even think about the possibility of losing whatever loooooong post I’m writing before it happens. You’d think that would give me a clue??!? *ARRRRG*

So, here’s the second version for today… :P

What I’m writing here is how I’ve grown potatoes for many years now. Having lived in Sweden, where even if it does get very cold in the winters, potatoes grow successfully in large fields or in folks’ gardens. My house/property which I left when I moved over here to Canada is built on “mountain” and I only had a foot of earth/dirt before hitting bedrock, which made it a pain in the rear to plant stuff such as potatoes, carrots and other root veggies.

Coming here to Canada last winter to live with Dan I decided to “upgrade” my way of growing potatoes. Potatoes would most likely grow directly in the earth here as well but, season is shorter than it is in Sweden. In Sweden I would grow potatoes in layers of old car tires, stacked on each other as the potato plants grew. Here at Dan’s place I not only found LOTS of car tires but also many large old rear tractor tires. Geeez, sometimes I feel that what I can’t find out here, most likely doesn’t exist!! ;) Dan is a long time “hoarder” from everything to scrap metal, machinery, vehicles, tools (new and old) and much more… Took me the better part of last year to clear the first floor of the house…  :o Not to mention all the “fights” when I wanted to junk something that hmmm… “could be good to have”. I was lucky that his sister came up from Mississippi last summer for a month long visit and she took most of the “battles”.  ;D Didn’t throw everything away but, anything that doesn’t serve a purpose inside the house, had to “move out", into one of the many buildings outside. Anyhow… got sidetracked… ;)

I chose to use the large rear tractor tires for my “potato grow-op…” Same way as I would grow in the car tires but bigger. (bigger = more potatoes without more work...  ::) ) First I put down a 1-foot layer of straw on the ground where I was going to place the tires. Hauled the tires with the tractor and laid them down on top of the straw-beds I’d made. Next I took/take straw mixed with dirt and fill the sides (inner walls) of the tires to insulate from the cold but also it helps keep the moisture and warmth in the soil where the potatoes will grow. Also that the tires are black, makes it warmer…

I pre-plant my potatoes in gallon buckets of well fertilized soil. I use a mix of chicken and 2-year-old horse poop as fertilizing agent. When the potato plants have grown to be about 4 inches tall and have sprouted a healthy set of green leaves I bring the buckets outside during the daytime and set them next to the tires when the outside temperature during the day is warm, so they can get used to being outside before I permanently plant them in the tires. I mix the soil in the bottom tire with same type of fertilizer.

I also make sure that hopefully the frosty nights have past before permanently planting the potatoes outside. I water the prepared soil in the tires the evening before I plant the “potato babies”, giving it a thorough soak. Come morning I’m up with the sun and transfer the baby potato plants to the soil in the tires. You can fit about 8 – 10 potato plants in one large rear tractor tire and 4 potatoes in a car tire. One difference if using car tires, you need to start out with 2 tires stacked on each other, since they aren’t as “deep” as a rear tractor tire. You can also do a similar variation using a big plastic rain barrel. Just make sure you have a ring of holes drilled in the bottom of the barrel so water won’t collect and rot your potatoes from the bottom up. You can also place a layer of fist size rocks in the bottom of the barrel. The barrel method is a good way for someone that lives in a city that perhaps only has a balcony to plant their own potatoes. Just make sure you have a deep platter or dish under the barrel so your neighbor under you doesn’t have a conniption due to getting “rained on”.  ;)

Hmmm… back to the tractor potatoes…   :P
 
OK, so now we have the potato babies planted in the tires… Make sure to have a big pile of straw ready just in case it looks like it’s going to freeze during the night, so you can pile that straw on top of your potato plants during the night. Potatoes are quite hardy once they’ve adapted to being outside but don’t do all that well with frost during the first week or so when newly planted outside. The straw will protect from the brunt of a nightly freeze but if it looks like it’s going to be more than just a light drop in temperature, you can also add a tarp on top of the straw. Once the potatoes/leafage have grown to be about a foot above the soil, add more soil. (no need for more fertilizer) Just make sure that you don’t cover the plants completely. You need to have at least 6 inches of leafage above soil. Adding soil like this as they grow, will create room for more potatoes to grow under the soil. When needed, add another tire and keep adding soil as the potato plants grow. (insulate those tires with straw too) Last year I had 2 big 4 tire high stacks full of potatoes. Come time for harvest (after the first frost) “just knock the tire stack over…” Hmm… if you don’t have a tractor or a 4-wheel drive truck that you can attach a cable of sort to the stack or top tire to pull them down, go with the regular car tires. Those big tires are HEAVY… but well worth it. But do one layer of tire at a time if possible. (Which ever method you use to pull the tires down, make sure you or anyone else is nowhere near them and absolutely not downhill from them... That goes for your truck, tractor, house etc. as well. A runaway/rollaway tractor tire that has a mind of its own, can be downright evil!) All you do then is sort through the soil, basket the potatoes and store them somewhere well ventilated and cool. Don’t wash the dirt off of the potatoes until you are ready to use them.

I would plant my potatoes this way even if I did live in a warmer climate. I’m lazy and it sure saves your back not having to harvest from a field… Make sure you water your tire potatoes, depending on what your climate is like.

When you get down to the bottom tire, you can leave those potatoes in the dirt if you want, topping off with a thick layer of straw and a tarp. I have a friend that just heaps a thick layer of straw on top of the bottom layer/tire and a tarp on top of everything and come spring, she removes the tarp first and a few weeks later the straw and whatever potatoes that were left in the dirt sprout and that’s the start of her next year crop… I haven’t gotten that to work yet but I’ve seen hers.

