How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps

February 12, 2019 by  
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Meal plans and grocery lists, the cycle never ends. While some of your foods may come from carefully cultivated seeds or seedlings planted in your garden , did you know that you can grow food from food? You have probably heard that romaine lettuce regenerates easily if the base is placed in water, or that basil and cilantro cuttings will turn into entire plants, but there are many, many more foods that will grow from your kitchen scraps. Here’s a highlight reel. Bon appetit! Garlic Growing your own garlic is easy as well as rewarding. Start with a healthy bulb of your favorite varietal. Separate the bulb into individual cloves. Then place each clove into the soil with the pointy end facing upward. Allow 4 to 6 inches between each clove for a bulb to form. Cloves should go into the ground in the fall, before the first frost, and will be ready to harvest in the spring. After harvest, hang dry the entire stalk. You can braid stalks together for compact storage. During the winter and summer months, you can plant cloves indoors and enjoy the garlic greens, but don’t expect bulbs to form in these conditions. Related: 6 surprising uses for garlic you probably didn’t know about Peppers Seeds from both sweet peppers (red, green, yellow and orange) and hot peppers (jalapeno, habanero) can be dried and used in the garden next season. Be sure to choose seeds from healthy, non-hybrid plants for the best chance of success. Remove the seeds from a well-matured fruit and lay them out to dry. Store dried seeds in a cool location, like your refrigerator, and be sure to label the jar. In late spring or early summer, plant your seeds in soil. Thin and replant once they grow a few inches high. Tomatoes Tomato plants often have issues with bacteria, so make sure you choose fruit from very healthy plants and allow the fruit to ripen completely before harvesting the seeds. Once ripe, scoop out the seeds along with the gel that surrounds it. Place the seeds into a jar with some water. Stir the mixture twice each day until the mixture ferments. Around day five, the seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar. When this happens, pour off the liquid, rinse the seeds and dry them spread out on paper towels or cloth. Store the same way as for peppers. Peas and beans Again, this is a situation of harvesting the seed for your next harvest , saving you the cost of purchasing new seeds or plants. Wait until peas or beans are very dry and turn brown on the plant before harvesting. You should hear the seeds rattle inside the pod. After removing the entire pod from the plant, lay it to dry for at least two weeks. At this point, you can remove the seeds or leave the entire pod intact and remove the seeds when planting season arrives. Potatoes Some argue that potatoes need to be grown from potato starts specific to the purpose. However, any backyard gardener knows that if left alone for an extra week, those potatoes in the drawer will sprout voluntarily. To grow your own potatoes, cut your sprouting potatoes into large chunks, about two inches around, and leave them to dry out for a few days. In early spring, drop the chunks into the soil for harvest in mid-summer. Barrels or large pots work well for creating layers of potatoes in a compact space. Related: How to grow an avocado tree from an avocado pit Strawberries This one takes a little patience, because strawberry seeds are very small. You may not have even realized that the little seeds on the outside of the berry can produce more plants. To harvest the seeds, use tweezers. Alternately, you can “peel” the outer layer off the strawberry. Place the peel or seeds in soil and cover lightly with more soil. Place in a sunny windowsill and water regularly until the starts emerge from the dirt and are ready for transplanting outdoors. Turmeric You may have heard how easy it is to grow your own ginger, so it’s not surprising the turmeric will grow using the same technique. As rhizomes, the large bulbs divide and regenerate well. The trick is to plant the root sideways, which may feel contrary to what you’re used to. Turmeric naturally grows best in tropical locations, so it will probably perform best indoors across most of the United States; it will be happiest at 75-80 degrees. Plant the root in soil, water frequently and allow it a few months to mature. Harvest when it begins to dry out. Pumpkins If you’ve ever thrown a pumpkin into a  compost  pile, you’ve probably seen a plant shoot out of the ground some months later. Grow your own pumpkins (on purpose) by drying a few seeds from last year’s jack-o-lantern. Create a dirt mound in your garden and plant the seeds well spaced apart, or thin the plants once they pop through the soil. Pineapples When you think pineapple, you probably envision tall, swaying palm trees and tropical breezes, but it is possible to turn one pineapple into another in the comfort of your home. Cut the top off of a healthy pineapple and prop it above a container filled with water. You want it to hover rather than float — toothpicks can help with this. Keep the water level consistent until you see roots begin to form. At this point, transplant your pineapple into potting soil. Fruit trees It does take a long-term commitment, but apple, nectarine, peach, plum, apricot, cherry and even lemon trees will grow from seed. Simply save seeds from healthy, non-hybrid fruits. Dry them thoroughly, and plant them in quality soil in an area that receives direct sunlight. For the best results, plant a few of each type of tree next to each other. Images via Manfred Richter , Vinson Tan , Efraimstochter ,  Christer Mårtensson , Arut Thongsombut , Franck Barske , Hans Braxmeier ,  Pexels and Shutterstock

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How to grow 10 foods from kitchen scraps

