MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sustainability 101

We all throw away the chopped-off edges of onions and leek. But do you know that you can put those edges in soil, and they will grow into onions and leeks? Of course, they have to be organic; the non-organic ones are sprayed with chemicals and thus they will not grow back.

So, I immerse the chopped-edge of onion in small amount of water. Within couple of hours or maximum a day, I see fresh white roots emerging from the sides. I then plant in some soil. The second picture shows the green onion plants growing from such chopped off edges. Garlic plant growing from store-bought organic garlic clove; one of the potato in the potato-bag was budding. So, I put it in the soil, and couple of days later a potato plant is growing.

But, my prized possessions are the leeks that I am growing from chopped-off edges. While cooking leeks, we all throw away the edge which has the roots. Instead of throwing them away, I put them in the soil, and within couple of days a plant emerges. And, they grow fast!!! This whole plant has grown from that tiny edge within two weeks. Soon, I have to transplant them outside or in bigger containers and need to start putting soil around it to blanch the lower portion.

So far, I am growing onion, leek, garlic and potato from store-bought items. Now, I hear you. You will tell me that the store-bought potato might have some disease and that will affect my garden. I have not had such bad luck so far (touch-wood). I also believe that if you take care of soil, respect nature, love and caress and talk to your plants and don't use chemicals, no such accidents will happen. That has been my experience so far. But, who knows? I might be wrong as I am still a novice gardener. Re-using such store bought items and throw-away parts not only helps in sustainability but also in saving :-). Sweet potato slips can also be grown in similar ways - by hanging a sweet potato in water -- but no luck so far. Grrrrrrrrrrr.........

Do you have any ideas/advice/suggestions for growing food from store-bought items? 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Heirloom Gardener

I ended up ordering the Heirloom Gardener Magazine and The Heirloom Life Gardener Book from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Company . It is all Casa Mariposa's fault as she only directed me, through her blog, to the company's website :-). The website allowed me to browse through one of edition of the magazine, and I quite literally fell in love with it -- it seemed to have lots of information bound together in an 80-page spread; the price is also cheap, about $15 for a year subscription. So, I will share with you whatever valuable information I get from the magazine.

Do you subscribe to any of  the garden/farming related magazines? How are they?

While going through the website, I also came across some very startling but depressing facts: (1). There may be as little as 40 years of farmable soil remaining globally. For every pound of food eaten, 6 to 24 pounds of soil are lost due to water and wind erosion, as the result of agricultural practices, and (2). because of population growth, pollution of water sources, and greater use of water for industry, by 2050 each person on the Earth will have only 25% of the water that was available in 1950. Current agricultural practices use 80% of the Earth’s available water.

I hope we really do not reach such dire state.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day, all. Most women, if advertisements are anything to go by, demand chocolates, jewelleries and teddy bears. I can feel the arrival of the eminent spring in my bones; my demand was a trip to the garden center. So, my husband drove about 20 minutes to take me, yesterday (2/13/2013), to one of the largest but near-by garden-center, the Fairfield Garden Center. Spring is not here yet, and I do not know when it will come as it is still snowing. But, I am trying to get ready. So, I got:

Two-types of carrots, 4-varieties-in-a-pack eggplant, pepper, pole beans (the pretty red flowers of which apparently attracts butterflies and hummingbirds), Zinnia and Statice flower seeds, and a Dr. Earth's Organic Fertilizer bag
Six multicolored Hyacinth bulb at $5.99, don't I love bargains! A 72-pack seed-starter along with 100 wooden and plastic seed name-tags .

Valentine's Day is about love - love for your spouse, children, family, relatives, friends, pets, humanity and earth. With love comes fun and laughter, warmth and joviality. So, keeping those in mind, I present to you all two very lovely videos: A Message for Humanity by Charlie Chaplin, and Laughter is the best medicine. This is absolutely hilarious. Did you have any demand for the Valentine Day :-)?

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Captain Nemo

Why do I write blogs? I often wonder. I started writing blogs long time back, around 2004, when it was becoming popular. My original blogs are no longer active and I have removed them from public eyes. Then there was a long hiatus when I didn't write blogs, rather was busy in graduating, getting the first job and buying our first house. I resumed blogging again in 2010. This blog was originally about the lovely town Boonton where I live, but then it evolved into my gardening blog.