//Solani
Title: Re: chickweed
Post by: Yowbarb on March 26, 2017, 04:36:37 PM
I loves me chickweed!  :P
And it's all over the place this time of year here in Holland. Thank you! for letting me know it's a good source of copper. I've actually made colloidal copper before to make sure i get enough; now i know that i just have to harvest more chickweed.  :D
Coffee beverage made of dandelions, chickweed... This kind of product probably plentiful in Europe... my understanding is, these plants are good for the liver. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Chickweed-Herbal-Coffee-Stellaria-Caffeine/dp/B00N6M3K6K
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Yowbarb on March 26, 2017, 04:37:45 PM
Solani, what great tips! Thanks for sharing!
 8)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 28, 2017, 10:33:25 AM
Hi Solani,

Seems as if those big tractor tires might also allow you a spot to sit while working, to some degree, which could help to spare your back as well as your energy in the summer heat.  Would love to see photos when your garden comes up this year!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 28, 2017, 10:50:18 AM
Yowbarb,

Thank you for the chickweed coffee link!  I consulted the Plants for a Future database, and was surprised to see how many species they're calling "coffee":

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Search_Use.aspx?glossary=Coffee
Title: Re: chickweed
Post by: ilinda on March 28, 2017, 05:24:30 PM
I loves me chickweed!  :P
And it's all over the place this time of year here in Holland. Thank you! for letting me know it's a good source of copper. I've actually made colloidal copper before to make sure i get enough; now i know that i just have to harvest more chickweed.  :D
Coffee beverage made of dandelions, chickweed... This kind of product probably plentiful in Europe... my understanding is, these plants are good for the liver. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Chickweed-Herbal-Coffee-Stellaria-Caffeine/dp/B00N6M3K6K
Wow, that's a new one--chickweed and dandelion coffee.  Do you like it? 
Title: Re: coffee
Post by: Socrates on March 28, 2017, 07:27:17 PM
A collegue of mine is going to the Philippines in April [i.e. 2017];
ANYONE INTERESTED IN ORDERING COCAO OR COFFEE BEANS, ORDER (through me) NOW...
And, in case you hadn't noticed, it is extremely hard to come by live coffee or cocao beans as the producers of said beans are wary of competition...
Hey, i searched through Ebay and found zilch. Take advantage.
But of course it's good to know how to make other kinds. Can you recognize the chicory plant...?
Title: Re: chickweed
Post by: Yowbarb on March 28, 2017, 11:08:50 PM
I loves me chickweed!  :P
And it's all over the place this time of year here in Holland. Thank you! for letting me know it's a good source of copper. I've actually made colloidal copper before to make sure i get enough; now i know that i just have to harvest more chickweed.  :D
Coffee beverage made of dandelions, chickweed... This kind of product probably plentiful in Europe... my understanding is, these plants are good for the liver. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Chickweed-Herbal-Coffee-Stellaria-Caffeine/dp/B00N6M3K6K
Wow, that's a new one--chickweed and dandelion coffee.  Do you like it?

Years ago I bought "coffee subs" many from Germany. Some did have dandelion and I think the chickweed as well... I consider them a food... Fresher would be better of course. Update, no the main brands I see do not have the chickweed.
I am going to shop for some, even though I do drink coffee now, my body liked those sub drinks... Weren't very expensive, either.  http://commonsensehome.com/herbal-coffee-alternatives/  this site ahs good stuff not seeing chickweed in this one.

Update Here's one product I just found... has the chickweed!

https://www.amazon.com/Chickweed-Herbal-Coffee-Stellaria-Caffeine/dp/B00N6M3K6K

Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Yowbarb on March 28, 2017, 11:16:22 PM
Chickweed seeds

https://www.amazon.com/HEIRLOOM-NON-GMO-Chickweed-seeds/dp/B00KPGJQ5O

Dandelion  http://heirloomseeds.com/herb-seeds-heirloom/dandelion-certified-organic.html

Chicory
http://heirloomseeds.com/herb-seeds-heirloom/dandelion-certified-organic.htmlChicory
Title: Re: edible herbs
Post by: Socrates on March 29, 2017, 03:42:34 AM
these kind of edible herbs are everywhere here in Holland right now [though, to be truthful, no so much chicory as i would like].
However, when i was down in the Canary Islands, there was none of all that and very little to be found in the way of edible herbs. A few seeds of edible herbs would certainly not hurt...  8)

I remember running into a tiny purslane plant on La Gomera...
(http://worldcrops.org/sites/worldcrops.org/files/crops/DSCN1054.jpg)
... and thinking: "Oh, sh!t! I have GOT to enclose this plant, water it, and save it from any goats that happen by!"... [purslane is tasty and offers great amounts of omega 3 fatty acids]
But, of course, wouldn't it just be wonderful to possess purslane seeds instead? I.E. instead of just hoping you run into something edible?
I'm just sayin'
Title: Re: coffee
Post by: ilinda on March 29, 2017, 05:40:25 PM
A collegue of mine is going to the Philippines in April [i.e. 2017];
ANYONE INTERESTED IN ORDERING COCAO OR COFFEE BEANS, ORDER (through me) NOW...
And, in case you hadn't noticed, it is extremely hard to come by live coffee or cocao beans as the producers of said beans are wary of competition...
Hey, i searched through Ebay and found zilch. Take advantage.
But of course it's good to know how to make other kinds. Can you recognize the chicory plant...?
Chicory when small resembles dandelion leaves, although rougher and slightly larger.  But as chicory grows it's obviously something different and sends up a rather tall spike with blue flowers.  It's the root that is often used as a coffee substitute.  Maybe everyone knows that....
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 31, 2017, 10:58:51 AM
Chicory grows in masses along the roadside here, blended with crown vetch, red clover and dame's rocket.  It's a really pretty mass of pastels in late spring (and full of deer ticks) :(

As far as the alternative coffees, I've only ever tasted the Dandyblend.  Was making soap in my Amish neighbor's kitchen on an especially foul-weather day, and she made me a hot cup of it with a drop of stevia and some fresh raw cream - it was even more yummy than hot chocolate! 
Title: Re: Dandyblend
Post by: Socrates on March 31, 2017, 11:37:46 AM
Was making soap in my Amish neighbor's kitchen on an especially foul-weather day, and she made me a hot cup of it with a drop of stevia and some fresh raw cream - it was even more yummy than hot chocolate!
PLEASE..., more details. It is for this kind of gold nuggets that i visit Planet X Townhall daily!

