some of these are from HQcreations…cherimoyas and something else i wish i could remember. The big shiny looks like coffee

I think it’s definitely coffee. My plants look just like that! I love your indoor setup. I am going to try and negotiate a small corner of the house this year where I can be allowed to set up my grow lamp.



i found a real treasure today…we were harvesting leek at work, and among the sturdy green stalks i undug one that was a bit thinner and VARIEGATED! in the most beautiful way…stripes all along the stalk.Never seen a leek like that….can´t find any on google either.
My master gardener told me to bring it home if i wanted, and so i did.
Now i am concerned about how to keep it alive and propagate it….i trimmed the top off it, since it was a bit broken and looking sloggy. For the moment I have put it in good soil in a pot, outside. I hope it manages to survive the winter, and goes into seed next year….wish me luck!


The “ Six-Pack” Backyard Solar Greenhouse- 1975


(via blackfemalebotanist)



It took me a moment. But then I cried.

#math #humour


September 17, 2014

The first of the 'Royalty Purple Pod' bush beans planted in late July.




I finally assembled all of the necessary components to create BioChar and on Sunday I did my first test batch. If you are new to BioChar go HERE.

For a more technical overview go HERE.

I think you will be hearing a lot more about Pyrolysis and BioChar in the coming decade as we explore methods for sequestering carbon. In addition to removing carbon from the Carbon Cycle it makes an excellent soil amendment and produces a clean burning syngas that can be used as a fuel.

My first burn was a complete success and the char was beautiful. 

I used the double barrel method. A 16 gallon metal barrel (the retort) sits inside a 55 gallon metal drum. The vent modifications took about 20 minutes using a drill for the holes on the retort and a grinder with a metal cutting disc to cut the bottom vents on the outer barrel. 

There are many variations on this setup but here are the details on the configuration that I used.

My next step is to test the char in the garden. 

#biochar #soil #soil science #DIY

(via hqcreations)

I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as “presentism” by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. Some early colonists gave the same answer. Horrifying the leaders of Jamestown and Plymouth, scores of English ran off to live with the Indians. My ancestor shared their desire, which is what led to the trumped-up murder charges against him—or that’s what my grandfather told me, anyway.

As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they often viewed Europeans with disdain. The Hurons, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.” Europeans, Indians said, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain dirty. (Spaniards, who seldom if ever bathed, were amazed by the Aztec desire for personal cleanliness.) A Jesuit reported that the “Savages” were disgusted by handkerchiefs: “They say, we place what is unclean in a fine white piece of linen, and put it away in our pockets as something very precious, while they throw it upon the ground.” The Micmac scoffed at the notion of French superiority. If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants leaving?

Like people everywhere, Indians survived by cleverly exploiting their environment. Europeans tended to manage land by breaking it into fragments for farmers and herders. Indians often worked on such a grand scale that the scope of their ambition can be hard to grasp. They created small plots, as Europeans did (about 1.5 million acres of terraces still exist in the Peruvian Andes), but they also reshaped entire landscapes to suit their purposes. A principal tool was fire, used to keep down underbrush and create the open, grassy conditions favorable for game. Rather than domesticating animals for meat, Indians retooled whole ecosystems to grow bumper crops of elk, deer, and bison. The first white settlers in Ohio found forests as open as English parks—they could drive carriages through the woods. Along the Hudson River the annual fall burning lit up the banks for miles on end; so flashy was the show that the Dutch in New Amsterdam boated upriver to goggle at the blaze like children at fireworks. In North America, Indian torches had their biggest impact on the Midwestern prairie, much or most of which was created and maintained by fire. Millennia of exuberant burning shaped the plains into vast buffalo farms. When Indian societies disintegrated, forest invaded savannah in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, and the Texas Hill Country. Is it possible that the Indians changed the Americas more than the invading Europeans did? “The answer is probably yes for most regions for the next 250 years or so” after Columbus, William Denevan wrote, “and for some regions right up to the present time.”

Quoted from the essay "1941" written by Charles C. Mann, about the major impact that Native Americans had on the Americas (ecologically and culturally).

Check out the whole piece (which is rather long). (P.S thanks to @cazalis for sending me this great link)

another excerpt:

Human history, in Crosby’s interpretation, is marked by two world-altering centers of invention: the Middle East and central Mexico, where Indian groups independently created nearly all of the Neolithic innovations, writing included. The Neolithic Revolution began in the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. In the next few millennia humankind invented the wheel, the metal tool, and agriculture. The Sumerians eventually put these inventions together, added writing, and became the world’s first civilization. Afterward Sumeria’s heirs in Europe and Asia frantically copied one another’s happiest discoveries; innovations ricocheted from one corner of Eurasia to another, stimulating technological progress. Native Americans, who had crossed to Alaska before Sumeria, missed out on the bounty. “They had to do everything on their own,” Crosby says. Remarkably, they succeeded.

