From Scratch Magazine http://www.fromscratchmag.com Sustainable Lifestyle Publication Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:22:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.4 Hardneck or softneck? What kind of garlic do you grow?http://www.fromscratchmag.com/hardneck-or-softneck-what-kind-of-garlic-do-you-grow/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/hardneck-or-softneck-what-kind-of-garlic-do-you-grow/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 16:22:18 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4393 Find out more about this amazing vegetable crop.

The post Hardneck or softneck? What kind of garlic do you grow? appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>

Garlic

Editor’s note: A version of this piece originally appeared on Sow True Seeds’ blog. Find out more about Sow True at the end of the piece.

There are more than 400 members of the genus allium: Onions, shallots, leeks and everyone’s favorite, garlic.

Did you know garlic was so prized in ancient Egypt that it was used as currency? Clay models of garlic bulbs were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.

The word garlic comes from the Old English garleac, meaning spear leek. For more than 6,000 years, this native of Central Asia has been a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and used as a seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The most commonly cultivated form of garlic is allium sativum, which has two sub-varieties: Softneck garlic and hardneck garlic.

What’s the difference between softneck and hardneck garlic?

Softneck (allium sativum var. sativum)

This is the one with which you are probably most familiar. It’s found in supermarkets because it is better suited to industrial farming and stores longer (6 to 12 months with proper cool dry conditions).  Softnecks have white papery skin and an abundance of cloves, often forming several layers around a central core. The flexible stalk also allows softneck garlic to be formed into garlic braids. Sow True Seed carries three types of softnecks currently available for the 2015 planting season:

  • California Early Organic – An early-maturing garlic suitable for most climates. Mild, rich garlic flavor without the bite. 12-16 cloves per bulb. Good for the beginning grower.
  • Inchelium Organic – Has a robust flavor, rich with a hint of heat. The bulbs reach 3” across; and have 12-20 cloves. The outer bulb wrappers are thick and protect the bulb, helping it stores well for 6-7 months. It overwinters well.
  • Sliver Rose – This softneck is long on flavor and short on burn. It has a rich and musky taste and is not too pungent. A larger bulb size than most other silver skins it is late harvesting and long storing. 20 to 30 cloves per pound, 10 to 15 cloves per half pound.

Hardneck (allium sativum var. ophioscorodon)

The Latin name for the hardneck variety is ophioscorodon. This may comes from the Greek word ophis — meaning “snake,” after its coiling scape stalk. On top of this scape grow little bulbs (bubils) which look a bit like flowers but are not.

Hardneck have fewer and larger cloves than softnecks with little or no outer bulb wrapper. They don’t last as long without that papery protection but with proper cool and dry storage can still go 4 to 6 months. We have four types of hardneck currently available for 2015 planting:

  • German White – An early-to-mid summer porcelain variety with a distinct, moderately spicy flavor. 6-8 plump, easy-to-peel cloves. Bulbs between 2 and 2 1/2” wide. Yummy for roasting. It stores well into the cold winter months.
  • German Red – This lovely hardneck garlic has a bold, full-bodied true “garlic” flavor. Consistent producer of large bulbs with with fat cloves and red streaked inner wrappers.
  • Chesnok Red – This purpleskin delight is beautiful to behold and just as flavorful! It is the sweetest of all the garlics when roasted. A true mild hardneck. 50 to 60 cloves per pound. 25 to 30 cloves per half pound.
  • Music – A very cold hardy, slightly spicy, incredibly flavorful garlic. Huge, easy-to-peel cloves per bulb with a shiny-white sheath and pink-tinged clove skins. 20-30 cloves per lb.
  • Elephant garlic (Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum), is an allium that is not a true garlic, but a garlic-y sister to the leek. More about that here.

Folklore is pungent with garlic references. Greek athletes ate handfuls of it before competition, as did Greek soldiers before going into battle. Ancient Koreans ate pickled garlic before passing through a mountain path, believing that tigers disliked it. Practitioners of Auryvedic medicine held garlic in high regard as an aphrodisiac. Medieval midwives hung garlic cloves in birthing rooms to keep evil spirits away. Of course we know it repels all manner of bad guys – werewolves, devils and especially vampires. To ward off vampires, the superstitions recommend wearing it, hanging it in windows, or rubbing it on chimneys and keyholes. But they do not say which type is more effective, so perhaps you might try a sampler pack?