How do i exactly make a Dandyblend?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on March 31, 2017, 12:09:44 PM
Hi Socrates,

It's available in most health food stores in the U.S., and even available in Walmart I believe.  Here's a link for it on Amazon - a bit pricey, but might make a really good long-term storage drink/supplement/food for bringing into the Aftertime.

https://www.amazon.com/Dandy-Blend-Instant-Beverage-Dandelion/dp/B000SMN0DO/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1490987230&sr=8-1&keywords=dandy%2Bblend&th=1

Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 05, 2017, 02:21:20 PM
More about skirret (perennial northern "carrots"):

The first time that I attempted to grow this crop, I made the mistake of planting them in a deep cedar box with no bottom, in other words a raised bed.  If you have any burrowing animals, there will need to be a bottom layer of stones between the planting soil and the ground surface.  My skirret had grown to full size over that whole first summer, but when I went to harvest some in the fall, everything below the crown of the plant was gone, and it could not have been due to rotting, as there was excellent drainage in the deep box.

Both fortunately and unfortunately, groundhogs are plentiful here: Unfortunate for the skirret, but maybe fortunate for the meat in the aftertimes, as I just learned that it tastes delicious when roasted and is not at all gamey. :)  Am now using a series of 2x4 galvanized troughs that have been punctured for drainage, instead of raised beds.

(http://)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on April 05, 2017, 03:58:49 PM
Skirret is offered in the listings with Seed Savers Exchange and I've often wanted to plant it.  Had no idea the roots were so long.  Do you bake it or shred it for salads or?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 05, 2017, 04:29:51 PM
Hi Ilinda,

It's very sweet, with the name meaning "sugar root," and can be used in any way that carrots can be used.

I should clarify that skirret is usually not harvested the first year while the plant is becoming established.  That first summer that I grew it, I was planning to harvest a little the first year because they were purchased as older plants.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 06, 2017, 05:59:10 AM
Recipe for skirret pie

(http://)

Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 06, 2017, 06:16:58 AM
Recipe for Skirret Fritters:
(http://)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on April 06, 2017, 04:15:33 PM
Both recipes sound really delicious, like a dessert right out of the garden.  Since skirret so sweet, it might resemble parsnips, which I grow and which are so sweet that it's more like eating dessert in the middle of the meal.

I grate them and mix with other diced or grated veggies such as shallots, sweet red pepper, potatoes, carrots, sweet potato, and stir fry it all together in olive oil in a cast iron skillet.  You can even throw in broccoli.  OMG, it is truly delicious.

Am thinking of grating some parsnips to substitute for carrots in carrot cake, well... parsnip cake.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on April 06, 2017, 04:21:07 PM
Not sure what sub/category to write this. Let me know where to move it if it's in the wrong place.  8)

Growing potatoes in colder climate

I REALLY need to stop typing directly online... :( and type whatever in a document on my computer first. I don’t know how many times I’ve lost everything I’ve written, before I’ve been able to push the post button… Heck! I even think about the possibility of losing whatever loooooong post I’m writing before it happens. You’d think that would give me a clue??!? *ARRRRG*

So, here’s the second version for today… :P

What I’m writing here is how I’ve grown potatoes for many years now. Having lived in Sweden, where even if it does get very cold in the winters, potatoes grow successfully in large fields or in folks’ gardens. My house/property which I left when I moved over here to Canada is built on “mountain” and I only had a foot of earth/dirt before hitting bedrock, which made it a pain in the rear to plant stuff such as potatoes, carrots and other root veggies.

Coming here to Canada last winter to live with Dan I decided to “upgrade” my way of growing potatoes. Potatoes would most likely grow directly in the earth here as well but, season is shorter than it is in Sweden. In Sweden I would grow potatoes in layers of old car tires, stacked on each other as the potato plants grew. Here at Dan’s place I not only found LOTS of car tires but also many large old rear tractor tires. Geeez, sometimes I feel that what I can’t find out here, most likely doesn’t exist!! ;) Dan is a long time “hoarder” from everything to scrap metal, machinery, vehicles, tools (new and old) and much more… Took me the better part of last year to clear the first floor of the house…  :o Not to mention all the “fights” when I wanted to junk something that hmmm… “could be good to have”. I was lucky that his sister came up from Mississippi last summer for a month long visit and she took most of the “battles”.  ;D Didn’t throw everything away but, anything that doesn’t serve a purpose inside the house, had to “move out", into one of the many buildings outside. Anyhow… got sidetracked… ;)

I chose to use the large rear tractor tires for my “potato grow-op…” Same way as I would grow in the car tires but bigger. (bigger = more potatoes without more work...  ::) ) First I put down a 1-foot layer of straw on the ground where I was going to place the tires. Hauled the tires with the tractor and laid them down on top of the straw-beds I’d made. Next I took/take straw mixed with dirt and fill the sides (inner walls) of the tires to insulate from the cold but also it helps keep the moisture and warmth in the soil where the potatoes will grow. Also that the tires are black, makes it warmer…

I pre-plant my potatoes in gallon buckets of well fertilized soil. I use a mix of chicken and 2-year-old horse poop as fertilizing agent. When the potato plants have grown to be about 4 inches tall and have sprouted a healthy set of green leaves I bring the buckets outside during the daytime and set them next to the tires when the outside temperature during the day is warm, so they can get used to being outside before I permanently plant them in the tires. I mix the soil in the bottom tire with same type of fertilizer.

I also make sure that hopefully the frosty nights have past before permanently planting the potatoes outside. I water the prepared soil in the tires the evening before I plant the “potato babies”, giving it a thorough soak. Come morning I’m up with the sun and transfer the baby potato plants to the soil in the tires. You can fit about 8 – 10 potato plants in one large rear tractor tire and 4 potatoes in a car tire. One difference if using car tires, you need to start out with 2 tires stacked on each other, since they aren’t as “deep” as a rear tractor tire. You can also do a similar variation using a big plastic rain barrel. Just make sure you have a ring of holes drilled in the bottom of the barrel so water won’t collect and rot your potatoes from the bottom up. You can also place a layer of fist size rocks in the bottom of the barrel. The barrel method is a good way for someone that lives in a city that perhaps only has a balcony to plant their own potatoes. Just make sure you have a deep platter or dish under the barrel so your neighbor under you doesn’t have a conniption due to getting “rained on”.  ;)

