Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do You Want to Eat Genetically-Altered Salmon?

If the biotech industry gets its way, the ground may be cleared on selling genetically-altered farmed salmon to consumers as early as next year. You won't even know that you are eating these frankenfish- labeling of GMO foods is not required. Just one more reason why we are working towards raising our own catfish in our own backyard. No frankenfish on my table!

FDA Considering Approval of First Genetically Modified Food Animal

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is holding a hearing today to allow its medical advisers to assess any potential hazard from a proposed genetically modified Atlantic salmon. AquaAdvantage, which put in an application with the FDA more than 10 years ago to allow its altered salmon to be commercially farmed and sold to consumers, contends that its GMO salmon is identical in every way to wild and conventionally farmed salmon.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mobile Slaughterhouses: Cutting Costs and Carbon for Local Farmers

This is a much-needed service across the country that will allow for more small local meat farmers. I would absolutely use the services of a mobile slaughterhouse rather than have to butcher my own meat birds. Unfortunately, it is still illegal in many states.

 Everyone loves an ice cream truck. That familiar, jingling ditty resounds throughout the neighborhood, luring kids out of their homes in pursuit of a frozen treat. One truck can service multiple neighborhoods, while parents enjoy the convenience of an ice cream provider that comes to them. No carting car-fulls of screaming youngsters miles away to an ice cream parlor or grocery store — a luxury that saves stress and carbon emissions.

The neighborhood Mister Softee really isn't so different from the latest trend in sustainable meat, the mobile slaughterhouse. And no, I promise I'm not digressing into a plot from a horror film.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tips for the Lazy Gardener: Composting in Place

Probably one of my most favorite realizations- that I could just layer compost and leave it rather than actively have to combine it. Guess I'm just lazy at heart!

An Easier Way to Compost and Build Nutrient-Rich Planting Beds

Composting food scraps that would otherwise end up in the landfill is a great way to become more environmentally friendly. Not only does it break down biodegradable vegetative waste, but it provides you with a fantastic organic soil amendment that will make your flowers and vegetables grow well and be more productive. Sometimes, however, setting up a composting system can be time-consuming and frustrating. Remembering to turn the composting pile every so often to aerate it and trying to keep critters away from the tasty treats you add to the pile are two examples. 

If you're lazy like me, finding an easier way to compost just makes sense. It gives you a sense of accomplishment without all the work. One of the easiest ways to compost is to compost in place. In other words, add the scrap material to the area where the compost will eventually be used. This method works well for building new planting beds, amending vegetable beds not currently in use, and larger planters. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to Turn Your Stale Bread into Delicious Meals

I make almost all of my own bread and I invariably have little ends and crusts left over in the refrigerator. My chickens are now the beneficiary of all of this grainy goodness, but here are some ways to use up bread if you don't happen to have feathered friends:

Everyone has stale bread of some description in their refrigerator. It's either the heels of a loaf of bread long since finished, a couple of biscuits that didn't get eaten at dinner last night, or that loaf of French bread, now hard as a bullet, that you meant to serve with the spaghetti last week. These remnants of meals past stay in your refrigerator because you don't want to be wasteful and throw them out. 

Well, you don't have to. Cooks have been finding inventive ways to use up stale bread since bread was born. If you want to "save up" your stale bread for a time, keep a bag in the freezer with all of your bread ends. Here are some of my favorite uses for stale bread:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Make Your Own Herbal Vinegars: Do-It-Yourself Gifts for the Kitchen

Using herbal vinegars in the kitchen is one of my favorite secrets. They provide a really bright note to many dishes. Here are some tips on making your own using the herbs from your garden:

Gourmet chefs have used herb-infused vinegars for decades to give dishes a deep, rich note or a bright finishing touch. The price of store-bought herbal vinegars is steadily increasing as it is considered a "gourmet" item. 

Luckily, it's easy to make your own herbal vinegar at home. Herbal vinegars make wonderful hostess and holiday gifts but are also indispensable in your own kitchen.


Friday, August 20, 2010

How to Survive an Impending Famine

One common reason for wanting to grow your own food is to ensure that your family can feed itself in the face of an emergency or food shortage. Here are some tips for making sure that you are prepared for the much-reported wheat and rice shortages to come:

Tips to Protecting Yourself and Your Family

It may seem alarmist to be discussing famine in America in 2008, but economists, agricultural experts and politicians alike are watching the markers. The safety and security of our food crops is taken for granted although it takes only a few disasters, either natural or man-made, to upset the balance and availability of crops. 

In March 2008, spring flooding has all but eradicated Arkansas' spring wheat crop and Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri all are reporting similar conditions. Much of the remaining U.S. wheat crop has been pre-sold to foreign countries, therefore it will be domestic supplies that run out first. 


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tips for the Lazy Gardener: Propagating Your Plants

I'm a big fan of getting something for nothing, and I propagate most of my own (and friends') plants this way:

How to Get More Plants with Less Effort

One way to increase the number of plants is through vegetative propagation. Depending on the type of plant, you can vegetatively propagate through the rooting of tip cuttings or by dividing the clump. Each cutting or new division becomes a new plant that you've acquired for free. 


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Make Your Own Fish Fertilizer - Turn Your Fish Scraps into Garden Gold

Fish fertilizer is one of the best for your vegetable garden. If you fish, you can make your own.