Garlic has been used medicinally for almost as long as it has been cultivated. Monks prescribed it against plague in the Middle Ages. Hippocrates used garlic vapors to treat cancer. Poultices were made from garlic during World War 2 as an inexpensive, and apparently effective replacement for scarce antibiotics.

Garlic was found in ethnic dishes cooked in American working-class neighborhoods from the early days, but it was considered vulgar by the upper classes until about the 1930s. It was known as Bronx vanilla, halitosis, and Italian perfume.

Today as a nation we consume more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually. Here’s a simple yet sublime recipe to celebrate that fact.

Easy Garlic Aioli

Aioli is a traditional Provençal sauce for dipping bread, artichokes or just about anything. It’s usually a little more complicated, starting with olive oil and eggs, but this recipe from Allrecipes.com is super quick and still delicious.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

Mix mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

About Sow True Seeds:

Disclosure note: Sow True Seeds advertises with From Scratch. Just like all of our advertisers, they are carefully vetted to ensure they provide value to our readers and reflect our values as a publication. The reasons we have decided to partner with Sow True are: The company specializes in heirloom varieties, produces no GMO-seeds and is operated by individuals determined to honor people and the planet. Additionally — and this is no small thing for us at From Scratch — their seed catalog is beautiful.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

The post Hardneck or softneck? What kind of garlic do you grow? appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/hardneck-or-softneck-what-kind-of-garlic-do-you-grow/feed/ 0
Get ready to plant garlic!http://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-ready-to-plant-garlic/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-ready-to-plant-garlic/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:27:54 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4388 Find out how to plant garlic, just in time to overwinter the seeds!

The post Get ready to plant garlic! appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Garlic

Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on the blog at Sow True Seeds. Find out more about the company at the end of the piece.

As we round the corner into the late summer we begin to turn our minds and garden beds towards the future harvests of cooler months or the far horizon of next summer.  Garlic comes to mind as one of the most important plants that can be cultivated ‘in the space between’ our raucous garden seasons of high summer.

Planted in fall, garlic overwinters in the ground, growing throughout the fall and then stopping growth until the spring commences.  Garlic is harvested in the summer when the leaves begin to yellow.  Sow True Seed sells Elephant Garlic, hardneck and softneck varieties which you can choose based on your preference or needs.

If you grew garlic this past year it is drying somewhere nearby and you are enjoying the flavors of the variety you chose.  Your own fresh garlic just doesn’t compare to the store bought stuff.  Begin thinking about what you might like in a garlic for next year or you can buy our sampler pack which provides a 1/4 lb. of both a hardneck and softneck variety so you can have two varieties next year to choose from!

If you prefer a complex lingering flavor, great for roasting, try Chesnok,  but if you like a spicier flavor, hardneck variety that lends itself to zesty salsas try German White.  The softneck variety California Early provides a great garlic flavor  and is an early maturing variety that does well in a variety of climates.

Garlic prefers a well drained soil with good fertility.  A well amended plot that has a soft tilth will allow the bulbs to grow and spread.  Plant the garlic before the cold temperatures of winter freeze the soil to allow it time to grow some roots before the hard winter sets in.  Garlic should be planted 2-3 inches below the surface of the soil and 4 to 6 inches apart within rows.  Put about 12 inches between rows.  Plant the bulb flat end down and pointy end up!! Mulch thickly and in a few weeks you will see small leaves emerging from the mulch.  Keep the garlic weed free through the winter and the shoots will begin growing again when the temperatures warm.

Once the plants are well established they will form scapes that make great pesto or can be used in salads or stir frys.  By removing these scapes the plant can put energy into bulking up its bulbs.  When you see half to two-thirds of the leaves have yellowed it is time to pull your garlic (usually June or July depending on your location).  As leaves are yellowing, hold back on the water to prevent the possibility of root rot and to thicken the skins. You can wash the bulbs and dry them in a dry airy place for 3 to 4 weeks to cure.  Long term storage conditions should have low humidity.