Seed-Saving 101: How to harvest and store herb, tomato, and berry seeds

September 21, 2016 by  
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Another great aspect of harvest season is that it’s the time of year when most plants go to seed , thus ensuring a strong new crop for the following spring. Those of you with food gardens have probably noticed the metamorphosis that your plants are going through right now, but unless you have experience with harvesting and keeping seeds, you probably don’t quite know how to go about doing so. Good news, then! This is the first in a 2-part piece on how to harvest those little nuggets of potential so you can sow them once springtime rolls around once again. With so much dirt coming out about Monsanto ’s unethical practices and the prevalence of GMO plants , it’s become far more important to save organic and heirloom seeds to preserve diversity and health in our food plants. If you’ve planted organic herbs/veggies in your own garden , it’s great to harvest seeds for the next planting season. But if you’re uncertain whether they’re organic or not, you might want to hold off on doing so—there’s a good chance that any non-organic seeds you harvest won’t be viable, and may have genetic modifications we don’t want to propagate. We’ll be focusing primarily on small seeds for the intro here: namely herbs, tomatoes, and berries. Related: 7 Easily Propagated Fruits to Transform Your Backyard into a Food Forest Garden Herbs If you’ve ever planted herbs from seed (either culinary or medicinal), you’ll remember how teensy those they are: basil seeds are around 0.5mm each, for example, and most other herb seeds are comparable size to that. If you try to pluck the pips from your culinary or medicinal plants while they’re out in the garden, you’re likely to lose half of them to the soil below. The best way to collect these seeds is in a simple brown paper bag . If you’ve decided to harvest your own seeds, be sure to let a portion of your plant stock go to seed , instead of plucking all the flowers from them; those buds will dry up, and the pips will form inside them as they do. Let these dry out as much as possible on the plant itself out in the sunshine, but keep an eye on weather forecast and feel free to harvest them  early in case of major storms brewing. When the seed heads are dry enough to be plucked, place a small paper lunch bag over the plant and secure it several inches down the stalk with a twist-tie. Cut the plant with a knife or scissors a few inches below that, tie a string around the twist, and hang the bag upside-down in a cool, dry place for about a week; this will give the plant even more time to dry out, and the seed casings tend to pop open as they dry and shrink. After a week (or two) has passed, take the bag down and shake it fairly vigorously—this will help to free the seeds from their casings, and they’ll collect at the bottom of the paper sack. Tomato Seeds Most people who are new to home/urban gardening start out with a couple of tomato plants —whether little cherry tomatoes in pots on a balcony, or several varieties scattered through their garden space. Saving tomato seeds is a slightly more involved process, as they require a bit of fermentation  to break down the delicate membrane around each seed so they’re open, fertile, and ready to plant in the spring. Related: DIY – How to Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Annual Growing Scrape out the seeds of a ripe tomato, and set them aside in a dish. Try to harvest only one variety of tomato at a time so you don’t accidentally mix your batches. Put the collected seeds into a very fine sieve, and run them under running water, rubbing them very gently to get as much of the pulp off as possible. Once cleaned off, put the seeds in a clean jar, add about a cup of room temperature water, and seal with the jar’s lid . Keep the jar in a cool, dark cupboard for a few days, and just give it a bit of a swirl a couple of times a day. In a little less than a week, you should see frothy bubbles forming in the jar, and most of the seeds settled at the bottom of it: these are the viable ones, so discard any of the floaters, and tip the bottom-dwelling seeds back into that sieve, give them a good rinse, and then spread them out on paper towel or a very fine mesh screen ( like an old window screen ) to dry for a couple of days. Berries The method of saving berry seeds is very similar to that of tomatoes, only without the fermentation process. For species like currants, raspberries and blackberries, just mash the overripe fruit around in a metal sieve to loosen it all up, rinse under running water, and allow to dry on paper, paper towel, or a mesh screen. To save the tiny seeds of certain berries (mulberries, blueberries), it’s actually better to freeze or dehydrate some berries whole and then plant them in the spring: as the fruits decompose, they’ll nourish the seeds held within them. Storing seeds If you’ve decided to go ahead and dry some seeds, you’ll need to store them safely until the next planting season. The two greatest enemies of safe seed-saving are high temperatures and high moisture, so if you store your seeds in a place that tends to get damp, or where the temperature and humidity fluctuate dramatically, it’s more than likely that the seeds will lose their ability to germinate. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your seeds in paper envelopes that have their variety and date harvested written on them, and store those inside closed glass jars. Keep these in a dry place that stays at a pretty even temperature, and you should have viable seeds aplenty next season. Note: If you can get your friends and neighbors to save seeds from their gardens, you can organize a seed-trading party in the spring. This will give you all a chance to get your plants cross-pollinated with other strains, and you’ll be able to try out different varieties to see what grows best in the space that you have . You’ll also be able to see which varieties you like the most! Stay-tuned for Seed-Saving part 2, in which we’ll focus on saving larger seeds: gourds, melons, beans, and grains.

