Monday, July 30, 2012

Best Pickled Okra Recipe - Florida Permaculture Garden

Some food traditions are hard to beat.  One of those here in the South is pickled okra.
Grandma's Pickled Okra Recipe

I love pickled okra.  My wife, Judy loves pickled okra.  My teens, Jincy and Ruairi especially love pickled okra.

Something about the texture and taste that turns a full jar into an empty jar within a matter of seconds.

Buying pickled okra here is expensive.  Most supermarkets carry the treat but charge three, four or five dollars per jar.

Fortunately however, okra is easy to grow and just as easy to pickle!

Okra originated in Africa, probably somewhere near present day Nigeria. Referred to as Abelmoschus esculentus by botanists, okra came to the new world on Middle Passage voyage ships.  Known by other names, such as gumbo and quimbombo, okra is found today growing across the world.

Burgundy Okra, Florida Permaculture Garden

In fact, we have more okra growing in the Florida permaculture garden than any other food plant and the plants produce significant quantities of pods.

So when the other day Mom sent me my Grandma's Miami, Florida pickled okra recipe I just had to make a batch.  Picking a bowl of okra and banana peppers out of the garden, I peeled a couple cloves of garlic, added dill seed and salt and heated white vinegar.  Soon we were feasting on the most delicious pickled okra I've ever eaten.

It was great to see my Grandma's handwriting once again too!

Grandma Belle's Pickled Okra Recipe 

HVAC Air Intake Covered in Plants - Green Roofs and Living Walls Filtering Air Flow

Newton, the Ask a Scientist, Scientist - available for consultation from the U.S. Government - click here for Newton's Website... - 

...says 53 Liters is the amount of pure Oxygen the average adult needs to survive every hour.  53 liters is approximately 14 gallons.

You can see we use alot of oxygen on a regular basis.  Now picture your bedroom and night or your office during the day.  For estimation purposes we will use an office space of about 5,000 SF with a 9' ceiling and containing 24 employees.  The Office contains  336,600 gallons of atmosphere.

Green Roof Plants filter toxins and produce oxygen

According to Newton the air we breathe contains about 21% oxygen so the office will contain 70,686 gallons of oxygen.  Is this enough to last the 24 employees for a day?  Let's find out.

Each employee breathes 14 gallons of pure oxygen per hour - more if they are active but most office workers are sedentary - so each employee breathes in120 gallons per shift and the office as a whole breathes in 2,880 gallons of oxygen per shift. 

OK - that's plenty of oxygen to start, but within a month without the doors and windows being opened the employees will rapidly use up all the oxygen.  How old is your office?  How old is your house?  When is the last time you've flushed the air in your office or house?

Just think, without the windows being open, you are breathing stale air - air already breathed in many times over by others in your office or house.  This air contains not only stale exhale of others (and suspended germs) but volatile toxins off-gassing from carpet, furniture, paint and other manufactured goods in the office or house.

And the unfortunate part of the whole equation is - we keep our windows shut most of the time.

However, there is a solution - plants!  Plants produce oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis.  Your personal oxygen machine is as readily available to you as setting a plant on your desk.

I suspect all employees would be happier if air intakes for HVAC systems (most residential systems are closed loop systems) were covered with vines and pumped full of oxygen.

Moreover, plants are extremely efficient at removing toxins from the off-gassing process.

Green roofs and living walls are a key component to filling our sometimes stale Urban Core with fresh oxygen.  Imagine buildings downtown covered in plants and those plants pumping out oxygen daily.

The roof-based vegetated air intake tunnel keeps a building roof vegetated and provides additional benefits, including;

1.  Cools intake air
2.  Shades the roof
3.  Removes airborne toxins, and more!

MetroVerde Intake Tunnel Alternative to Green Roof 

Additional benefits allow for reducing heat island effect, providing shade, cleaning stormwater, wildlife habitat and much more.

Restoring volumetric green to the Urban Core.

Green Roofs are the key to healthy cities.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Green Roof Plants; Insulation & Thermogenesis Issues

All plants possess biological systems that directly impact our ecology and the immediate environment surrounding our day to day activities.

After purchasing a truck load of plants on Saturday we unloaded most, however forgot to remove all of the plants from the cab.

Though the night air was cold (6C) when I opened the truck door and climbed in to drive to the market yesterday evening, after dark, I was enveloped with warm, moist air and confused as to why - with the cold dry air outside - the truck windows were fogged over with moisture.  Then I realized the plants were still in the truck, taking in CO2 and pumping moist O2 back into the air.

After spending much of Saturday evening outside taking temperatures with the ExTech IR thermometer, the oxygen and moisture filled truck cab emphasized what I already knew - plant's biological process are complex and have definite effects on their surroundings.