Hmmm… back to the tractor potatoes…   :P
 
OK, so now we have the potato babies planted in the tires… Make sure to have a big pile of straw ready just in case it looks like it’s going to freeze during the night, so you can pile that straw on top of your potato plants during the night. Potatoes are quite hardy once they’ve adapted to being outside but don’t do all that well with frost during the first week or so when newly planted outside. The straw will protect from the brunt of a nightly freeze but if it looks like it’s going to be more than just a light drop in temperature, you can also add a tarp on top of the straw. Once the potatoes/leafage have grown to be about a foot above the soil, add more soil. (no need for more fertilizer) Just make sure that you don’t cover the plants completely. You need to have at least 6 inches of leafage above soil. Adding soil like this as they grow, will create room for more potatoes to grow under the soil. When needed, add another tire and keep adding soil as the potato plants grow. (insulate those tires with straw too) Last year I had 2 big 4 tire high stacks full of potatoes. Come time for harvest (after the first frost) “just knock the tire stack over…” Hmm… if you don’t have a tractor or a 4-wheel drive truck that you can attach a cable of sort to the stack or top tire to pull them down, go with the regular car tires. Those big tires are HEAVY… but well worth it. But do one layer of tire at a time if possible. (Which ever method you use to pull the tires down, make sure you or anyone else is nowhere near them and absolutely not downhill from them... That goes for your truck, tractor, house etc. as well. A runaway/rollaway tractor tire that has a mind of its own, can be downright evil!) All you do then is sort through the soil, basket the potatoes and store them somewhere well ventilated and cool. Don’t wash the dirt off of the potatoes until you are ready to use them.

I would plant my potatoes this way even if I did live in a warmer climate. I’m lazy and it sure saves your back not having to harvest from a field… Make sure you water your tire potatoes, depending on what your climate is like.

When you get down to the bottom tire, you can leave those potatoes in the dirt if you want, topping off with a thick layer of straw and a tarp. I have a friend that just heaps a thick layer of straw on top of the bottom layer/tire and a tarp on top of everything and come spring, she removes the tarp first and a few weeks later the straw and whatever potatoes that were left in the dirt sprout and that’s the start of her next year crop… I haven’t gotten that to work yet but I’ve seen hers.

//Solani
When did you plant your potatoes this year, assuming you already did.  BTW, thanks for the detailed explanations, which some farther south probably wouldn't need to do, but with such unpredictable weather, who knows.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 06, 2017, 05:41:51 PM
Ilinda, your parsnip dish sounds wonderful!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 25, 2017, 03:43:30 PM
Uploading a diagram of one of our permaculture areas that my sons helped me create over the years as a home-school project.  All on less than two acres that is more than half wooded.  More diagrams soon.  Many thanks once again to Barb Townsend for the link to info on Siberian Pea.


Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 25, 2017, 06:37:21 PM
Uploading diagram of south yard, an integrated fenced area combining critters, compost and crops, with gates to let critters out to forage.  All another former home school project.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 26, 2017, 05:14:14 AM
Uploading diagram of north yard.  None of our gardens are this neat and tidy in real life!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on April 27, 2017, 03:12:26 PM
Updated east yard diagram -
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on May 15, 2017, 08:04:33 AM
Adding the common weed Henbit Deadnettle (Lamium amplexicaule) to the list of temperate-climate edibles.  Even though it's not perennial, it is a cold-weather annual that self-sows prolifically and is packed with nutrition for both people and poultry.  It is also an important bee nectary plant in the north. 

Here is a disambiguation of henbit, creeping Charlie, and purple dead nettle: http://identifythatplant.com/three-easily-mixed-up-early-spring-plants/

According to Ediblewildfood.com: "Edible parts: Henbit can be consumed fresh or cooked as an edible herb, and it can be used in teas. The stem, flowers, and leaves are edible, and although this is in the mint family, many people say it tastes slightly like raw kale, not like mint. Henbit is very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins and fibre. You can add raw henbit to salads, soups, wraps, or green smoothies. According to Natural Medicinal Herbs (dot net) this plant is anti-rheumatic, diaphoretic, an excitant, febrifuge, a laxative and a stimulant."

PFAF says: "Edible Uses: Young leaves - raw or cooked; added to salads or used as a potherb."

In looking for specific nutritional content, I came across this interesting chart from Mother Earth: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/wild-foods-zmaz86jazgoe .  As mentioned above, henbit is more closely related to mints with its square stem than to nettles, so a comparable nutritional profile might be 32 calories per 100 grams, 3g protein, .7g fat, 194 mg calcium, 48 mg phosphorus, 3.8 mg iron, 2 mg sodium, 179 mg potassium, 1,296 mg vitamin A, .13 mg thiamine, .16 mg riboflavin, .7 mg niacin, 64 mg vitamin C.  The purple-colored flowers should be rich in the polyphenol flavonoid proanthocyanidin, a strong antioxidant and important contributor to collagen strength that is also under investigation for anti-cancer benefits.

I also came across an explanation of why the word "dead" is in the common names of some "nettles": "Dead" means "non-stinging."  The dead nettles are in the Lamium genus, while the stinging nettles are in the Urtica genus.


Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on May 16, 2017, 05:10:24 PM
I had no idea henbit was so useful!  I leave it in the garden every spring as long as possible because honeybees like it, and IIRC bumblebees also.  Anyway, when the flowers are done, then I can remove and plant.

Maybe now we can eat some.  Anyone else tried it yet?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on May 16, 2017, 06:21:55 PM
Hi Ilinda,

I'm thinking of making a separate little garden patch for some of it to remain permanently, and will try it in a chef salad this week and report back.

What are IIRC bumblebees?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on May 17, 2017, 06:30:48 PM
Hi Ilinda,

I'm thinking of making a separate little garden patch for some of it to remain permanently, and will try it in a chef salad this week and report back.

What are IIRC bumblebees?
Oops.  Sorry to use that.  IIRC = If I Recall Correctly....

I think I'll start a new topic about these abbreviations.  In visiting one forum in particular, a Linux users group, there are so many abbreviations thrown around that it's not easy for a newbie to even figure out what they are talking about sometimes.  In other forum settings, they are rarely used.  I'm guilty of using IOW for in other words and a few more.  That will be a project for this week.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on May 25, 2017, 08:21:14 AM
Don't know if anyone here reads Farmer Scrub's blog ( http://farmerscrub.blogspot.com/ ), but he is an admirer of Carol Deppe, and writes extensively about how to intercrop permie plants to make them produce more in less space, including diagrams. 