If you are growing garlic it is likely you have many a recipe that already uses this versatile Allium.  In case you have not roasted it this way before it is a wonderful way to enjoy the complex flavors of various varieties.

Quick and easy roasted garlic recipe:

Cut the tips off an entire head of garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil.  Bake at 350° until the cloves are soft and pulpy.  Use as a spread on fresh bread or with crackers or raw vegetables.

Get garlic seeds:

Want to try an overwinter garlic? Find out how to get garlic seed here. Sow True Seeds encourages customers to pre-order garlic seed, as their supply is limited. The seeds will be shipped in September as soon as it’s available.

About Sow True Seeds:

Disclosure note: Sow True Seeds advertises with From Scratch. Just like all of our advertisers, they are carefully vetted to ensure they provide value to our readers and reflect our values as a publication. The reasons we have decided to partner with Sow True are: The company specializes in heirloom varieties, produces no GMO-seeds and is operated by individuals determined to honor people and the planet. Additionally — and this is no small thing for us at From Scratch — their seed catalog is beautiful.

Find out more about this wonderful company here.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

The post Get ready to plant garlic! appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-ready-to-plant-garlic/feed/ 0
Holy Shiitake! How to grow mushrooms in your backyardhttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/holy-shiitake-how-to-grow-mushrooms-in-your-backyard/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/holy-shiitake-how-to-grow-mushrooms-in-your-backyard/#comments Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:02:54 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4383 Find out how to grow Shiitake mushrooms in your backyard!

The post Holy Shiitake! How to grow mushrooms in your backyard appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Image taken from gardendelights-sc.com

Image taken from gardendelights-sc.com

Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of From Scratch. Read that issue — and more like it — here.

 

By Julie Thompson-Adolf

I’m not much of a risk taker.

It’s sad but true. I don’t plan to scale the highest summit or cage dive with sharks. But in the garden?

Now, that’s a different story. I’ll plant varieties considered outside my USDA zone, push the envelope of sun verses shade recommendations, and squeeze just one more tomato plant into a bursting bed. Yep, I’m living on the edge, brandishing my trowel with the swagger of a swordfighter. The prize?

A lush, ripe delicious heirloom tomato for dinner. Although our ancestors thought them to be poisonous, today we know that tomatoes are safe. Not much risk there.

But mushrooms? Now, that’s upping the gardening — and eating — ante. There’s something subtly sinister about mushrooms. As kids, we’re warned not to touch mushrooms or play with snakes. As adults, we respect and covet the foraged fungi, salivating over morels and paying a fortune for truffles. Whether gourmet delicacy or cause for demise—mushrooms walk a fine line.

So, when I attended a mushroom growing session led by the owners of Mushroom Mountain, I definitely stepped outside my risk-averse comfort zone.

After all, the speaker was a brilliant guy — part genius scientist, part fearless farmer, part educator extraordinaire, part foraging foodie enthusiast. I was hooked.

Armed with my knowledge and a bag of plug spawn, I took a walk on the wild side: I began a mushroom garden.

I’m not certain that “garden” is the proper term, but “garden” sounds safe, don’t you think? Typically, shiitake mushrooms grow on portable, easily relocated fresh hardwood oak or sweetgum logs, approximately six inches in diameter and about three feet long. Of course, I don’t believe in easy.

Because my husband and I are tree-huggers, we won’t cut a tree unless necessary. However, we needed to remove a partially rotted tree.

Down went the tree, and with a few extra cuts—we had a forest of thick, round logs.

Much thicker in diameter than recommended and nearly impossible to move, I was determined to turn the gathered logs into a shiitake producing machine. Somehow, the stumps were very reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.

Anyway … Growing shiitake mushrooms seems complicated, but here’s a secret: It’s not. Don’t tell anyone, though. When people hear about the scrumptious shiitakes you harvested for dinner, they’ll think you possess amazing gardening powers.

