The trouble with my grandmother …

“Never eat what your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”

It’s a pretty ubiquitous caveat today. Somehow that one sentence is supposed to conjure up a homey, heart-tendering scene of all of our grandmothers, and the wisdom she brought to the kitchen. If it doesn’t for you, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Because in America, we still have a very outdated vision of what that looks like. Continue reading “The trouble with my grandmother …”

7 ways your garden can save your life

 

Gardening is not just for flower lovers, and is moving out of people’s window boxes and into their backyards. In the past few years, food gardening has increasingly become an activity done to facilitate better physical fitness, healthier eating and well-being.

And science backs this up. Gardening helps you:

Continue reading “7 ways your garden can save your life”

Mercury Rising! Keep your cool during dog days of summer

high-temperature-98824_640Summertime in the desert can be brutal if you aren’t prepared for it. The hot sun and relentless heat can sneak up on you, and cause harmful effects – even fatal ones.

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, though, the population most at-risk for emergency room visits and fatalities are the elderly population. Between 2000-2012, one out of every two Arizona residents who either died or showed up in emergency rooms for heat illnesses were older than 54 years.

But children are also very vulnerable to heat illness, especially when car travel is involved. According to the Safe Kids Worldwide Organization, heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children under the age of four. On average, every 10 days a child dies from heatstroke in a vehicle, or about 40 children a year.

Here are some good rules of thumb to follow to keep you and your family safe from the sun this season.

Continue reading “Mercury Rising! Keep your cool during dog days of summer”

From scraps to scrumptious: Regrow your groceries!

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Mother nature always shows that when there is a will, there’s a way.

I never realized until I started gardening just how easy it is to grow food. Because life, in any form, is engineered to grow, live, and flourish. It’s just the design. And any living thing in nature is also endowed with a healthy sense of self-preservation, so that even in the most adverse conditions life persists.

And this lettuce pictured above is a good example. Now that summer is setting in, my partner and I are eating many more raw greens and a LOT of salads. While we throw a lot of the leftovers of our inedible green remnants into the compost bin, my partner and I decided to try and follow a Facebook picture post we saw recently about growing food from scraps. So we spared two romaine lettuce butts this week, and dipped them in the smallest coffee cups we own.

Even though the head of romaine was lobbed from its roots weeks ago and its greenery denatured for our benefit – simply putting its root stub in water is inspiring the circle of life to start all over again. See those teeny tiny green stalks coming out of the center of this head? That’s new life. And a new food source.

We are officially growing lettuce in our kitchen. And I guess we can officially say that we’re growing using the hydroponic method!

So give that a try next time you have have a spent lettuce, green onions, bok choy, carrots, potatoes, basil, ginger, garlic…try placing its roots in some water and place it in a window and let it do its thing.

You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to foster life!

Composting Lessons: Be wary of the seed

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Well, now I know why they tell you not to put anything with seeds into the compost.

We laid down some of our homemade compost in with our fresh dirt for our two new raised beds back in March. For over a month, we’ve had fast-growing, gargantuan rogue plants popping up everywhere before a single seed we had planted breached the surface. And I mean everywhere! Both beds were constantly coughing up these succulent, determined little shoots.

While I am all for upholding the old adage of “live and let live,” not knowing what this alien, uninvited greenery could be made my partner and me leery. We’ve left this one grouping (pictured above) to continue to grow, but pulled every other one (at least 30 in count) for fear they would choke out the seedlings. And we still have no idea what these mystery plants could possibly be. I can’t remember anything we’ve eaten with seeds that were THAT much in number. All I know is that there is more compost where that came from… so there’s plenty more of these rogue food seeds ready to sprout when we build more beds next year and lay down another layer of compost.

Maybe come May or June, this plant’s fruit will solve our mystery. And maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised. Or maybe not!

But until then, a word of warning to you: When making a compost, be sure to avoid putting anything with a seed. Because goodness knows what will sprout in your garden!