Sometimes we forget just how much plants impact our environment.

However in addition to the wonderful visual greenery (again we sometimes take for granted), plants sequester CO2, produce O2, provide habitat for wildlife in the Urban Core, provide food, fiber and medicine, clean stormwater and provide a myriad of other functions.

All of these factors and processes impact green roofs.  Understanding how these factors interact with the building is important.

This weekend I wanted to gather additional data on heat and green roofs.  My questions were many and included;

* Do green roofs really act as insulation?
* Do green roofs act as a heat sink - storing heat - instead of being an insulator?
* Does green roof plant selection impact the energy efficiency of green roofs?
* Does green roof soil composition impact energy efficiencies of green roofs - and if so, how?
* and a host of other questions.

After spending several hours with the IR, examining plants and green roof systems after dark - and in 6C ambient air, I can say much data needs to be collected, many studies completed and analysis done before we really understand the dynamics of green roofs.

Just as with the fertilizer and irrigation issues (I am always amazed at how some promote green roofs as ecologically friendly and important yet insist for the inclusion of potable water irrigation systems and fertilizer applications), the insulation or heat sink issues just don't seem to be adequately answered.

After collecting temperature data from under green roofs we see a green roof behavioral trend pointing to a heat sink rather than an insulator type system.  In other words, green roofs may tend to absorb heat during the day and then slowly release it back into the atmosphere and building during cooler evening hours.

Yet the complexities of plant species, plant growth characteristics, root systems, stomata to leaf surface area ratios, soil media specific heat qualities and other issues all contribute towards a complex model.

Getting back to the IR thermometer field  foray, some of the more interesting observations we noted were;

* Night time green roof plant leaf temperatures were approximately the same as ambient air temperatures,
* There were variable levels of warmer temperature readings found in the air space under the green roof plant leaves and above the green roof soil media, depending on the time of night and wind exposure - suggesting a level of insulation occurring as a result of leave structure
* The underside of an extensive green roof (3" soil media) stayed 10F warmer than a similar roof with no green roof system - and stayed warmer all night -- up until 5am the next morning,
* Banana plants stayed considerably warmer than ambient air for up to three hours after dark - unlike other plants,
* and other observations.

The banana plant elevated temperatures pointed us in the direction of thermogenesis in plants.  Thermogenic plants are those plants that can generate heat as a result of biological processes. The voodoo lily, Sauromatum guttatum, can generate temperatures of up to 110F - 32C!

There is a great video on thermogenic plants here.

However, the banana plant is not a thermogenic plant and the reason the banana plant stayed warmer than ambient air for several hours after sunset was the plant's high water content.  Water has one of the highest specific heat values of any compound or substance - four times than of limestone for instance.  Because the banana tree was full of water, the solar heat gain experienced during the day only slowly dissipated after nightfall.  Banana trees stayed warmer than most plants after dark because of the heat stored in the large volume if interstitial water within the plant.

It is possible the succulent filled extensive green roofs we are studying that emanate heat throughout the night are behaving like the banana plants.  The combination of green roof soil media and the water therein is absorbing heat during the day - maybe quite a bit of heat - then slowly releasing the heat at night.

The factors involved in modeling this complex heating and cooling dynamic are many and not well documented today.

We think the heating behavior of the extensive green roof is due to water in the extensive green roof plant root systems.  Because the system studied was non-irrigated (nature only irrigation), the soil media was rather dry.  However for heat to continue to be released for long hours, the heat source probably was water - and probably water stored in the underground parts of plants.

We ask ourselves many questions - if water is a significant heat sink and heat source, then do green roofs really act as insulating systems?

If green roofs are heat sinks then how much heat do they dissipate back into a building at night?

Are irrigated green roof systems actually hotter than non-irrigated vegetated roofs or reflective white roofs?  If so by how much?  How much cooling does plant transpiration and evapo-transpiration on irrigated green roofs?

There are many questions to be answered.

As an industry we need to sponsor and encourage more study of green roof thermodynamics.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Green Roofs and Hurricanes, Wind Events and Tropical Storms

Hurricane and cyclone season is here.  The month of May marks the time each year when the National Hurricane Center says potential for tropical storms begin.  We are in the middle of July and have already had numerous tropical storms hit here in Florida.  Though wind damage was not as bad as it could have been, flooding was severe in certain areas.

But we are moving into the heart of summer and with warmer waters, one should expect an increase in tropical storms and cyclones soon.

Residents of areas prone to cyclones are familiar with the damage high velocity winds can do to buildings and especially roofs.  It is important that any green roof design installed on structures in Florida or other tropical climates subject to storms be fully tested with hurricane simulators for resistance to blow off and destruction.