Regarding sunchokes, he suggests fermenting them before eating to make them more digestible for folks who don't tolerate the inulin starch well.  A nearby elderly farmer here says that sunchokes need to be overwintered in the ground, allowing the gassy starch to turn to sugar, and that they are eaten in late winter / early spring as a more digestible starvation ration.  If any of you who are knowledgeable about fermenting foods have ideas about how to ferment sunchokes for warm season eating, please share!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on May 29, 2017, 05:51:32 PM
I don't know if any of you loved the Christy series as much as I did.  Long story short, young girl from rich family leaves wealth behind to follow calling as a teacher deep in the mountains.  Finds herself with two contending suitors, of course.  Deep poverty there, but wealth of natural resources.  Favorite episode was at Thanksgiving time [SPOILER ALERT]: Just as the people are on the verge of facing a bleak winter and the prospect of losing their mountain to a developer, a couple of them go exploring and discover, just in the nick of time, a wealth of mature persimmon trees laden with fruit in a clearing deep in the woods that they never knew existed.  They work together to produce jams etc. to sell to city folk for the Christmas season.

If you've never had a persimmon, they are from native American fruiting trees (non-American cultivars also exist) in the Diospyros genus that fill a couple of important niches in the north:

First, they have longevity, and are roughly equivalent in taste and appearance to apricots, which do not have longevity here (they often tend to die in as many years as it took them to come to maturity). 

Second, they bear in the off-season in mid to late autumn, and edible fruit can still be found clinging to the trees in winter.

The trick to getting good fruit from the American varieties is to leave them on the tree (or let them drop on their own) until they are fully ripe and wrinkled - bite into one too soon and you get a mouth full of bitter astringency. :P  When they do get ripe and drop, then you are competing with area wildlife for the luscious windfalls.

Planted a pair of them in early spring.  One broke dormancy and leafed out beautifully, while the other one has yet to break dormancy two months later.  So I covered the tree in sheet plastic and am "sweating" it until the buds open up.  Important to do because the tree will not put on growth until it wakes up.  Recipes to follow :)


Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on May 29, 2017, 06:28:21 PM
Persimmon bread recipe:
http://honest-food.net/persimmon-nut-bread-recipe/

(and some recipes add 2/3 c bourbon or cognac) ;)

Persimmon pudding recipe:
http://www.food.com/recipe/persimmon-pudding-15963


Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on May 30, 2017, 06:30:14 PM
Does that ever look tasty!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 08, 2017, 02:48:28 PM
Adding photo of annual Seminole pumpkins coming up in a hay bale amongst the perennial blueberries - no space is wasted!  Advantages of the hay bale:

1. Can utilize this space between blueberry bushes without disturbing their shallow roots.
2. Pumpkins and blueberries have differing pH requirements, and need their own soil
3. Curcubits in this area are notorious for diseases (Seminole is an exception), and this way a problem is not being encouraged in situ
4. When done with this annual crop, hay will be broken down to mulch the shallow blueberry roots
5. Instead of having to rotate the crop, I can plant pumpkins in hay in the same spot next year
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: good perpetual fruits for a bug-out bag or barter
Post by: R.R. Book on June 09, 2017, 04:45:21 AM
Besides strawberry crowns, one small fruiting plant possibly to include (at the last minute) in a zip-lock bag to bug-out with is a first-year dwarf blueberry, or dwarf thornless blackberry or raspberry.  They are sold under different names on the market, with one of the best-known names being Brazleberry, after their breeder.  The blueberry and the raspberry have a more dwarved stature than the blackberry.

The dwarf raspberries and blackberries often produce daughter plants that can be found a short distance away from the mother plant.  These are not suckers or clones in need of division - rather they are entire new plants, free of charge.  For this reason, a few small plants could lead to a nice barter business.  The raspberry version bears throughout the summer, while the blackberry should crop once in summer and again in autumn, and no need to bother with pruning old floracanes every year.  Their low profile makes them a good forage food for grazing poultry, so if you want any fruit for yourself, need to be one step ahead of them!

Mature ones growing on septic system:
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Disease-resistant cold-hardy grapes
Post by: R.R. Book on June 09, 2017, 06:32:05 AM
Disease-resistant seedless grapes suitable for the North can be divided into two categories: Muscadines (a.k.a. Scuppernogs) and Labruscas, both of which are native to North America, as opposed to the Vitis vinifera grapes imported from Europe to California for wine making.  While the cool moist climate of the Northeast and the warm moist climate of the Southeast make the entire East Coast mostly unsuitable for vinifera with its disease susceptibility, the Muscadines and Labruscas thrive here.  As a broad generality, grapes that are suitable for the East Coast tend toward being "slipskin," meaning that they don't have the delicate thin skins of West Coast wine grapes.

Though Muscadines are mostly grown in the South, the Ison family of Georgia has been breeding them since the Great Depression and has developed some extremely cold-hardy and disease-resistant cultivars capable of thriving in the north.  "Fry Seedless" is a red variety that needs to pollinate with another cultivar, and "Black Fry" is a good choice in the North.  The grapevines are so vigorous that they need to be pruned back several times in summer, and the cuttings make good forage for goats.  See recent photo below after the first pruning of summer.

Disease-resistant Labrusca and hybrid types that I'm currently experimenting with include Mars blue seedless from the University of Arkansas, Black Corinth seedless champagne, and Einset red seedless.  Mars and Einset are the most cold-hardy of these.  They can be obtained for under $10.
Title: Re: blueberry roots
Post by: Socrates on June 09, 2017, 06:41:14 AM
Can utilize this space between blueberry bushes without disturbing their shallow roots.
:o
I heard... blueberry roots can go down, like, 30 feet...
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 09, 2017, 08:03:47 AM
Hi Socrates,

You might be thinking of grapes, which can survive drought due to roots that dive deeply in search of water, much like a tree.  In 20 years of growing blueberries here, one of the challenges has been to keep piles of rotting leaves on top of the soil; otherwise, if the soil is disturbed even a little, roots are exposed to the air and the plants suffer.  On a rare occasion if one should die, it takes very little effort to pull it out of the ground, because not much is holding it in.  I can only speak for blueberries in my own latitude though. :)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: tart cherries
Post by: R.R. Book on June 09, 2017, 02:47:38 PM
Several years back, Canada produced a remarkable dwarf tart cherry tree that has a lot of plusses and no minuses that I've ever been able to find.  It is the Carmine Jewel.  Unlike the bush-type cherries that were developed prior to its debut, the Carmine Jewel maintains a tidy little near-perfect tree shape, rather than sprawling.  It stops growing around 6' in height, making the harvest an easy chore. 