I first started writing a blog because I love reading and writing; I always dreamed of, and still dream of, becoming a reputed author. I can write professionally with extempore and metaphor, in flowery language in my mother tongue Bengali, but not in English. Blogging gave me the opportunity to practice writing in English, and learning from reading other blogs. Blogging also became to me like an appetizer - as people came, read the blog and left comments - satiating the taste bud of a budding writer on the way to becoming an author.

As with anything else, my reasons for blogging also evolved. Blogging has become a way to connecting with people around the world, getting a glimpse into their lives and mind, developing a kind of kinship, and becoming part of bloggerhood. Garden-blogging also allows me to connect with like-minded people, learn from their experiences and knowledge, keep a diary of my garden as it and my gardening skills evolve, share my experience and knowledge with other novice gardeners out there, and gather in one place all the wisdom that I gain about gardening and farming. There must be other reasons which my conscious mind does not know, but the subconscious one knows.

Why am I writing all these and what has all these got to do with Captain Nemo? Well, today Nemo attacked us and dumped about 1.5 feet of snow. It was not that bad compared to 30 inch snow accumulation that Long Island, NY has - many of our friends there cannot even get out of their houses as the front doors are blocked by walls of snow. Secondly, I can't do much gardening now, except growing some seedlings, and thus can't write much about gardening. So, here are some photos of Captain Nemo in our neighborhood.

Anyone wants big white wedding cakes? They are freely available from our deck :-). The evergreens bent down with snow. The roof of the new greenhouse is holding out nicely.
New ice-cream cones -- birdfeeder cones -- are available on market! A glimpse of our backyard. Pretty boring, huh!
. The tunnel-like indentations that you see on the field is actually the potato-bed with small hoops on top of them; the right side of the backyard; the left side of the backyard
Beautiful sculpture sculpted by Nemo. My big-and-wild boy, originally from Georgia, who loves to play in snow. The front porch.

Why do you blog?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gardens are always full of surprises....

My seventy-year old garden-and-math-friend gave me some Jerusalem Artichokes. It's amazing how fit and strong she is even at her age, but that's all total a different story to be told later on. Jerusalem Artichokes has no connection with artichoke the vegetable, rather it is related to sunflowers. That's why they are also sometimes called as Sunchokes, and is one of the native plant of the USA. I can't resist here and say that very few Americans know about Jerusalem Artichoke and that it is one of the native plants of the Northern and the Central USA!! The edible portion of the plant is the tuber that is grown underground. When you dig them up, they will look like potatoes. One can eat them raw -- my husband and I love eating it raw -- as it tastes like water-chestnut; or it can also be cooked. It has lots of minerals, vitamins and iron.

Now, you might be wondering where are the surprises here? Why did I say gardens are full of surprises? So, here is the story. Last February (February of 2012), my same friend gave me one Jerusalem artichoke. I brought it home and planted it in the garden. It produced a tall plant - about 10 feet tall - with lots of smaller sunflower like flowers (I took a picture but of course when you need it you can't find it). With the advance of winter, it died down. I went to the garden to dig out the artichokes. Lo and Behold! nothing was there. "Well!", I said to myself, "you are always learning from your mistakes while gardening; and, it  gave you lots of bright yellow, jovial, smaller-versions of sunflowers. So,...", and then I forgot all about it. I made the decision that if I needed to grow Jerusalem Artichokes, then I should follow whatever all those websites say and plant them in October to get a good harvest in the next fall. Of course, I didn't do that.

Then on January 30th, I went to the garden to plant the artichokes that I got from my friend again. This time there were lots of them. I went to the same spot, to plant them out, where I planted my first Jerusalem Artichoke. As I started digging, guess what I found? Yes, you have guessed correctly - I found lots of Jerusalem Artichokes that my very first plant produced. Apparently, Jerusalem Artichokes do not grow closer to the mother plant; they can grow at a quite a distance (1 or 2 feet) away and they also grow really in deep underground. So, while harvesting you need to dig really deep to find all the artichokes. Also, dig the ground in a radial circle 1 or 2 feet away from the mother plant as this plant can spread and can almost become like a weed. But if you don't mind native plant of the USA, nutritious food and lovely bright yellow flowers from a plant, then you will not mind the weed-like spreading habit of Jerusalem Artichoke. So, here is my harvest :-):