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Author Topic: Northern Permaculture  (Read 18531 times)

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #165 on: August 02, 2018, 09:23:15 PM »
The chayote, served as shown, looks totally edible.  I did grow it one year, but it must not have been a long enough season, as I cannot recall eating any!

Since you plan to move yours indoors, that makes sense, as it takes longer here than it would in Louisiana.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #166 on: August 04, 2018, 08:36:13 AM »
My understanding is that the squash fruit may be smaller in the North, maybe even just big enough to fit in your palm.

Update: One of mine produced the vine from the middle of the reclined body, rather than from the stem end, just in case anyone may try to grow one out from a fruit without the vine already established.  So I can see the reason for the instruction to lean it part-way over in the soil.   :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture: Solving Garlic-Growing Problems
« Reply #167 on: August 11, 2018, 08:53:41 AM »
Have spent a while researching why I've been having so much trouble with garlic recently, when it should be one of the easiest crops to grow.

This film gave me a few thoughts on how to improve the next crop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEVwV7LQwhM

1. Most gardeners know that there are 2 types of garlic: hardneck and softneck.
Here is what I learned about them that I didn't already know, plus a couple of ideas:

Hardnecks generally overwinter well but don't root-cellar well.
Softnecks are generally spring-planted and harvested the same year.
Elephant garlic is milder tasting and not hardy.

One hardneck garlic cultivar stands out for Northerners: "Music," which both overwinters and root-cellars well.  It even outperforms Siberian.

2. Garlic plants shouldn't be watered at all unless it's very parched outside.  Thus, in view of very damp seasons here lately (drenched is a better word), it may even be a good idea to grow them under cover, such as in a cold frame or hoop tunnel that can be opened up in hot weather.

3. As an alternative, it might be even better to try planting garlic cloves in a hugelkultur bed with soil/compost mounded up for good drainage - just as long as there is enough soil in the compost mix to anchor the roots and keep plants from lodging, like in the image below.  Straw-bale planting might also work.  Notice how the bulbs are well-exposed on top of the soil for air circulation, as opposed to standard wisdom to plant more deeply:


These are really onions, not garlic, but same family :)
https://awaytogarden.com/hugelkultur-raised-garden-beds/
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 09:19:59 AM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture: Sunchoke Soup
« Reply #168 on: August 11, 2018, 10:31:10 AM »
For sunchoke gardeners and lacto-ovo vegetarians, here's a nice hearty sunchoke soup that would be good in cool weather.  Remember that sunchokes need to go through a few freezes in order to be more easily digestible.  The gardener who supplied this recipe, linked below, has kept his sunchoke bed from freezing too hard to dig by covering it with a storm window; however, allowing the chokes to go through the freeze-thaw cycles first should not be skipped:



Sunchoke Soup with Pumpkin Seeds

Yield
    Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

        8 cups water
        1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice
        2 pounds Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunchokes)*
        3 tablespoons butter
        1 cup chopped onion
        1 cup chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
        2 garlic cloves, chopped
        7 cups (or more) vegetable broth
        1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
        Ground white pepper
        Shelled pumpkin seeds, toasted
        Pumpkin seed oil (optional)
        Sautéed chanterelle mushrooms (optional garnish)

Preparation

        Mix 8 cups water and vinegar in large bowl. Working with 1 Jerusalem artichoke at a time, peel and place in vinegar water to prevent discoloration. Set aside.
        Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, leek, and garlic; sprinkle with salt and sauté until soft and translucent, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Drain artichokes; rinse well and drain again. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Add to onion mixture and sauté 5 minutes. Add 7 cups vegetable broth, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until artichokes are very tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
        Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return to pot. Rewarm soup, adding more broth by 1/4 cupfuls if needed to thin. Stir in cream and season to taste with salt and white pepper. do ahead Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, cover, and chill. Rewarm before continuing. Divide soup among bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds; top with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil and some sautéed mushrooms, if desired.

Referred by: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsiq15hZlHI

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sunchoke-soup-with-pumpkin-seeds-350413



« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 05:28:49 PM by R.R. Book »

R.R. Book

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This weekend I took action and reformed my allium-growing habits by digging out the bottom of the log pile and moving it to create a new hugelkultur bed, which really does seem like the best option.  No more alliums below the soil line here.

It was a lot of work, but will pay dividends.  Will work some peat into the decayed wood loam, and then add layers of crushed leaves when they begin dropping, as well as spent coffee grounds, etc.