Hurricane testing of green roofs is important for several reasons.

University of Florida Hurricane Simulator

First is the health, safety and welfare of people.  Placing any object on a roof not permanently attached is a violation of many building codes and can cause serious damage when blown off in high winds.

Parapets and other wind breaks around flat roofs may help up to certain speeds but trays, mats, pots or containers must be permanently attached.  This means each pot and each tray.  Otherwise liability in negligence may exist (consult your construction tort attorney) if the system blows off and causes damage.

Hurricane simulation testing is not the same as wind tunnel testing.  Be sure your green roof system has been tested out-doors on an engineer designed roof testing system with a wind turbine process.  Wind tunnel testing may not offer sufficient design support to protect against negligence (again consult your attorney).

Secondly, a good designer wants to know if the plants they are specifying will hold up in hurricane conditions.

Many plants may loose upper leaves but their root systems stay in place and they regrow quickly.  There are many good reference articles available on the when concerning right plant selection for hurricane prone areas.

I like built in place systems for hurricane prone areas.  Unless modular systems are permanently attached - I suggest permanently attaching each tray with adhesive - and a blow off occurs with resulting damage - then the issue of tort liability potentially arises (consult your attorney).  In our litigation prone society it is prudent to always hurricane test green roof systems before specifying and installing in those areas possibly subject to tropical storms.

Cyclone winds flowing across a flat roof create uplift like a vacuum and can pull shingles or other roofing material up into the air.  Roof accessories such as pipes, vents, skylights, green roofs, planters and HVAC units are also subject to the wind stresses and may become problematic.

Green roof hurricane preparedness involves several fairly simple and straightforward steps, including;
  • Make sure there are no loose objects on the green roof, such as pruning shears, hand trowels or other hand tools
  • Check to see if there are any dead plants or large pieces of fallen plant material and remove
  • Inspect the green roof system for integrity
    • If the green roof system is a tray system, make sure the trays and not damaged by UV degradation and ensure no loose edges are exposed
    • If the tray system is a mat system, check for loose mat edges
  • Review the underside decking in the attic for any water stains or other indicators or leaks
  • Check to make sure the underlying structure is holding its form and nto sagging fromt he weight of the green roof
  • Replace organic material and soil amendments as needed
  • Look for adjacent dead tree branches or limbs that could fall on the green roof and have removed
  • Make sure there are no mechanical system repair parts left on the roof from maintenance - you'd be surprised at what gets left on a roof - look for loose screws especially!
Well established green roof plants create turbulence across a roof surface, and may act to reduce uplift in some instances.

We'll be posting several articles over the next few weeks dealing with the  topic of winds and green roof plants, with a focus on cyclones, hurricanes and tropical storms.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Florida Permaculture Garden and Drought

Florida is thought of as a wet, tropical rainforest by many.  But lately, just the opposite is true.  Over the past twenty years our lakes, streams, rivers, springs and groundwater have been disappearing, due to the ongoing drought we've experienced.

Harsh drought impacts Florida Permaculture Garden
Yes, I know the precipitation charts say we receive at least 50 inches (130 centimeters) rain per year.

However that quantity is highly misleading.
Even the Zinnias Suffer in the Heat and Dryness
Most of the year we receive little of no rain.  Only during the tropical storms or cyclones do those precipitation numbers add up, and then most of the water runs off the baked dry, hard ground into ditches, never bothering to soak in.

Even with layers and layers of organic material our Florida permaculture garden lately has suffered.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Cow peas Are Crying For Rain!
The normally resilient zinnias, beans and other drought tolerant plants are wilty.

The sight of a once beautiful, vibrant garden suddenly brown and crisp can be disheartening.

And though tempted to turn on the sprinklers, we do not want to waste precious water.

But underneath the sad looking leaves are still plenty of veggies!
Florida Permaculture Garden Burgundy Okra
Yesterday I picked a wonderful basket of okra (quimbombo), eggplant and banana peppers for dinner, and made delicious iced lemongrass/cranberry hibiscus tea to refresh all.

Turns out that all that mulch we've added to our sandy soil has kept the veggies producing, even though they look terrible!

So despite the drought we are still eating healthy fresh food.  In fact our veggies look better than those at the corner market.