It bears heavily by about age three, and does not suffer from the unsightly leaf spot that plagues sweet cherries in a rainy season.  In the unusual heat and drought of last summer, the only response from the tree was not to fruit that year.  This year it has bounced back with a bumper crop. 

A clean pair of tweezers will quickly pit them, and they can then be frozen, dehydrated, or eaten fresh, with a sweet-tartness of around 14 on the Brix scale.  They make nice additions to pies, muffins and quick breads.  I did make the mistake, however, the very first year of putting them straight from the freezer into my Thanksgiving pies along with a batch of blueberries, and had to soak up a lot of liquid from the finished crust.  Best to cook them down a bit apart from the crust ahead of time.

Health benefits listed here: http://foodfacts.mercola.com/sour-cherries.html

Photo below:
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Yowbarb on June 09, 2017, 09:48:56 PM
Hi Ilinda,

I'm thinking of making a separate little garden patch for some of it to remain permanently, and will try it in a chef salad this week and report back.

What are IIRC bumblebees?
Oops.  Sorry to use that.  IIRC = If I Recall Correctly....

I think I'll start a new topic about these abbreviations.  In visiting one forum in particular, a Linux users group, there are so many abbreviations thrown around that it's not easy for a newbie to even figure out what they are talking about sometimes.  In other forum settings, they are rarely used.  I'm guilty of using IOW for in other words and a few more.  That will be a project for this week.

ilinda I like your "newfangled" abbreviations, haha. I mean LOL. :)
Being a long-time collector of slang and colloquialisms, I may as well add internet slang to it.
I know some but would enjoy learning more.  8) 
You could put a Topic, Post It All and Let Blog Sort It Out would be a good place.
(I made that Board name up many years ago.)
- Yowbarb
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Yowbarb on June 11, 2017, 03:25:31 PM
To R.R. RE the Carmine Jewel Dwarf Cherry trees:

This is the first thing that popped up in google a place to purchase... there is a live chat on the page, lower right... http://www.henryfields.com/product/Carmine_Jewel_Dwarf_Cherry_Tree

Free shipping, order over $40. Some restricted states but your state is not restricted. Ship Season: Spring
There are other sources, of course...
Barb T.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 12, 2017, 09:26:53 AM
Thanks Barb, I checked and they were out of stock, but seem to be in stock here:  http://ediblelandscaping.com/buyPlants.php?func=view&id=1040 .

There are some new cultivars, Romeo and Juliet, that I have no experience with, but are said to have the same dwarfing tree growth habit.  Romeo is said to be very juicy, which reminds me that there is a cherry meat-to-juice ratio that the buyer needs to select for.  If you want pies, then select for a high meat ratio, and if you want to juice them... you get the idea. :)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 12, 2017, 09:49:11 AM
Posting an update regarding the persimmon tree that never leafed out:

Turned out not be a dormancy problem.  After weeks of trying to "sweat" it to bring it out of dormancy, I called the nursery and was told to cut off the top and bring it in.  When I did, the owner showed me a series of tiny pinholes in the trunk and said it was killed by a Shothole Borer (Scolytus rugulosus), which is the larvae of a fruit tree bark beetle that can wipe out an orchard if not stopped by painting trunks with laytex whitewash (50% interior paint and 50% water mixed).

Fortunately, the owner assumed the liability on his end since he buys from wholesale nurseries that could have passed the infestation on.  He instructed me to watch for any sign of infestation on other fruit trees, which would show up as the pinholes, declining vigor, or exuding sap.  He said the problem usually only affects saplings under 2 years of age.  Another persimmon tree that we purchased from the same nursery at the same time is showing vigorous growth and seems not to be affected.

Uploading a photo from the web:
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 25, 2017, 07:02:50 AM
The dwarf raspberry bushes mentioned earlier are in full production, and we've had so much rain that it's difficult to get into the berry patch often enough to harvest before the fruit rots.  I was eating handfuls of slightly over-ripe ones this morning while picking the berries, and came away with around a quart for making crepes, etc.  I can't recommend this particular rootstock enough to others who may be contemplating starting a berry patch of their own.  No thorns, take up little space, produce berries by one year of age, heavy production within a couple of years at most, produce free daughter plants, no diseases, no pruning, and no pests except ground scavengers on fruit that touches the ground.  The trick with these is to constantly be turning low branches up to look beneath them - that's where the most fruit is borne, and if you didn't look underneath the branches, you might think that they weren't producing much.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on June 25, 2017, 03:53:39 PM
Oh, I envy you.  I tried raspberry plants and they died by the second year, although they thrive for Shirley, my farmer friend.  What is the variety of those beautiful and tasty looking raspberries?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 25, 2017, 06:21:31 PM
Ilinda, These are the Brazelberries that I mentioned earlier, named for the breeder, and they're supposed to grow in zones 4-9, so you should be able to grow these in MO without trouble.  They're sold under different names, but if you Google the breeder's original name for it, you'll get all the other names that they're sold under.  They like a loamy, well drained soil, and they're petite enough to be planted in pots if necessary.  If you're in the warm southern part of MO, might want to allow some afternoon shade, as berries naturally grow at the edge of a woodland.   
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Tart cherries
Post by: R.R. Book on June 26, 2017, 05:50:39 AM
Most of the harvest is in now from the dwarf tart cherry tree that we discussed earlier.  Ten pints were canned this past week, with another pint or two left to finish ripening on the tree. The pint jars were pressure canned at 5 pounds pressure for 8 minutes.

I hand pitted all of these, and must admit that my hands were tired from the work.  Am looking into mechanical cherry pitters, which range in price from $2 to $200, using a variety of ingenious methods.  I can only think of one reason not to use one, and that is the very real possibility that a pit could be missed, resulting in a cracked tooth if an unsuspecting person should happen to bite into it, which in the Aftertime would constitute more than just a minor emergency.  A good compromise might be to use the mechanical pitter, but then carefully check the cherries to make sure no pit was missed, before canning or serving them.