Gardening on an elongated hill permits more than one row of crops, depending upon the size of the plants and the hill.  Alliums are not supposed to be grown with legumes, as tempting as it would be to let pretty pole bean vines grow up and tumble over the quick fence that I put around the new bed.  I like these little cedar fences that can be put up in a few minutes with hammered stakes, and adjusted as needed, and are inexpensive enough that they can be used around beds scattered all over the place:


https://www.lowes.com/pd/Greenes-Actual-15-ft-x-2-ft-Cedar-Spaced-Picket-Garden-Woven-Wire-Rolled-Fencing/50074001

I opted for a completely different way of approaching garlic than before, after reading this:
https://mortaltree.blog/2017/07/07/the-many-harvests-of-perennial-garlic/

In a nutshell the philosophy, and more truly perennial practice, is to avoid harvesting the garlic bulbs, and instead use the smaller bulbils which grow in a little flower package on the hard curlicue scape that shoots up from each plant in late spring.  The scape itself is also tasty.  The rocambole type of hardneck garlic, which bears the largest bulbils, does not have a long shelf life on its own, but instead is immersed in olive oil for longevity.  Using high oleic sunflower oil instead would greatly extend storability, making it suitable for the root cellar rather than the refrigerator.  A new scape with more bulbils should regrow from the otherwise untouched garlic plants, though that might happen the next summer, so best to plant lots:)

After an hour of searching, I managed to locate Killarney Red rocambole garlic bulbs, the only known cultivar able to withstand a wet climate.  It is also cold hardy like the German and Siberian types.  Few suppliers offer it, and those that do are either sold out for the year or have it on order for autumn shipping, which is the normal time to plant garlic that is intended to be pulled out of the ground (avoiding top growth before winter so as to encourage bulb growth beneath the soil).  In lieu of harvesting the underground bulbs, encouraging top growth ahead of the first frost, due in just about 8 weeks here, will help to ascertain plant spacing in the new bed.

This lesser-known farm stand in Wisconsin had the Killarney Red for immediate delivery:
https://www.raindanceorganic.com/

Next I looked for Allium fistolium onions that go by several names: Welsh onions, bunching onions, green onions, spring onions, and most Northern gardeners probably grow some version of them.  I wanted the closest thing that I could find to leeks, without having to deal with that biennial habit or the gaps that they leave in the garden when they are harvested from row-culture.  These tall ones are bred for their longer white stalks than regular fistoliums, which is the part used in lieu of leeks in soup-making.  Their nice celery-like basal-cluster growth habit means that they will be less likely to flop over or be knocked down in a storm.

https://oikostreecrops.com/products/perennial-vegetable-plants/edible-roots-bulbs-tubers/he-shi-ko-bunching-onion/

The garlic, reaching up to 2' in height not counting the scapes, will go in the back row of the mound, with the onions in front at at a similar height but requiring more access for division.

Here is an image of Rocambole with its typical curly scapes, still waiting to flower into bulbil clusters.  Depending upon the cultivar, the scapes can sometimes reach several feet in height:



Other alliums already in the garden include chives and Millennial Onions, which are in the bee nectary garden:


(image from Sugar Creek Gardens)

And here is a bulbil packet ready to harvest:


More information about garlic cultivars:
https://www.garlicclubb.com/garlic-cultivars.html
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 08:34:48 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #170 on: August 13, 2018, 07:51:02 PM »
Keep us posted on your next garlic adventure.  It seems most years I grow garlic above the soil line, as it is usually in one raised bed or another.  They just seem so "flood-prone" when they sit in the ground, even with everything else.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #171 on: September 30, 2018, 08:45:29 AM »
Here's a simple lacto-ovo vegetarian meal that I made in a pinch this weekend almost entirely from what the little homestead produced on less than two acres:

Ingredients:

*A pound of Purple Peruvian potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small pieces with skin left on

*Snipped bunching onion tops

*A dozen Spring-planted garlic cloves peeled, sliced thinly and sauteéd in butter

*A handful of chopped skirret roots (similar to carrots)

*8 duck and hen eggs over easy

Taters were browned in a large cast iron skillet, and then barely covered with water and cooked with the herbs and skirret until potato interiors turned white and carmelized, making a light brown gravy of their own.  Served with sunnyside eggs on top.  Sides: Berries that were frozen from this summer, and cinnamon toast.