Here’s what you need:

  • Plug spawn from a reputable source. I highly recommend Mushroom Mountain. The plug spawn I purchased from them is cultivated on 3.4” dowels. The spawn can be stored in a refrigerator and remain viable for up to a year. Remove the plugs from the refrigerator a day prior to use.
  • Logs or stumps, freshly cut from a living tree.
  • 5/16-inch drill bit and drill
  • Canning wax, melted using a double boiler method. (Bottom pot contains boiling water, top pot contains wax and small amount of mineral oil to help prevent the wax cracking and drying out. Submerge top pot into bottom pot to melt wax.)
  • Clean paint brush

How to Inoculate

Inoculation is the process of inserting the plug spawn into the log or stump—planting the mushroom “seeds.” The log needs to be inoculated within six weeks of cutting and should be dry and free of dirt. Drill holes 1-1/4 inch into the log to create an air pocket below the plug. The holes should be drilled in a diamond pattern on the log or stump, approximately five to six inches apart.

Hammer the plugs firmly into the holes and cover them with a thin coating of melted wax using a clean paint brush. The wax prevents insects from entering the holes in the wood.

After plugging and waxing the log, soak the logs overnight.

In my case, with our crazy forest of stumps, I ran a sprinkler to soak the wood.

Additionally, with the thick logs I used, I buried part of the wood in the ground to help with moisture retention. And then … you wait. And wait.

Hopefully, when your first mushroom appears, it will look like a shiitake. Our first mushroom looked … odd. I harvested it, took a photo, and sent it to Mushroom Mountain to confirm that it was, indeed, a shiitake.

As I awaited a reply, I watched “The Today Show.”

Ironically, Nicholas Evans, author of The Horse Whisperer, appeared on the show, discussing the accidental poisoning of his entire family—by serving them mushrooms. They all required kidney transplants after ingesting foraged mushrooms. What?!? Nervously, I threw away the mystery mushroom.

It turns out, I discarded a perfectly safe, delicious oyster mushroom. Somehow, a stray oyster spore found its way onto the log.

But then, a few months later, a mushroom appeared on a log. Then another. And another. Soon, dozens of mushrooms filled the logs — and they looked exactly like shiitakes. Of course, do you think I ate them without first sending photos to Mushroom Mountain for a proper ID?

Not only am I risk-adverse, but I also try to keep my family healthy and poison-free. Fortunately, the very kind folks at Mushroom Mountain confirmed that my mushrooms were “beautiful shiitakes,” and I should happily feast on them.

That night, as I prepared dinner, I noticed that my husband waited until I took a bite of the risotto ai funghi before he tried it. He knew that if even I would venture to eat homegrown mushrooms, then they must be safe. As for my gardening status? Yep. I’m pretty much a mushroomgrowing rock star now.

And I might even attempt to forage for morels.

On a supervised expedition.

With the pros of Mushroom Mountain.

Here’s my recipe for Risotto Ai Funghi:

Ingredients

  • 6 cups organic chicken broth, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 pounds shiitake mushrooms, fresh or dried (rehydrate prior to use)

  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • ¾ cups dry white wine
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Note: Make sure to have all ingredients ready before you start. You need to stir continuously to avoid burning, so you don’t want to hunt down ingredients in the midst of cooking.

Directions

  1. Warm the broth over medium-low heat in a saucepan.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the mushrooms (fresh or rehydrated) and cook until soft, approximately 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms and liquid, and set aside in bowl.
  3. Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet, and add the shallots. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add rice, stirring to coat it with the olive oil. When the rice is golden in color (about 2 minutes), add wine. Stir continuously until wine is absorbed. And ½ cup broth to the rice, stirring until broth is absorbed. Continue adding ½ cup broth at a time, stirring continuously, until liquid is absorbed and rice is al dente, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove skillet from heat. Add mushrooms with liquid, butter, chives, and Parmesan, stirring well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve alone or as a side dish. Makes approximately 6 servings.

Find out more about the writer and her work here.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

 

The post Holy Shiitake! How to grow mushrooms in your backyard appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/holy-shiitake-how-to-grow-mushrooms-in-your-backyard/feed/ 0
Blogger Profile: Abundance Farmshttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-abundance-farms/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-abundance-farms/#comments Fri, 21 Aug 2015 02:08:15 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4378 Check out one of our favorite blogs at Abundance Farms.

