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Showing posts from August, 2009

Sunflowers

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
and the soil and sky as canvas.
- Elizabeth Murray

The sunflower, where to begin?

Sunflower seeds are a great source of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is one of our bodys main fat-soluble anti-oxidants and is important in the fight against asthma and arthritis. It is also believed that Vitamin E can help reduce the risk of colon cancer, protect against diabetic complications and is able to decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes for women in their menopausal years.
It gets even better though Vitamin E also plays a significant role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Just a quarter cup of sunflower seeds has nearly 90% of your daily Vitamin E.

They are also a good source of Magnesium which helps lower blood pressure and ease migraine headaches. It is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production.

All this from such a little seed.

Brussels Sprouts

This is the first year that I have grown Brussels sprouts. Everything that I had read before the growing season mentioned that the best time to harvest is right around the first frost of the fall season; rumor is that it adds a bit of sweetness to these crunchy veggies. As usual I rebelled a bit against the orthodox approach and planted my Brussels extremely early and have been harvesting for the past couple of weeks, they are absolutely delicious and I can only hope that they hang around long enough to make it to the first frost.

Brussels sprouts, which are a member of the cruciferous family, are a reasonable source of protein in ones diet. The catch is the protein is not complete so in order to get the full spectrum of amino acids it is recommended that you combine it with grains. It is also a good source of Vitamin A. Vitamin A assist in our vision, in maintaining healthy skin and is a nice boost for our immune system.

Brussels sprouts are also a great source of potassium in your die…

Summer Squash

This year was an experimental year in many regards so some of the more traditional plants that I usually grow were stuck on the outskirts of my property. To an extent they were treated with the attitude that if they grew it would be a bonus and if they did not no big deal.

Our yellow summer squash fell into this category this year. Last season it had a sunny spot in the garden and received a ton of attention. Truth be told I could not keep up with the squash, after a certain point they just took over that particular section of dirt and by the end of the year there were humungous yellow gourds littering the patch. Their hard empty shells remained evident through out the long winter.

Well this year I thought that since they were so hardy I would put them in no mans land while trying some new veggies in the main plot. The effect was obvious. The plants have only recently started producing fruit and not many of them to boot. The plants are not in the best of soil and receive little sunlight…

A film review (The Future of Food)

Recently I viewed a documentary called The Future of Food. I believe that it was released around 2004 or so. The film basically chronicles the biotech revolution and its quiet emergence as part of the American food supply over the past decade. It is an alarming movie to say the least. Very quickly the viewer is able to start piecing together health issues that are a direct result of tampering with the genetic code of our food supply. The films website sums it up perfectly by calling it the largest biological experiment in history.

This film is about more than just the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that are being put on our tables. It shows the very human side of this struggle in terms of the farmers who are losing everything, their retirements, their good name, and their crops to the patent hungry multinationals who are forcefully taking over the market.

I read a review of this film that said “If you eat food you need to watch this movie”. I highly recommend it, one…

Potatoes

It is a bit rainy and damp today so my daughter and I went digging for some red onions, a few carrots and russet and red potatoes for a stew today.

Turns out the potato has gotten a bad rap over the years. It is actually packed full of nutrients, the problem exist in the way that it is prepared. Taters are actually full of Vitamin C; catch is since we rarely eat potatoes raw most of the vitamin content is lost through the cooking process. You can also find about 20% of your daily Vitamin B6 in a baked potato. These delicious tubers are also a great source of potassium. Recent studies have also found that potatoes, especially the red, rival broccoli, spinach and Brussels sprouts in their ability to help in the fight against cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. Not bad for the lowly potato.

Red Onion

Recently we were able to harvest some of our red onion crop. An onion fresh from the garden is truly a treat. A nice red onion can turn an ordinary hamburger or garden salad into a zesty meal.

While researching the onion I was stunned at the health benefits to be honest with you. It turns out that the more potent the onion the healthier it may be for you since it posses the greatest concentration of health promoting phytochemicals. Societies that tend to eat greater amounts of onions than others tend to have a drastic decline in stomach cancer and it seems to help in the fight against colon cancer. Onions also contain a number of sulfides which are believed to lower blood pressure. Interestingly enough even the act of crying from cutting an onion plays a beneficial role by releasing toxins from the body. Red onions also have a positive effect on your blood sugar level and help in overall bone health…what’s not to like?

The Ripple Effect

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Rachel Carson

Recently my family and I returned from a cross country road trip. We drove from New York to Colorado. Aside from wanting to avoid riding on an airplane and the hassle that goes along with it I wanted to take hold of the opportunity to show my children how big the country is. I wanted to expose them to the idea that there is more to the world than just our own back yard.

At one point we found ourselves driving through Iowa admiring the massive wind turbines that dot the landscape. They were beautiful, almost majestic and though they are such a primitive idea they almost looked like they were straight out of a sci-fi movie. Viewing these giants lead to a good conversation between my wife and my daughter. The point was driven home that there are responsible ways to live and then there are irresponsible ways as well, in the end it is up to you to make the right ch…

Purple Bush Bean

This year we attempted to do a few things different in our garden. First we decided to try our hand at heirloom veggies. Second we decided to spice things up visually as well. We wanted the food on our plate to be as appetizing in appearance as it was delicious for the palate. That is where the purple bush bean comes in. These beans are a real beauty and they taste absolutely amazing. I was surprised at how sweet they taste when eaten raw. They do lose their color when blanched but they do not loose a lot of flavor if prepared properly.

The purple bush beans are ready to harvest in about 50-55 days. The trick with beans is to make sure you do not allow them to fully produce all their flowers at once this way they continue to fruit longer because they still have a job to accomplish. As mentioned earlier with the dragon beans they are a good source of nitrogen for your soil and are a moderate source of protein, daily fiber and vitamin C.