The purple potatoes and berries contain proanthocyanogens:

Quote
Studies indicate that antioxidant power of proanthocyanidins is 20 times higher than that of vitamin C and 50 times higher than vitamin E.
~ http://www.immunehealthscience.com/proanthocyanidins.html

They also strengthen collagen and protect from UV radiation.

If desired, uncured and browned ground sausage could be mixed in with the potatoes.

Found a photo on the web similar to what it looked like:


https://www.awickedwhisk.com/purple-potato-breakfast-skillet-3/

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #172 on: September 30, 2018, 08:46:45 PM »
WOW!  That is an incredibly delicious-looking dish!  And so much nutrition packed into one meal.  Wow again.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #173 on: October 01, 2018, 06:02:10 AM »
 :)

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture: Mountain Cranberries
« Reply #174 on: October 05, 2018, 11:29:13 AM »
The current project on the microfarm is planting a Mountain Cranberry / Lingonberry patch.

These berries grow as far north as the Arctic Circle, and as far south as zone 6, so we are at the southern edge.  They are slightly sweeter than regular bog cranberries, and attract both honey bees and bumble bees.

They can be purchased retail from numerous online suppliers, or wholesale (100+) from  Hartmann's Plant Company in Michigan.  Hartmann's has the greatest number of cultivars to choose from that I've seen. 

Some cultivars yield better than others, though planting two or more cultivars increases yields.

Some varieties:

Koralle, Balsgard, Erntedank, Ertesegen, Linnea, New Farm, Red Pearl, Little Red, Magenta, Red Sunset, Regal, Ruby and Susi.

I chose to start with Erntedank alone to get the patch started, and will plan on adding smaller amounts of a pollenizer variety in the spring, as I won't be needing it just yet.  Erntedank was selected in the wild, and means "Thanksgiving" in German.  It grows to 12" in height, which is a medium height for this species, and is harvested in October and November when most of the rest of the garden is finished.  Berries are large and dark red.  Plants spread vigorously and are disease-resistant.

Since mountain cranberries are a vaccinium like blueberries, that means that they must have acidic soil and lots of water, but only need half sun.  The right soil makes the difference between success and failure with these, as I've grown them before in our blueberry patch but they needed their own space.

To get the right soil, it helps not to plan on using existing top soil.  If desiring to get started right away, need to select rotten firewood and break it up for the bottom layer on the ground, and mix in peat bales, which is it's natural substrate in the wild (woodland peat).  Site the bed in a place where there will be no foot traffic or ground compaction.  A narrow, long bed is a good plan. 

Mountain cranberries don't really need sugar to be preserved, but most jam recipes include it:

2 1/4 # fresh lingonberries
7/8 C water
1 C sugar

Unprocessed Method (refrigerator jam)

Boil 5-10 minutes, skimming foam (pectin).  Stir in sugar and boil a few more minutes.  Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4" room.  Cover with lids coated with rum (I do this for all jams, whether needed or not).  Tighten bands and invert jars so top of jam touches rum briefly to prevent mold growth.

Processed Method:

No pressure canning needed. Start water bath canner heating before mixing and boiling ingredients.  Pour hot mixture into clean jars and heat in canner for 10 minutes until lids seal.

Lingonberry / Mountain Cranberry jam is luscious on crepes, pancakes, meats, etc.

Nutrition:

A serving of lingonberry jam contains 36 mg vitamin C and 1,500 units of vitamin A.  They contain phytochemicals that are strongly antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.

Since my patch is under construction, am including a photo from the web:


More here:
https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/0/7265/files/2016/12/Lingonberries-s7ajxu.pdf
« Last Edit: October 06, 2018, 05:29:10 AM by R.R. Book »

ilinda

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #175 on: October 05, 2018, 11:57:10 AM »
WOW!  Let us know how this progresses.  They look and sound delicious as well as nutritious.

R.R. Book

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Re: Northern Permaculture
« Reply #176 on: October 08, 2018, 09:56:29 AM »
Posting a chart of winter chill-hour requirements for growing various fruits.  The lingonberries mentioned previously have an 800-hour chill requirement, meaning that they need to be below frost-temps at least that long in winter in order to experience a deep enough dormancy period to be awakened at the correct time in spring and stimulated to resume production.

Most locations in the North scarcely need look at this table.  :)




 

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