The post Blogger Profile: Abundance Farms appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Marissa Carabin

Editor’s note: Regularly, From Scratch magazine tries to tell as many people as possible about the great bloggers and writers covering homesteading and sustainable living.

As such, it is our pleasure to highlight Marissa Carabin of Abundance Farms. This piece originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of From Scratch. Read that issue — and more like it — here.

Find out more about Abundance Farms here.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

By Marissa Carabin

Abundance Farms works on breeding exotic poultry and mammals in the big state of Texas.

Some of our chicken breeds include Yokohamas, Ohikis, Sussex, and Malays. We also breed Jacob sheep, Angora goats, and peafowl. Like many farms, we also have a handful of critters that we just really enjoy the company of! Abundance Farms is a run by a husband and wife team.

We have both traveled the world and experienced many different adventures, but we have decided to settle down and enjoy the farm lifestyle.

Through our blog, you can follow Abundance Farms as we live, learn, and love!

Whether you enjoy cooking, creating, or raising, we’re bound to have something you’ll enjoy.

Horseback riding and training, building and converting chicken coops, cooking up something a little different, and professional photographs make their way into our blog posts. It’s been an amazing journey and I can’t wait to see where it leads to!

 

The post Blogger Profile: Abundance Farms appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-abundance-farms/feed/ 0
Blogger Profile: Janet Garman with Timber Creek Farmhttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-janet-garman-with-timber-creek-farm/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-janet-garman-with-timber-creek-farm/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:30:05 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4368 Find out more about one of our favorite bloggers, authors and chicken columnist, Janet Garman.

The post Blogger Profile: Janet Garman with Timber Creek Farm appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Timber Creek Farm

 

Editor’s note: Regularly, From Scratch magazine tries to tell as many people as possible about the great bloggers and writers covering homesteading and sustainable living.

As such, it is our pleasure to highlight Janet Garman of Timber Creek Farm. This piece originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of From Scratch. Read that issue — and more like it — here.

By Janet Garman

Along a river in Eastern Maryland, we are farming a large family tract of land.

The tree farm property has been in the family for generations and we have added the animals and vegetable gardens. We are raising Pygora fiber goats, Border Leicester sheep, Black Angus cows, chickens, ducks and turkeys.

Our fiber from the sheep and goats is processed into yarn by local fiber processing companies and spun into beautiful soft yarn.

Our chickens and ducks supply eggs for our family and many of our neighbors, too. Every day brings a new challenge as we work towards being self sufficient in our food needs.

Our jouney towards self sufficiency is hard work, but it’s work we love.

Our mission, through the work on our farm, is to be able to provide food for our family and to encourage others in their journey into their own farming projects, big or small.

Find out more about Timber Creek Farm and Janet’s work here.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

The post Blogger Profile: Janet Garman with Timber Creek Farm appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-janet-garman-with-timber-creek-farm/feed/ 0
Blogger Profile: Anderson Family Farm Projecthttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-anderson-family-farm-project/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-anderson-family-farm-project/#comments Wed, 19 Aug 2015 02:04:24 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4364 Find out more about a great blogger and a great family on the Anderson Family Farm Project.

The post Blogger Profile: Anderson Family Farm Project appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
The Anderson Family

Editor’s note: Regularly, From Scratch magazine tries to tell as many people as possible about the great bloggers and writers covering homesteading and sustainable living.

As such, it is our pleasure to highlight Tina Anderson of the Anderson Family Farm Project. This piece originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of From Scratch. Read that issue — and more like it — here.
By Tina Anderson

The Anderson Family “Farm” Project isn’t quite the farm you would expect.

We don’t have sprawling acres, fields of corn, tractors or meandering livestock. So, what exactly do we have?

We try to make the best of what we’ve got in a small space in the country. Our flock of 11 hens grace us with fresh eggs and abundant entertainment.

I love to tweak recipes for the hens and they enjoy our new creations. Our attempts at gardening last spring weren’t completely a loss, but I’m ready to tackle this next spring with a new and improved game plan!

With a lot of knowledge shared from blogging friends and a little bit of luck, we should have plenty of fresh veggies and herbs for our entire family — human, feathered and furry.

