Monday, May 28, 2012

WMNF Sustainable Living Show

Every other Monday there is this wonderful show on WMNF called the Sustainable Living show hosted by Jon Butts. He and his wife are wonderfully amazing people whom i am so honored to meet and even more so to be their guest on their wonderful show!

Last year they asked me to be apart of this show but due to me working a Monday- Friday job it was impossible for me to get off work, but as luck would have it I took memorial day off work to go to the beach with my family. Last week I received a email asking me to come on, what perfect timing how could I say no!!

Sunday night I could hardly sleep I was so nervous (as I always get) so i tossed and turned thinking of what I would say, i woke up early to take a shower and get dressed still my mind was spinning with what I would say, what if i choked on my words, what if my mind went black, I chewed on my nails thinking (a terrible habit of mine)....

About 10:15 I got in my car to find the studio, heart pounding mind spinning, why on earth i always get so nervous before something new i have no idea but it keeps me on my toes, I pulled in and sat in the parking lot gathering my nerve, I walked to the front door... locked no-one inside to let me in, shit!

I called the number on the door... no answer.. I walked back to my car to see a van pull in with bumper stickers on the back and 2 people inside, I knew that had to be them. I waved as they walked over, struck with fear I greeted them but as soon as i stepped inside with them my fear and nervousness vanished, they were so kind and wonderful, great souls! We joked, laughed, and I got a tour of the place (rows and rows of records, I was in heaven)

We sat down and I explained who I was and what I was about, before I knew it we were walking into a studio room with microphones, tv's on the walls, headphones, knobs, switches, computers, phones.... again i felt the nervousness rush back, I was introduced to Rob and sweet man with a firm handshake, I took my seat adjusted the mic put on the head phones and we were off...

They started the piece with a clip from fresh all about the organic urban farming movement, then introduced me and my age (im very weird about my age because lets face it how many 22 year old's are into this stuff? I want to teach people, show people what can be done but I dont want them to think shes to young to do this and that etc so I normally refer to myself as a 20-something and leave it be at that), but as soon as they started asking questions I felt at home, I love speaking about gardening so everything came so easily to me, words were flowing out of my mouth and i didn't choke, my mind didn't go blank... I was at peace behind that mic and I loved every second of it!

I want to thank everyone who tuned in or found this blog because of that show, it was such a wonderful experience!!
For those of you who missed it but want to hear it CLICK HERE.. TAA DAA :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Garden Video

Take a walk with me around our early summer garden as the traditional starts to die and the tropical plants take hold!





Friday, May 25, 2012

Ugh its Hot Out There!

Florida summers~ where the days are in the upper 90's and the nights are in the lower 90's. The time when you would have to pay someone to walk outside let alone do any work outside.
Unfortunately there is no rest for the gardeners or farmers, always seeds to start, soil to build, food to harvest, plants to water, gardens to be built... always something

Its not really a bad thing it keeps us going but man you need to plan your days, you do not want to be out watering those plants between noon and 4.. first its not good for the plants to be sprayed with water then have the hot sun beat down on them, AND its not good for you either, those times are the hottest hours of the day so go for a swim, read a book, or lounge around in the AC.

This summer got hot quick.. well really the whole year has been unseasonably hot, I got no peach blooms (that means no peaches) this year due to a mild winter (not enough chill hours) then the couple we did get were killed by a late freeze.

We did however get a bumper crop of squash!!

Now the summer sun beats down upon my precious plants and they are already wilted by noon, the heat and humidity have brought a large wave of pests to the gardens which have killed many plants but mostly my wonderful squashes, but as the more traditional plants die back to the ground the unusual types start growing well, meaning the roselle, tropical spinach's, sweet potatoes, cowpeas, chaya, cassava, bananas, tropical fruit trees, and other goodies are taking the place of those traditional plants.

My eventual goal is to have no part of the garden without something growing ALL the time, this keeps the sun from beating down on bare soil, erosion, and many others problems that occur when leaving open ground.

Summer is about daydreaming of the cooler months where long days in the garden dont cause you to break into heat rashes or cause dehydration.. its also about planning new changes to the gardens.. some you can start during the hot months to get yourself a head start!