These jars will need to be wrapped in bubble wrap and carefully put away in a 5 gallon pail down in the root cellar.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 26, 2017, 12:53:21 PM
Bee balm, Monarda didyma, provides food for humans as well as bees.  Leaves and young stems can be eaten raw or cooked.  The flower heads are eaten raw.  Fresh or dried leaves and flower heads can be made into a tea, and in fact are added to Earl Grey tea. 

Medicinal properties listed by PFAF: Bergamot is often used as a domestic medicine, being particularly useful in the treatment of digestive disorders. The leaves and flowering stems are anthelmintic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, rubefacient and stimulant[4, 222]. An infusion is used in the treatment of flatulent colic and sickness, it is also used as a diuretic to treat urinary disorders[4, 238]. The leaves can be harvested before the plant flowers, or they can be harvested with the flowering stems. They can be used fresh or dried[238]. An essential oil from the herb is mainly used externally as a rubefacient in the treatment of rheumatism etc.

Can you guess which weed we've recently discussed that is in the same family?
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Disease resistant apple trees
Post by: R.R. Book on June 26, 2017, 01:40:52 PM
There are several varieties of disease-resistant apple trees that can be obtained either full-size or on dwarfing rootstock.  One of the best sources for these is Cummins Nursery located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, which works closely with Cornell University to breed and improve apple cultivars (the owner was a long-time professor at the University's Geneva Experimental Station) . 

Besides the Liberty cultivar that's been around for a long time now, I can personally vouch for William's Pride, Enterprise, and Redfree.  We have never needed to spray these with any chemicals.  They do need to be watched carefully for gypsy moth larvae nests in spring (they resemble bagworm nests), which should be removed by hand as soon as they are spotted.  All three produce sweet-tart apples that are a mixture of red and green coloring, with good keeping qualities.  Am just beginning to experiment with Arkansas Black, a full deep red apple that is said to be one of the longest keepers of all, storing until the following spring in a cool location.  They all produce good cider.

We situated a few of them as foundation plantings to wick rainwater away from the house, and encouraged them to lean over a fence rail for ease of harvesting.  Actually, if memory serves correctly, Mother Nature gets the credit for giving us the idea following an ice storm that left them bent over the rail.  :)

Here is a list of disease-resistant apple cultivars, much longer than existed even just several years ago:
http://shop.cumminsnursery.com/shop/apple-trees/disease-resistant

Here is a table of rootstock sizes for comparison: http://shop.cumminsnursery.com/shop/rootstocks

Attaching a visual comparison aid:



Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Disease resistant apple trees
Post by: ilinda on June 26, 2017, 03:04:45 PM
Besides the Liberty cultivar that's been around for a long time now, I can personally vouch for William's Pride, Enterprise, and Redfree.  We have never needed to spray these with any chemicals.  They do need to be watched carefully for gypsy moth larvae nests in spring (they resemble bagworm nests), which should be removed by hand as soon as they are spotted.  All three produce sweet-tart apples that are a mixture of red and green coloring, with good keeping qualities.  Am just beginning to experiment with Arkansas Black, a full deep red apple that is said to be one of the longest keepers of all, storing until the following spring in a cool location.  They all produce good cider.


Here is a list of disease-resistant apple cultivars, much longer than existed even just several years ago:
http://shop.cumminsnursery.com/shop/apple-trees/disease-resistant

The Arkansas Black is indeed a favorite here.  We've tried three times to grow them and some of our third planting are surviving.  Around here they must be truly protected from deer as they will shred the trees and absolutely kill them.  They must be somewhat addictive to deer.  When the deer are finished with a tree for a while, it literally looks as if some giant shredder/chipper came along and just stopped a while. 

Their keeping qualities are the best, as they keep for months and months just in a fridge.  We pack them into ziplok bags (9 each) and zip them almost all the way, after sprinkling two blasts of water/mist on them before closing the bag.  They can use Liberty or Enterprise (plus some others) as pollinizer trees, and this Ark. Black is fairly well resistant to Cedar Apple Rust.

Thanks for posting this apple reminder.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on June 27, 2017, 06:32:56 AM
Quote
We pack them into ziplok bags (9 each) and zip them almost all the way, after sprinkling two blasts of water/mist on them before closing the bag.

That's really good information to have Ilinda!  I got an Ark Black from Clemson University Extension recently, and have been really pleased with the growth and form. 

Glad that you managed to preserve something from the deer.  They do come around here too, mostly in late winter, with the closest visitation being from a fawn grazing in an English ivy patch near the house.

Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Lovage
Post by: R.R. Book on June 27, 2017, 10:03:19 AM
Lovage, Levisticum officinale, is little-known in the U.S. but a common feature in English kitchen gardens, being a kind of perennial celery and parsley combined.  It is hardy in U.S. zones 5-9, and enjoys being situated in a damp spot in full to part sun.  Because this plant is extremely pungent, its stalks wouldn't be used in the same manner that fresh celery is used, but are better used as more of a pot-herb that blends well with other flavors, starting out seeming overly-accentuated in a dish until it has had time to stew and mingle.  It needs lots of room to grow, as it will become several feet high and a few feet wide.  I've tried growing this plant in rows, but found it best to tuck them in individually here and there in the garden wherever a spot can be found that allows the plant to take over. 

PFAF warns about the myristicine content, an aromatic phenylpropene oil also common to other herbs such as celery, fennel, nutmeg and so forth.  However, in lovage the oil is largely confined to seeds that form on top of the plant after flowering, while it's the stalk and leaves that are used in cooking.  Wiki says about the aromatic seed compounds: the metabolism of these molecules quickly progresses from flavor to toxin to safe excretion.

The leaves are at their best for harvesting before the plant flowers, and may be frozen or dried.  To keep the plant size in check, they can be pruned back a couple of times in summer, and stalks may also be chopped and added to the harvest.  However, the flower heads attract dozens of those tiny beneficial wasps, and I have been stung trying to cut back the plants when they are in flower.  A gallon zip-lock bag of chopped stalks and leaves should provide enough to add to a large stew pot as often as once a week throughout autumn and winter, if maybe a handful is thrown into the pot each time. 