Our hearts are in it to be more self sufficient and enjoy our time spent together as a family, in and outdoors. We personally get a lot of joy from our little homestead and we hope that you will find plenty here to learn from and even more for you to share with us.

Share our experiences in small space gardening, raising layer hens, and more!

Find out more about the Anderson Family Farm Project here.

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee! Find out more here.

The post Blogger Profile: Anderson Family Farm Project appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-anderson-family-farm-project/feed/ 0
Get the Gardening Notebook from schneiderpeeps.comhttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-the-gardening-notebook-from-schneiderpeeps-com/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-the-gardening-notebook-from-schneiderpeeps-com/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 00:10:37 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4360 Find out more about this great gardening resource!

The post Get the Gardening Notebook from schneiderpeeps.com appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
The Family Gardening Notebook

I love Angi Schneider’s Gardening Notebook.

This printable e-book — which includes custom seed packs! — is not only a notebook, but a solid piece of reference material. And it’s just plain fun to use (I’m a sucker for a good notebook).

The “notebook” includes:

  • How to begin gardening
  • Enriching the garden (soil, compost, etc.)
  • Garden Calendar
  • How to find your frost dates
  • Planting by frost dates calendar
  • Local resource contact page
  • Garden expense worksheet
  • Seed and plant purchase record
  • Worksheets with tips for growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and ornamentals -with plenty of room for you to write your own notes from your own research
  • Seed sowing record
  • Garden layout pages
  • Pests, problems and solutions worksheet
  • Book list record
  • Monthly journal
  • Resource list
  • Lots of space for you to make notes of what is important to you
  • Blank plant profile page to help keep track of specific plants and varieties
  • Blank plant worksheets to fill out for the vegetables, fruits, herbs and ornamentals not already included

Angi’s Garden Notebook came about organically (pun intended). Here’s the story of its inception in her words:

Do you read gardening books and think, “Oh, I need to remember that”? And then later can’t remember what you were supposed to remember?

Do you take care to write down what you planted and harvested one year only to not be able to find the paper the next year?

When you have a question that you used to know the answer to, do you have to go through several books or internet searches to find the answer? All the while thinking, “I’ll remember it this time.”

I used to do this all the time.  Since I’m somewhat of a fly by the seat of my pants kinda girl, it only mildly bothered me, but the more I planted the more it bothered me. So I began keeping a gardening notebook. It helped me be a better gardener.

After weeks of putting my new notebook together, my husband mentioned that other gardeners would probably like a copy. And so we began the work of making a notebook for any gardener.

And guess what? It’s on sale right now. Through the month of August, Angi is selling her book for a cut rate.

Through Aug. 23, the book is only $7. After the 23rd, it will only cost $8.

“This is a great time for gardeners to be taking notes on what worked for them this year and what didn’t,” Angi said.

So, go and buy the book now. Click here for more information.

 

The post Get the Gardening Notebook from schneiderpeeps.com appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/get-the-gardening-notebook-from-schneiderpeeps-com/feed/ 0
Blogger Profile: Happy Days Farmhttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-happy-days-farm/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-happy-days-farm/#comments Mon, 17 Aug 2015 22:26:13 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4358 Check out this great pair of Bloggers at Happy Days Farm!

The post Blogger Profile: Happy Days Farm appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Happy Days Farm

Editor’s note: Regularly, From Scratch magazine tries to tell as many people as possible about the great bloggers and writers covering homesteading and sustainable living.

As such, it is our pleasure to highlight Penny Ausley and Brittany May of Happy Days Farm. This piece originally appeared in the April/May 2013 issue of From Scratch. Read that issue — and more like it — here.
By Penny Ausley and Brittany May

In 2012, we introduced ‘Happy Days Farm.’

We both love our animals and Penny recently expanded her home to include a chicken coop in the backyard which houses our much loved chickens! We hand raised them from babies.

In addition to our coop, we have our security team, also known as free-range guinea fowl, a precious bunny, and an ever expanding vegetable garden. A couple of years ago, we traced the source of migraine headaches that Penny has to sodium nitrite, nitrate, and MSG which is located in many foods that we eat.

This led us to begin a semi-organic eating style. We learned to avoid eating out in restaurants which use these ingredients, and we also starting shopping in Whole Foods for some of our meats and cheeses.