My Summer Goals:

~Re-Do the front yard, this means first creating a simple walkway throughout the yard and building gardens in all the space around the walkway, the front yard will contain edibles, flowers, moringa, and banana trees

~ Diggin' Swales, this means digging a glorified trench in a area that would easily catch water (in my case along the house for roof runoff and along the sidewalk for street floods) to help the water soak right into the soil, plant a garden right along the swales and walla a self watering garden.... kinda ;)

~ Replace a garden in the back, this means i will tear out a current garden that i placed in the wrong area (my very first garden bed that gets 99% shade and things WONT grow), I will move the garden out towards the center yard by just 4 feet and instead of creating a rectangle like it is now i will build it into a circle

~ Learn to grow flowers, this means buying a wildflower box of seeds creating a nice garden bed and teaching myself to grow the damn things, i dont know why but i can grow a veggie or fruit but i kill just about every flower that i get, UGH

~ Harvest seed, this means when all my wonderful cold leafy greens are finished flowering and produce seed i will harvest it for next season

~ Look back through my garden journal to see what i want to plant again, what i might want to plant again, and what i DO NOT want to plant again

Happy gardening and planning all!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Plant of the Week: Cassava

Cassava:
Aka: yuca, mogo, manioc, mandioca and kamoting kahoy

This is not the similarly-spelled yucca, an unrelated fruit-bearing shrub in the Asparagaceae family.

Cassava is a major food in the developing world.

Cassava is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing in poor soil!

The cassava root is long and tapered, with a firm flesh encased in a rough and brown rind on the outside. A woody core runs along the root's axis.
The flesh can be chalk-white or yellowish.
Cassava roots are very rich in starch, and contain significant amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C. However, they are poor in protein and other nutrients. In contrast, cassava leaves are a good source of protein (rich in lysine)!!!


Recipes:

Ingredients
Batter:

4 cups grated cassava (about 2 lbs total weight)
1 can coconut milk
½ can evaporated milk
2 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
6 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
½ cup condensed milk
14 tbsp sugar

Topping:

1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp sugar
½ cup condensed milk
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg white

Cooking:

Combine the grated cassava, butter, condensed milk, evaporated milk, cheese, sugar, and eggs in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly
Add the coconut milk in the mixing bowl where the mixed ingredients are. Mix again.
Grease the baking tray then pour-in the batter (ingredients that has just been mixed)
Pre -heat oven for 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes then put-in the baking tray with batter and bake for 1 hour.Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile prepare the batter by combining the sugar and flour and put-in the heated saucepan.
Pour-in the condensed milk then mix thouroughly.
Add the cheese while stirring constantly.
Pour the coconut milk and stir constantly for 10 minutes
Pour the topping over the Cassava Cake (baked batter) and spread evenly.
Separate the yolk from the egg white of the remaining egg (we’ll be needing the egg white)
Glaze the topping with the egg white (you may use a basting brush for this step)
Broil the Cassava cake until color turns light brown.
Garnish with grated cheese and serve. Share and enjoy!

Cassava Chips:

~ Peel cassava roots
~ Using a mandolin slice the roots into thin pieces
~ Put slices into a large bowl of ice cold water for 45 minutes
~ Drain and Dry
~ Fry until light brown and crisp
~ Drain on paper towels
~ Sprinkle with garlic powder and salt
~ Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More Pictures from International Permaculture Day~ Tampa

I love being sent pictures people took around the yard during this wonderful event! Keep them coming friends!






Food Forest Story: The first few months (pictures)

Creating the area, and scattering seeds:



The same area 3 weeks later:



After 6 weeks:




The same area after 9 weeks:







I cannot wait to see what they next few months holds, the chopping of nitrogen fixing flax, watching oats bloom, then harvested/ chopped/ and dropped, and hopefully that big melon (or squash) producing along with so many other wonderful goodies! As the annuals die back and add themselves back to the land more permie plants will fill in their spots, along with allowing any plants that wish to to reseed! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Food Forest?

Do you remember a couple months ago I started transforming part of my backyard into a future food forest. Now this is not a overnight process especially when you do not have the funds to buy a bunch of fruit trees and bushes all at once.

