Category Archives: Sustainable Living

Crispy Or Riced, Cauliflower Rocks

Sometimes sold as broccoli, heritage Italian romanesco cauliflower is indeed a kissing cousin, that distinctive swirling shape and rich flavor marking the transition of one vegetable into the next. (This blending is a bit like plums and cherries, which are so closely related that’s it’s sometimes difficult to suss out which a given fruit really is.) Veronica a striking Romanesco type with jade green curds. Broken into starburst-tipped spears, it makes a beautiful garnish or an elegant side dish, drizzled with a spritely spring herb sauce. If you haven’t tried stick cauliflower yet, plant a row of Fioretto 60 and prepare to play. This fascinating variation offers beautiful, long-stemmed florets that wouldn’t look amiss in a floral arrangement. The creamy curds atop the fresh green stems are great for dipping and very pretty on a veggie plate. Sweeter than headed cauliflowers, the crunchy stems can be stir fried with sesame oil, garlic and ginger, or tossed as is into salads. Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Genetic Engneering, Nutrition, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Friendly Fungi To The Rescue

Perhaps best known among gardeners as the leading source for kits for growing edible mushrooms, Fungi Perfecti is also the place to look for help for beleaguered bee colonies. Since 2014, Paul Stamets has been working with entomologist Dr. Steve Sheppard, head of the Washington State University APIS Molecular Systematics Laboratory, exploring ways in which specific fungi may prove beneficial for honey bees. So far, for example, they’ve found that worker bees resist viral diseases and live longer when fed extracts of certain polypore mushrooms, perhaps in part because such extracts provide B vitamins and a wider range of phytochemicals, micronutrients, and myconutrients than the simple sugar syrups bees are usually fed. Another research effort involves introducing a fungal insect pathogen (Metarhizium spp.) to hives infested with Varroa mites. Bees easily groom away the fungal parasites, which prey heavily on the Varroa mites. Check the website for ongoing information about this and other fascinating fungal projects. Continue reading

Posted in Garden Prep, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

More Manure, Less Ecological Destruction

In its natural environment, peat moss is highly acidic and nearly sterile, but by the time it is dried and baled, it can harbor spores of fungal diseases that has proven to be dangerous to handlers. Nursery workers are warned by law to wear double gloves and micron filtration masks when handling peat moss. The gardener is not told anything, yet those who handle peat moss regularly are at risk for fungal pneumonias and other illnesses. Worst of all in my mind, peat moss is not a renewable resource. Bogs are delicate, intricate environments that host a great and beautiful diversity of living fauna and flora. When bogs are destroyed by peat mining, companies are now forced to “restore” them, but to date, the artificial, “managed” bogs never achieve the biodiversity of the original habitat. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Saint Patrick’s Day, Or Maybe Not

Print PDFOf Lilac Leaves And Planting Peas When I was a young gardener, I recall being told that the proper time to plant peas was on Saint Patrick’s Day. It stuck in my mind because I learned this bit of … Continue reading

Posted in Early Crops, Gardening With Children, Planting & Transplanting, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | Leave a comment