This led us to find a local farmer to purchase eggs and vegetables from, and eventually we decided a chicken coop was for us! Brittany started the blog while we were building the coop, and recently added a Facebook page to highlight daily life on our ‘farm.’

The rest is history. Now, we both can cater to our love for animals, gardening, and cooking when we are not at work! We both work for Ausley’s Chevelle Parts, selling restoration car parts.

Penny owns this business with her husband. So, we are extremely busy, but we have realized that even though it is a lot of work, our animals, especially our chickens are a great stress-reliever and a source of much joy.

Find more about Happy Days Farm here.

The post Blogger Profile: Happy Days Farm appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/blogger-profile-happy-days-farm/feed/ 0
Register for the Free Natural Solutions Class from The Herbal Homesteadhttp://www.fromscratchmag.com/register-for-the-free-natural-solutions-class-from-the-herbal-homestead/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/register-for-the-free-natural-solutions-class-from-the-herbal-homestead/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2015 22:40:48 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4351 If you are interested in Essential Oils and want to kno […]

The post Register for the Free Natural Solutions Class from The Herbal Homestead appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
Essential Oil Class

If you are interested in Essential Oils and want to know how you can use them in your life… THIS is the class for you! Join Melissa from The Herbal Homestead who will help you navigate several essential oils and their uses. She will also cover what essential oils are and how they are made.

There are only a limited number of spots available. So, sign up now!

The post Register for the Free Natural Solutions Class from The Herbal Homestead appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/register-for-the-free-natural-solutions-class-from-the-herbal-homestead/feed/ 0
The GMO Question?http://www.fromscratchmag.com/the-gmo-question/ http://www.fromscratchmag.com/the-gmo-question/#comments Fri, 14 Aug 2015 14:40:16 +0000 http://www.fromscratchmag.com/?p=4348 So, considering the supercool science of GMO, the commercial success of GMO products, the studies verifying the safety of GMO food and and more -- how do I feel about GMO crops? Honestly, I don’t like them.

The post The GMO Question? appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
GMO

 

 

 

Editor’s note: This editorial originally appeared in the Aug/Sept 2015 issue of From Scratch magazine. Read that issue here.

It is with great trepidation I wade into the debate regarding Genetically Modified Organisms and farming. But, where angels fear to tread and whatnot…

So, first things first. This piece should in no way be construed as a criticism of farmers that use GMO seed, no matter the source. Quite frankly, farming is a deeply personal decision and I cannot envision a world where farmers are not allowed to make decisions about how they farm, with the exception of obvious regulations which provide for the health and safety of all. Most farms are run by people heavily invested in their land, products and animals, and attacking them for the decisions they make to keep their farms from collapsing in an increasingly difficult market isn’t fair.

Secondly, it should be conceded, GMOs and their proponents have, by just about every measure, probably won the debate already. It’s nearly impossible to purchase some food, for the bulk of the people buying food in America, that isn’t genetically modified in some fashion or another. Our supermarket and grocery shelves are filled with foods derived from corn and soy. Michael Pollan, noted journalist and agricultural activist, pointed out in one of his many interviews or books, that nearly all of the processed food produced in the United States contains a soy product, a corn product or a combination of both (I’m not going to cite the book or interview or article: Just go and check out everything the man does, it’ll be a lot more informative than anything I’ll write here today and probably for the rest of my life).

These soy and corn products, which are ubiquitous in modern, processed foods are more likely than not derived from GMO strains.

In addition, the majority of the meat produced in America (and in many parts of the world) is produced from animals that consume GMO feed. (see the links below for specific data)

With those figures in mind, it’s hard to envision a greater rubric for success for GMO proponents.

Regarding the safety of GMO: Multiple studies have been conducted showing the safety of GMO food vis a vis human consumption. (see below for specifics)

While these studies are conducted by multiple parties, for multiple reasons, it must be noted an accusation of bias is nearly impossible to prove or disprove. No matter which side of the fence you sit on in this debate, you can go down the skepticism rabbit hole in either direction and find plenty of reasons to believe or disbelieve these studies.