What is a food forest?
Its mimicking nature to recreate its natural beauty and self care in a edible environment. So you would start with tall trees (fruit or nut), then shorter trees (more fruit), then fruit bushes, regular plants, groundcover... creating layers like nature does, each plant has a different root reach, water needs, soil needs, so when you combine them all together they work perfectly, unlike if you plant all the same in one area!!

What plants I do have is...
5 banana trees
1 papaya tree
1 barbados cherry tree
1 Surnaim cherry bush
3 blackberry bushes
1 Pineapple
1 Moringa Tree
Cassava
Chaya
Rhubarb (if I can get it to last through the summer)
and a couple other permie plants

I will plant banana trees and morina along the west side of the house to create a shade block, and dig swales along the house to catch the roof runoff.

I plan to add 2 more large fruit trees and many more bananas and papayas and other fruit bushes and perennial vegetables.
It will be mostly these wonderful perennials with some annuals scattered around in half of the yard, the other half will remain my raised veggie beds holding many wonderful annuals but with a couple perennials mixed in, like bananas, papayas, chaya, and other goodies that provide a light dappled shade but still the sun that many annuals love! My house will become a wonderful assortment of rare and traditional fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers. The focus will not be the house but the many wonderful plants out front and back, the way the birds fly in and out, the ponds with fish and plants, the bees buzzing in and out of the flowers, chickens pecking happily in the area eating any bugs that wander to close to where they stand, ducks swimming happily in their pond, and the happy couple with their young daughter tending to it.

I just love planning and experimenting in the garden, there is nothing more rewarding then watching all your hard work blossom into wonderful food and a paradise in which my family, animals, and nature live harmoniously together!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Gardens

Here in Florida while the rest of the country is in bloom and happily gardening our gardens take a hit.. or well they are supposed to right?

It doesn't seem fair to me, that we should be left out of the summer fun, yes some days are just to darn hot they make you sweat like a glass of cold tea in the sun and you dont even want to walk outside but other days the humidity goes down and a cool wind blows. What do we do then?

Vegetable Gardeners rejoice! There are plants that will be happy here in summer!!!

Stick these in your gardens now:

Conventional:
Hot Pepper (the torture makes them HOTTER)
Okra (if you dont like the standard okra offerings try pickled okra, YUM)
Eggplant
Peanuts
Sweet Potatoes
Herbs
Cherry Tomatoes
Squash (the the bugs get bad in the summer so have some organic control handy)

Things you may have never heard of:
Malabar Spinach
Amaranth
Egyptian Spinach
Roselle
Sunchokes
Cardoon
Fake Roselle
Yuca
Cassava
Moringa


These are just some of the great summer veggies, dont think traditional start leaning your thinking towards tropicals... There are so many wonderful (sub)/tropical plants that will do well here, just start looking around!

One thing I want to see is a papaya and a moringa in EVERY yard!!! :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dear Mother Earth: Bless my garden with your magic, make it grow and be productive, please bless my family and friends with love, and prosperity, teach me to steward you to live longer and grow stronger, let your light shine down upon us save us from our own demise, please forgive my people for the destruction we cause upon you~ we simply do not understand. ~ We the People

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Article Written about International Permaculture Day~ Tampa FL

So many kind and wonderful people attended this great event I hosted here at Sunny Spot Gardens on May 6th for International Permaculture Day I couldn't have asked for a better crowd. 1 attendee Matt Spencer writes for 83 degrees media and wrote a GREAT piece on the event.

I am so amazed at all the wonderful things that have come to pass in the gardening community as of late.

Three Cheers for the "green" movement!!!! :)

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Avian Pox (Fowl Pox)

The chicken pox... a virus almost every single one of us have had... Parents would make their children play with other kids who had it just so they could get it over a done with (once you get it you cannot get it again)... the same as I understand with avian pox, the bird form of "chicken" pox

Out little hen named Tiny who was traded to us for our rooster Happy was in confinement for 2 1/2 weeks outta the 4 weeks you are supposed to keep them in when she came down the the avian pox, first her comb got little blisters and crud on it, so we cleaned it off then she developed little sores and warty looking things on her toes, waddle, and beak.

I looked into every chicken disease I could find online before settling on this diagnosis... reduced egg laying, stress, the bumps and sores, the lack of eating... it all fit.