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Seed-Saving 101: How to harvest and store herb, tomato, and berry seeds

Tiny two-pound Micro Wind Turbine folds up just like an umbrella

September 21, 2016 by  
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While scaled-up renewable energy plants can generate a great deal of energy , there’s a huge demand for smaller devices in off-grid, remote, or harsh locations. Designer Nils Ferber created a Micro Wind Turbine that works as well on a blustery mountaintop as it does in a backyard garden, and can charge smartphones via a USB port on the turbine . Weighing around two pounds, the Micro Wind Turbine folds up like an umbrella and can be easily transported. https://vimeo.com/174336941 Ferber’s Micro Wind Turbine unfolds along a telescopic shaft, popping out into a tiny turbine that ” produces a constant output of five watts at a windspeed of 18 kilometers per hour .” An “integrated battery pack” with a 24 watt-hour capacity can store the energy, or users can charge a device directly through a USB port right on the turbine. The blades are made of sturdy fabric and can capture wind energy blowing from any direction. Related: Insane Screwdriver-Powered EX Vehicle Rockets You Headfirst Through the Streets The Micro Wind Turbine works where solar panels tend to struggle, such as cloudy locations where sunlight is infrequent or at night. It’s designed for outdoor explorers, filmmakers, climbers, scientists, and even rescue workers who adventure or labor in extreme locations where there’s not as much easy access to power. Its slight frame won’t add much to the gear or equipment a person is already packing; at around two pounds it is ” 40 percent lighter than the closest competitor ,” according to Ferber. He tested the Micro Wind Turbine in the Swiss Alps, demonstrating its effectiveness in very windy weather. While the initial Micro Wind Turbine works for just one person, Ferber says the turbine is “easily scaleable.” According to his James Dyson Award page , he is searching for partners to develop the wind turbine into a marketable product. + Nils Ferber Via Treehugger Images via Christian Holweck , Jagoda Wisniewska , and Nils Ferber

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Tiny two-pound Micro Wind Turbine folds up just like an umbrella

ENR2 is the largest project in Arizona to earn a LEED Platinum certification

September 21, 2016 by  
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The 151,000-square-foot ENR2 building is an addition to the UA campus with three other LEED-certified buildings – the Student Recreation Center expansion, the Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall and Likins Hall. It houses interactive and shared learning spaces, boosting productivity and collaboration. Related: University of Arizona’s Breakthrough Telescope Solar Panel Doubles Efficiency Thanks to an efficient water usage and rainwater harvesting system , the building reduced the amount of water used annually by 40 percent. It can capture up to 260,000 gallons of rainwater each year. A underground storage and filtration tank provides water for irrigation . Related: The Hestia Project Maps the Carbon Emissions of US Cities Down to Street Level “The LEED platinum certification for ENR2 is great news for those of us who teach or research on the environment because it shows that we try to practice what we preach in terms of workplace sustainability,” said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA’s Institute of the Environment. + The University of Arizona Via UA News Photos by Liam Frederick

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ENR2 is the largest project in Arizona to earn a LEED Platinum certification

Vineyard Schmidt’s striking tasting room is wrapped in a vertical wooden lattice

April 27, 2015 by  
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Read the rest of Vineyard Schmidt’s striking tasting room is wrapped in a vertical wooden lattice Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: contemporary architecture , Elmar Ludescher Architekt , germany , lake constance , rural environment , sculptural building , Vineyard Schmidt , wine cellar , wine production , wooden lattice

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Vineyard Schmidt’s striking tasting room is wrapped in a vertical wooden lattice

DIY: How to Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Annual Growing

August 8, 2013 by  
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So you’ve grown that perfect heirloom tomato in your garden, or you’ve bought a tomato at the farmer’s market that you absolutely must grow. Why not save tomato seeds from those perfect tomatoes, so you can grow them again next year? It’s a simple process, and you’ll have plenty of seeds for your garden, as well as to share with your gardening friends . Read the rest of DIY: How to Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Annual Growing Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Gardening , growing tomatoes from seed , heirloom seeds , heirloom tomatoes , save heirloom seeds , save heirloom tomato seeds , save tomato seeds , saving seeds , saving tomato seeds , seed bank , seed-saving , tomato gardening , tomato seeds , tomatoes        

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DIY: How to Save Heirloom Tomato Seeds for Annual Growing

Seed-Saving 101: Storing Beans, Squash, and Other Large Seeds

October 15, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Seed-Saving 101: Storing Beans, Squash, and Other Large Seeds Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: beans , Gardening , melons , organic gardening , preserving seeds , pumpkin , Pumpkin Seeds , pumpkins , seed-saving , seeds , squash

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Seed-Saving 101: Storing Beans, Squash, and Other Large Seeds

Seed-Saving 101: Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds

August 30, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Seed-Saving 101: Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: good seeds , heirloom seeds , organic gardening , organic seeds , planting your own seed , preserving seeds , saving seed , saving seeds , seed collecting , seed-saving , seeds , sustainable gardening

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Seed-Saving 101: Storing Herb, Tomato, and Berry Seeds

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