I’m inclined to take them at face value, primarily because I don’t have enough background in medicine and science to dispute them. (I’ve included links below to sites that bring up potential health issues with GMOs and links that prove the safety of GMO. Pick your poison, no pun intended). In these situations, just as I trust my doctor to look out for my health, I’m in no position to argue with an expert. And, just as with my doctor, I do my best to be informed, regardless. I trust our readers will do the same.

Regarding the science of GMO: Honestly, it’s kind of cool. The science behind GMOs (direct genetic modification of organisms) is a natural progression of the genetic selection process used for thousands of years by farmers all over the world via seed selection and codified by Gregor Mendel in the late 1800s.

Genetic engineering has produced golden rice, an unqualified success in the field of genetically modified crops which has the potential to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths all over the world from Vitamin A deficiency.

In addition, the company Glowing Plants has genetically engineered plants that glow in the dark, which has the potential to offset energy costs worldwide by replacing electric lights (I’m a sucker for anything that glows in the dark).

 

So, considering the above — the supercool science with all its paradigm shifting potential, the success of GMO products in world agricultural markets, all the studies verifying the safety of GMO food and the belief that farmers should be allowed to do whatever they need in order to stay competitive and economically viable through the future — how do I feel about GMO crops?

Honestly, I don’t like them.

While the science is really neat, it’s hard to ignore studies like Cornell’s that show damaging impacts on Monarch Butterfly populations from crops genetically modified with DNA from Bt, a popular, organic pesticide.

Organic farmers who use this pesticide take steps to avoid negative impacts on pollinator (including bees and butterflies) when they use Bt. That’s not possible to do with a crop wherein the pesticide is always around to contaminate beneficial insects.

Golden Corn and glowing plants are amazing, but many of the genetic modifications wind up being used to allow farmers to spray even more pesticides and herbicides on their crops. Considering the damage that’s already done to our environment regarding the use of many commercial chemicals used in agriculture, it’s hard to argue that increasing technologies that allow greater use of the chemicals is a good practice.

Additionally, the way the science is used damages the economic viability of farmers in the long term.

Seed saving and sharing is time honored method for farmers to save money and earn income.

Most of the patents on GMO crops prohibit seed sharing. While it’s completely a farmer’s choice to enter into those contracts, it seems strange to use GMO to increase economic viability of farms while removing one of the methods (seed sharing and saving) that farmers can use to be more economically sustainable.

(Also, I would argue that the use of patents to establish ownership of genetic strains is the wrong instrument. Since we’re dealing with genetic code, it seems that a copyright would be more appropriate, but that’s a separate article altogether. Whenever I feel the urge to reveal my ignorance about copyright and patent law, I’ll be sure to write that.)

In addition, the current use of genetically modified foods seems to encourage more monoculture farming, which an article from the University of California, Berkley points out has some very real negative impacts on agriculture and the environment. (see below)

So, since we’ve already established the ubiquity of GMO products and foods, what do we do?

At the very least, offering consumers a chance to support non-GMO foods seems like the bare minimum we could do. I believe mandatory labelling laws would allow consumers who care about non-GMO products to purchase them, while supporting growers and producers who use non-GMO seed and feed.

Supporting these producers allows us to make sure that crop biodiversity is encouraged, which has very real benefits, including food security, for agricultural systems worldwide.

Essentially, the more types of fruits and vegetables (and animals we raise) means our food system is more secure from disease, pests and environmental factors.

Home gardeners and farmers who believe supporting non-GMOs is important can purchase non-GMO seed and feed (like the products provided by companies like Scratch and Peck, Sow True Seeds, Victory Seeds, NE Seeds and other — full disclosure, these companies advertise with From Scratch. We sought out these companies because of their dedication to providing non-GMO options to homesteaders).

And, finally, as a country, we can support national, state and even local policies that encourage biodiversity, discourage a centralized food system, promote increased biodiversity and advocate for responsible use of pesticides and herbicides.

Related Links and resources:

Non-GMO seed and feed companies

Like this article? Buy us a cup of coffee. Find out how here.

The post The GMO Question? appeared first on From Scratch Magazine.

]]>
http://www.fromscratchmag.com/the-gmo-question/feed/ 0