Category: crops

What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening

What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening

It’s winter here in the northern hemisphere, and farmers and gardeners everywhere are dreaming and planning about what to plant in the spring and summer! While all gardens have their challenges, those who grow food and flowers in warm and/or arid climates need a… Continue Reading “What to Read Now: Warm Climate Gardening”

The Book of Barley

In 1981, while Ecology Action was preparing to relocate its GROW BIOINTENSIVE farming program to from Palo Alto to Willits, CA in 1982, I received a letter from Lorenz Schaller, an amazing grainsman, noting that the Kusa Seed Society—”a voice for the precious edible… Continue Reading “The Book of Barley”

Maybe Read This: Experiments with Plants, 6th Edition

As a farmer and a researcher, I am constantly reminded that agriculturalists from earlier times are often the best teachers. Experiments with Plants (6th ed.) written in 1911 by Harvard Associate Professor of Botany Dr. W.J. V Osterhout, is a good example of this… Continue Reading “Maybe Read This: Experiments with Plants, 6th Edition”

Feed the Soil

Feed the Soil - little-known soil-building legumes and other crops, as well as enhanced descriptions of well-known ones

In the 1980s, Ron Whitehurst of ACRES U.S.A. wrote: “Central Florida is being mined down sea level for phosphate clay; and spiraling natural gas prices are making synthetic nitrogen fertilizer exorbitantly priced. Even using all the solid and liquid wastes from the cities, there… Continue Reading “Feed the Soil”

Cover Crops! Interplanting with Legumes

With summer drawing to a close, it’s time to start thinking about your winter garden, and that means cover crops! Here are some things to consider when planting your cover crops this year: Normally, a gardener or farmer planning a crop rotation (over time)… Continue Reading “Cover Crops! Interplanting with Legumes”

Keeping the Harvest

John Keats famously called Autumn the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and I couldn’t agree with him more. Just when the summer seems like it will last forever, the turn of the seasons begins to make itself known in a subtle change of… Continue Reading “Keeping the Harvest”

Lost Crops of the Incas

Lost Crops of the Incas

Everyone seemed to enjoy the Lost Crops of Africa so much, I thought I’d mention another treasure from the National Research Council: Lost Crops of the Incas (published in 1989). This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in ethnobotany and heirloom varieties,… Continue Reading “Lost Crops of the Incas”

Lost Crops of Africa

Lost Crops of Africa book cover

This 3-book series Lost Crops of Africa (Volumes I, II and III on Grains, Vegetables, and Fruits, published in 1996, 2006 and 2008, respectively) is a treasure for us all, but especially for the African continent, with the hope it presents of growing food… Continue Reading “Lost Crops of Africa”

Barley – A Versatile Crop

Beardless Shrene Barley

Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is a dynamic late autumn, winter and early spring grain crop that is somewhat higher in calories that other short-day crops. Added to soups, it tastes great, and thickens the broth beautifully. It can also be used as a fodder crop… Continue Reading “Barley – A Versatile Crop”

Sweet Potatoes!

Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are starchy root vegetables originating from Central or South America. Not to be confused with starchier and drier yams (Dioscorea) from Africa and Asia, sweet potatoes have a long shelf life and are usually sweeter and moister than regular white potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). In addition to being delicious, they are a very important crop in diet planning, because of the number of calories they contain per pound, and for overall sustainable gardening and farming!