When Columbus appeared in the Caribbean, the descendants of the world’s two Neolithic civilizations collided, with overwhelming consequences for both. American Neolithic development occurred later than that of the Middle East, possibly because the Indians needed more time to build up the requisite population density. Without beasts of burden they could not capitalize on the wheel (for individual workers on uneven terrain skids are nearly as effective as carts for hauling), and they never developed steel. But in agriculture they handily outstripped the children of Sumeria. Every tomato in Italy, every potato in Ireland, and every hot pepper in Thailand came from this hemisphere. Worldwide, more than half the crops grown today were initially developed in the Americas.

Maize, as corn is called in the rest of the world, was a triumph with global implications. Indians developed an extraordinary number of maize varieties for different growing conditions, which meant that the crop could and did spread throughout the planet. Central and Southern Europeans became particularly dependent on it; maize was the staple of Serbia, Romania, and Moldavia by the nineteenth century. Indian crops dramatically reduced hunger, Crosby says, which led to an Old World population boom.

Along with peanuts and manioc, maize came to Africa and transformed agriculture there, too. “The probability is that the population of Africa was greatly increased because of maize and other American Indian crops,” Crosby says. “Those extra people helped make the slave trade possible.” Maize conquered Africa at the time when introduced diseases were leveling Indian societies. The Spanish, the Portuguese, and the British were alarmed by the death rate among Indians, because they wanted to exploit them as workers. Faced with a labor shortage, the Europeans turned their eyes to Africa. The continent’s quarrelsome societies helped slave traders to siphon off millions of people. The maize-fed population boom, Crosby believes, let the awful trade continue without pumping the well dry.

Back home in the Americas, Indian agriculture long sustained some of the world’s largest cities. The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe’s greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren’t ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.) Central America was not the only locus of prosperity. Thousands of miles north, John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, visited Massachusetts in 1614, before it was emptied by disease, and declared that the land was “so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people … [that] I would rather live here than any where.”

and another excerpt:

In as yet unpublished research the archaeologists Eduardo Neves, of the University of São Paulo; Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida; and their colleagues examined terra preta in the upper Xingu, a huge southern tributary of the Amazon. Not all Xingu cultures left behind this living earth, they discovered. But the ones that did generated it rapidly—suggesting to Woods that terra preta was created deliberately. In a process reminiscent of dropping microorganism-rich starter into plain dough to create sourdough bread, Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time.

When Woods told me this, I was so amazed that I almost dropped the phone. I ceased to be articulate for a moment and said things like “wow” and “gosh.” Woods chuckled at my reaction, probably because he understood what was passing through my mind. Faced with an ecological problem, I was thinking, the Indians fixed it. They were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything.


Related: The Amazon as a Food Forest

#indigenous #Anthropology #Archaeology #bioregionalism #North America #South America #pyriscence #terra preta #agroforestry #forest gardening

(via earthisalie)


A farmer in the south tends to his Cassava plants. 1980s[X]

#Africa #farming


A farmer in the south tends to his Cassava plants. 1980s

#Africa #farming

(via urbansoulfarmer)

I have the same thoughts on this as I do guerrillla grafting.


  • Sidewalks are sites of a lot of toxic runoff (including heavy metals), as well as airbourne particulate emissions from vehicles.
  • People walk their dogs, along them, who urinate and defecate in these spaces. This is not neccessarily bad, as long as it doesn’t touch food. It can be safely taken care of with a worm tower and a poop scoop.
  • People often feel embarrassed, distrusting, or ashamed getting their food from roadside sources, and so the food is left to rot: attracting wasps.
  • Tree roots can disrupt public infrastructure (pipes, roads, sidewalks), which is a significant cost and can damage a community’s public works: this is decidedly not good if said community is already under-served. Call before you dig!
  • Planting flowers and local flora for native bees and pollinators is probably the best.
  • Planting food is best done in places with a lower pollution burden: ie. abandoned lots, rooftops, balconies, and parks.
  • This is not saying “foodwalks” are a bad idea in every scenario, just be careful and think twice, and maybe consult someone before going for it.

#guerrilla gardening #guerrilla grafting #forest gardening #edible landscaping #health

(via theoreticalpermaculture)