If you are a fisherman (or fisherwoman, as the case may be), you are used to having buckets of fish parts left over after cleaning your fish. Instead of throwing them out, try making your own fish fertilizer. Commercial fish fertilizer available in stores can cost more than $30 per gallon. You can make your own for free. Homemade fish fertilizer has the added benefit of using fresh fish which improves the levels of enzymes and other beneficial elements. Although the process is a bit smelly, once you see how your plants react to the fish fertilizer, you will be hooked. 


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planting an Herbal Tea Garden

You can grow all of the most popular herbs for tea right on your patio!

If you are a fan of herbal teas, you know how expensive they can be to buy in grocery stores. Fortunately, the most common herbs that go into herbal teas are easy to grow and fast to spread. You can make your own custom tea blends every morning with nothing more than a pair of scissors and a teapot. Follow these tips to grow all of your favorite tea herbs:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Growing Strawberries in Hanging Baskets

Improve Your Strawberry Yield and Beautify Your Patio

Eating fresh strawberries is one of my favorite spring rituals. I'm not talking about those cellophane-boxed giant red cardboard-tasting strawberries shipped from California. I mean my own strawberries picked fresh every morning in my pajamas from my patio. 

Growing strawberries is an easy gardening project and very economical as strawberries will create their own babies to replace them in two to three years. Growing strawberries in hanging baskets is not only visually stunning, but keeps strawberries from rotting on the soil and helps keep squirrels and other strawberry-lovers away. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Make Your Own Marinated Olives

Rather than paying exorbitant amounts for gourmet marinated olives in the grocery store, make your own starting with regular canned olives.

Marinated olives are a particularly welcome treat on an appetizer platter. There are as many kinds of olives as there are palates. Both green (unripe) and black (ripe) olives come from Italy, Spain, Morocco and California. 

Marinated olives in the deli section of your local grocery store can cost upwards of $12 per pint. The good news is that it is easy to make your own gourmet, marinated olives from a can of 99-cent olives and a few simple ingredients. 


Monday, August 2, 2010

The Penny-Wise Gourmet: Make Your Own Gourmet Potato Chips

You can make better (and healthier!) potato chips than anything you can buy in the store!

Easy Microwave Method Saves Money and Calories

Gourmet potato chips in the grocery store are tempting with so many flavor combinations not found in your regular bag of Lay's. Flavors such as malt vinegar & sea salt, spring onion & cilantro and basil & garlic. 

But they can also be very expensive; costing as much as $6 per bag. Fortunately, it is easy and very inexpensive to make your own custom gourmet potato chips at home without the mess of deep frying. This is not only good news for your pocketbook but for your bathroom scale as well. 


Friday, July 30, 2010

Growing an Herbal Pharmacy

Did you know that you can grow most of the herbs you need to keep you healthy and to treat minor illnesses? Here are some great suggestions to grow your own medicine cabinet:

Herbs have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. Herbs also form the basis for many of our prescription medications today. It's easy to grow your own herbal pharmacy and you'll be ready the next time you have a headache or a cut or burn . 


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gardening with Kids: How to Grow Your Own Pizza Garden

A fun project for families and a great way to show kids where food REALLY comes from!

One very entertaining and educational activity to share with your child is to plant a vegetable garden. What makes it more fun is to give the garden a theme, in this case, growing a pizza garden. 

You don't need to have a half acre of farmable land in order to grow vegetables. Setting up a few pots on your patio will give you all of the ingredients you need to grow your own pizza garden. Your first step will be listing out those ingredients that you and your kids like to have on pizza. Do this planning stage together and it will get the kids more involved in "their" pizza garden project. 


Saturday, July 24, 2010

How to Make the Most Out of Your Big-Box Club Memberships

There are certain staples that we will always need to buy from the store unless we are completely self-sufficient. Here's how to pay the least for them:

Buying a membership to a big-box club store such as Sam's Club or Costco may seem like a great money-saving idea. Unfortunately, most big-box shoppers don't know if they are actually saving money. Follow these tips to maximize the money you save on big-box purchases. 


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Growing Heirlooms: All About Hutterite Soup Beans

The Hutterites were an Anabaptist break-away group established in Moravia under the leadership of Jakob Hutter in 1529. In 1874, a colony of Hutterites emigrated to the United States from Russia, fleeing religious in-fighting and external persecution. 

Colonies of Hutterites still live in South Dakota today, but more than 75% live in Western Canada, where many emigrated in 1918, after a violent incident where two sect members were killed by the U.S. military. 

When the Hutterites came to North America, they brought with them the seeds they knew how to grow and that they knew would sustain them. One of those was what is now known as the heirloom Hutterite Soup Bean. 


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes: With a Mediterranean Summer Salad Recipe

Growing heirloom tomatoes in your home garden is one of the easiest and tastiest projects imaginable. The tomatoes that you can buy in the grocery store have been bred specifically for their ability to be shipped without damage all over the world. They are frequently picked green then sprayed with ethylene gas to finish the appearance of ripening. Home-grown tomatoes, however, especially heirloom varieties that have been grown in back yards for hundreds of years, can be picked at the absolute pinnacle of ripeness and enjoyed immediately. 


Growing Heirlooms: Moon & Stars Watermelon

One of my favorite summer plantings!

Growing watermelons is amazingly fun and satisfying and easy enough for the novice gardener. The watermelon variety "Moon & Stars" is a variety that was originally introduced commercially in 1920 as "Sun, Moon, and Stars" but was growing in American family gardens for decades before that. In the 1970s, Kent Whealy of the Seed Savers Exchange began a long search for this reputedly delicious and easy to grow melon. For several years, his search was futile and he concluded that this heritage watermelon was lost forever.