Some health food and other stores sell an MSG-free lovage bouillon cube manufactured by the Organic Gourmet, which runs around $3 per pack of 8 individually wrapped cubes that would make a nutritious storage food with 16 servings per 8-cube box.  They make a nice little quick cup of soup to take the chill off, with these ingredients listed:  Sea Salt, Maize (Corn) Starch*, sustainably harvested NON-hydrogenated Palm Fruit Oil*, Nutritional Yeast Extract, Leeks*, Carrots*, Tomatoes*, Spices* (Nutmeg*, Garlic*, Turmeric*), Herbs* (Lovage Leaves*, Parsley*, Celery Leaves*) Onions*

*From certified organic production, certified organic by IMO, CH-BIO-004.

PFAF adds this information about medicinal uses:
Lovage is a warming and tonic herb for the digestive and respiratory systems. It is used primarily in the treatment of indigestion, poor appetite, wind, colic and bronchitis[254]. The roots, leaves and fruits are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, mildly expectorant and stimulant[4, 7, 21, 46, 165, 238]. They are used internally in the treatment of disordered stomachs, especially cases of colic and flatulence in children, kidney stones, cystitis, painful menstruation and slow labour[4, 238]. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of sore throats and aphthous ulcers[238].

A lovage butter recipe is posted here: http://www.gardenersnet.com/recipes/lovage-butter.htm

Attaching a pic of the bouillon box, as well as a photo of the plant sprawling in my garden:
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on June 27, 2017, 02:17:23 PM
Several times I've tried to grow this beauty, and without much success, but after reading your article, maybe mine needed more moisture, and a bit of shade.  It was planted each time in full sun in the middle of the garden and now I realize in part shade in herb garden near watering barrel would work better.

Thanks for posting!
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on July 18, 2017, 02:15:32 PM
Anise hyssop, also known as licorice mint, giant blue hyssop and agastache, is neither mint nor licorice, but gets a 5 star edibility rating by PFAF.  The website says that leaves and flowers may be eaten raw or used as a seasoning in salads or cooked foods.  A tea made from the leaves is said to be medicinal for colds, fevers, weak heart, and chest pain from coughing.  Leaves and stems can also be made into a poultice to treat burns. 

PFAF gives incorrect information about the hardiness zones, placing it exclusively in the South, a mistake that is corrected by readers in the comments section.  It should be hardy to at least zone 4.

The plant also belongs in bee nectary gardens. :)
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture: Sunchokes in the late summer garden
Post by: R.R. Book on August 12, 2017, 12:18:26 PM
Posting a photo to show how much room sunchokes take up in the garden, necessitating their own patch.  They are the last flowers to bloom in our garden, usually right on the Autumnal Equinox.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on August 12, 2017, 05:57:50 PM
Wow, do you ever have a nice batch of tubers for winter time eating.  Beautiful patch.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: Yowbarb on August 15, 2017, 12:24:19 PM
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/02/jerusalem-artichokes-good-for-you

Jerusalem artichokes - These sweet and crunchy tubers are too often overlooked for far simpler and less flavoursome vegetables

Try this Jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut and goat's cheese tart recipe:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/feb/02/jerusalem-artichoke-hazelnut-cheese-tart-recipe
...
Why Jerusalem artichokes are good for you

Joanna Blythman
Saturday 2 February 2013 02.00 EST

Jerusalem artichokes are a reason to be cheerful in January and February. Sweet and crunchy when raw, smooth and aromatic when cooked, these knobbly tubers shine like beacons on the lean, dark midwinter shopping list.

It's surprising they aren't a more commonplace seasonal vegetable. Jerusalem artichokes grow easily in the UK, displaying a dogged resistance to disease, a characteristic that endears them not only to organic growers, but also to consumers who'd prefer that their food didn't come with a garnish of pesticide. But their flavour is the clincher: more complex than the simple sugariness of carrots, more elegant than celeriac or parsnip.

There are, admittedly, a couple of bad points about Jerusalem artichokes. Either you must spend time cleaning them meticulously, or peel them generously. But since they are reliably cheap, we needn't consider that profligate. Then there's their oft‑reported habit of inducing flatulence. But surely a little hot air is worth it for a vegetable this special?

Why are they good for me?

Eat Jerusalem artichokes and you'll be topping up on important minerals. They are rich in iron to give you energy, along with potassium and vitamin B1, which support your muscles and nerves. Although they're sweet, their starchy fibre stops any spikes in blood sugar levels – indeed they have a lower glycemic index (GI) score than potatoes – and they aren't fattening.

Where to buy, what to pay?

A staple of organic veggie box schemes, and easy to find in traditional and farmers' markets, there's no guarantee you'll find them in supermarkets, but some do stock them. Expect to pay around £3.20-£3.50 per kilo.

Joanna Blythman is the author of What To Eat (Fourth Estate, £16.99). To order a copy for £11 with free UK p&p, go to guardianbookshop.co.uk
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on August 15, 2017, 01:17:00 PM
Quote
Then there's their oft‑reported habit of inducing flatulence.

They need to be allowed to undergo several freezes while in the ground before being eaten, which is why they're best eaten any time between late autumn (Thanksgiving?) and early spring (before your first greens are available), as a traditional "starvation ration."  This will cause the inulin to be converted into fructose for better digestibility and assimilation. 

I can personally attest that I was in intense gastric distress the very first time I ate a plate of roasted 'chokes freshly harvested one September (when they were abundantly available but not converted) some years back.

The GI tract can also become accustomed to inulin over time.  I've found that eating Oikos Triple Zero yogurt daily (while it's still available) has acclimated my gut to inulin, which is one of the key "cheat" ingredients in the yogurt that allows Oikos to get away with claiming no sugar or fat in such a thickened product while using a carb in the ingredients.
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: R.R. Book on October 09, 2017, 10:53:40 AM
The muscadine grape (refer to earlier post) harvest is in progress.  Enough were picked to go with supper.  These are from the black cultivar that has a few small seeds, as well as the red seedless variety, both of which are cold-hardy. 
Title: Re: Northern Permaculture
Post by: ilinda on October 16, 2017, 05:56:50 PM
Because Yamiken squash sprawl so widely and wildly, covering everything in their path, they are great for smothering out weeds, or at least things you want to think of as unwanted.  Today I harvested the entire patch after a mild frost which nipped tops of squash, but left tomatoes and peppers OK. 

Total count was 90 Yamiken, 89 of which are now indoors, and one remaining, having grown into the fence.  They need several weeks to cure, even if they have already turned their orange color, but since most of these still have some green, we will wait several months before eating.  They become sweeter as they mature and attain their final orange-y color.