Sadly there is no real cure, we have started adding apple cider vinegar to her water (and the others) as well, and cleaning her sores with rubbing alcohol which some say make them heal faster.

She has the dry form which shows as warts and sores on the parts of the body not covered in feathers, the other "wet" form, creates sores in the mouth and eyes and can cause is some SEVERE cases death or eye loss.

Avian pox is spread by mosquitoes which in Florida is a big problem, so I am glad to learn about this now.

She will remain in quarantine until it is all gone and there are NO sores left.

Poor little Tiny!!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Internation Permaculture Day ~ Tampa FL Event Youtube

A special thanks to Eric Stewart who not only spoke at my event but also recorded the whole thing then edited it and uploaded to youtube so all could enjoy!!














May 6th: International Permaculture Day

May 6th 2012 was the first International Permaculture Day celebrated all over the world. Anyone was welcome to put together a event in their area, so I took it to heart and started to piece together a group. Slowly but surely the invites went out, messages to people who might like to speak, bands who might like to play, people to attend... It grew, slowly at first, 1 speakers, 3 maybes, 2 speakers, 4 maybes, 5 speakers, 5 maybes, 10 SPEAKERS!!!!!

I ended up with a fantastic line up of speakers.

Schedule:

~ 10am: Brian Ritter- Transition from Stagnation to Inspiration

~ 10:30am: Eric Stewart- Permablitz

~ 11am: John Starnes- Alternative Summer Crops

~ 11:30am: Tricia Gaitan Medina- Making Issues into Assets: Going Zero Waste in the Backyard Farm
**Unfortunately had to cancel so a wonderful gentlemen spoke briefly about straw bale gardening.**

~ 12 (noon): Tom Carroll- The Shift to Permaculture: Returning to Holistic

~ 12:30pm: Mary Davis- Care of the People & Sharing the Surplus

~ 1pm: Ara Mcleod- The Underground Movement: Anarchism, Gardening, & Food Security

~ 1:30pm: Lynda Mink- Community Gardens
**Who also had to cancel so Andy Firk led everyone on a Urban Foraging plant walk around the neighborhood.**

~ 2pm: Emmanuel Roux- DEMO- Storing Water Underground @ Location: Self watering & Hugelkulture

~ 2:30PM: Ryan Iacovacci- Radical Community Engagement & the Hope of Urban Agriculture

Everyone was filled with such a positive wonderful energy and everyone was talking, laughing, and joking around. Hugs and kisses were given, chickens were petted, the garden was toured, pictures were taken, video was recorded, and wonderful food was enjoyed.

Besides having a toilet that couldn't handle the amount of flushing going on and getting a late start (my fault) everything went smooth and wonderfully. I couldn't be filled with any more wonderful positive energy. Im refreshed and thrilled with the community building going on.

I hosted it as a free event, and Shells Feed Store loaned us a couple straw bales for sitting, a donation box was placed at the gate and if you had it, you could donate, if not you were welcome to come and enjoy. I did get wonderful donations from people so THANK YOU ALL (its all going back into the garden), but it wasn't about the money (that's why it was free), it was about getting people together, getting them excited, and creating a community were we could meet each other, talk with each other, love each other for who were are.

It was truly amazing and I just want to say a HUGE thank you to all the wonderful smart speakers and to all the amazing attendees. THANK YOU EVERYONE!!







Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Need Land???

Live in an apt, condo or very small lot?

Pamela Martin Lunn has plenty of space for a garden!!!
~~Youll just have to help her move the horse fence (maybe a couple hours work)~~


Rules:
no chemicals can be used on the property
must be organic
She has the right to fresh pick from your garden (but wont take advantage of that)

SHe is located 2 miles from the Oldsmar Flea Market.
Lots and lots of free goat and chicken manure available for use here and take home for your garden.
Either you can furnish rain collectors and catch the rain water from the house or you can contribute $1 per day that you irrigate with their city water!

**We highly encourage collection units!***

Easy 3/4 acre of land available.

There is well point in the ground and piping but her well tank rusted, (she does have the motor and an extra though)
Fix it and get free water from the ground.

Groups or individuals!
This can be a long term situation!

Contact Pam at: thedancinggoat83@gmail.com