Our feast included; stuffed peppers, tomatoes parmesan, okra and eggplant stir fry with peppers, Basmati rice and a wonderful chocolate cake made from chick peas (why are you laughing?).
Permaculture Lemongrass, Roselle and Cranberry Hibiscus - A Refreshing Tea!
Large, ripened banana peppers were deseeded and filled with shredded Mexican type soft cheeses and placed in a glass casserole dish alongside tomatoes cut in half and covered in parmesan, heated in the oven at 350 F (175C) for twenty minutes.
Florida Permaculture Garden Stuffed Peppers
Okra and eggplant were sautéed in sesame oil and flavored with Spicy Globe Basil.
Florida Permaculture Garden Okra, Eggplant and Peppers Sauteed
The chocolate cake (gluten free mind you) was made from a large can of garbanzo beans, well drained, four eggs, two cups of melted semi-sweet chocolate chips, one half cup rough cane sugar, a teaspoon of baking powder, two teaspoons  vanilla extract and shredded coconut.
Florida Permaculture Garden's Garbanzo Bean Chocolate Cake
To make the cake, blend the beans and eggs in your food processor, melt chocolate chips and add, along with other ingredients to bean/egg mixture.

Bake at 350F/175C for fifty minutes.  Cool on wire rack and invert.  Top with shredded coconut.

High in protein, low in cards, this is one healthy desert.  No one will ever know this cake is made without flour.

We feasted last night.

Even with the harsh drought the permaculture garden still provides a bountiful harvest.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Green Roofs and Living Walls are Really Just an Adaption of Raised Bed Planting Theory

If you understand raised bed planting theory you know most of what living roofs and walls are about.  Many times people think there are secrets to green roof and living wall design.

In fact, the corporate world has tried to patent many systems that are merely raised beds.

So expand your design considerations today by thinking of green roofs and living walls, not as a mysterious, high-tech approach to growing plants.  Think of your next design project where you need plants (be they flowers, food, natives or landscape specimens) as a raised bed.
Green Roof projects are like Raised Beds!

Questions to ask yourself include;

  • What will your soil media be comprised of?
    • Should be lightweight, well-drained not made from exotic synthetics heated in ovens to thousands of degrees for expansion or molding.  I like simple things, like sharp sand.
  • What are your raised bed (or living roof/wall) side walls made of?  
    • Stay away from materials that are flammable, UV degradable or contain toxins.
  • What plants do you want to use?
  • What is the root architecture of your chosen plants similar to?
    • Do you have deep roots?  Shallow root requirement?
    • Root architecture will direct your soil media depth design.
  • Try and stick with plants that provide food or are pollinator attractors.
    • I like native wildflowers but many designers stick with the tried and true succulents or sedum.
    • Food plants are also wonderful for rooftops and walls if protected from winds.
  • Where will the irrigation water come from?
    • I hate adding water to a roof.  They all eventually leak....but if water is already there, like AC condensate - use it!
  • Views
    • Plantings are mostly always pretty - make sure they can be seen.
  • Access
    • Can you get to the raised bed/rooftop or wall garden?
  • Dont put a raised bed on top of a septic tank and neither install a rooftop garden on a weak rafter system.
    • Common sense
  • and more...
The point here is - think of a rooftop design as a great raised bed in the sky.  Don't wait for the right 'system' to come along.  Go for it, design and install!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Permaculture Raised Beds and Some Of Our Favorite Veggies

Summer is half over and that means we are thinking about raised bed fall and winter plantings.  Ordering seeds for the next season's crop is so much fun!  We love going through the catalogues, admiring the photos, thinking about the upcoming seed starting and transplanting efforts.

Here are some of our tried and true, favorite cooler weather plants we like to have started by mid September.  The links will take you to either a description or catalogue page. 

Don't forget to download our Urban Farming book from Amazon with all the secrets about gardening, coop building, hens and more by clicking here!

Florida Permaculture Raised Bed Chives & Lettuces
Also known as rocket, arugula with her bitter, earthy flavors is one of my favorite winter plants.  Excellent on sandwiches, in salads or by herself, arugula is easy to grow, hardy and a must for every Urban Farm garden.
Florida Permaculture Raised Bed Arugula
Famous heirloom varieties, both Mary and Martha Washington varieties were developed around at the beginning of the twentieth century for greater disease resistance. The 1930 Ferry catalog states that Mary Washington asparagus is  "A vigorous growing and productive asparagus bred to resist the disease known as asparagus rust". Mary is a Martha cultivar with oval tipped stalks and comes highly recommended by most asparagus growers.
Another well-known heirloom variety, use dating to just after the Civil War in the Americas but earlier in Europe, Calabrese broccoli is a dark green plant, twenty to thirty inches in height, producing fist-sized central heads, and many side shoots until frost. Noted for her texture and flavor.
Use a variety of Broccolis, cultivars including Belstar, Premium Crop, Packman, Gypsy, Major, Nutribud and Waltham all produce large amounts of food.
An 1820’s heirloom variety, the three inch, round, golden beet bulbs are known for their desirable sweetness. Golden beet’s unusual color adds to her versatility.  Very sweet beet.
The early 1900’s heirloom Early Wonder Beet produces well before the other full-sized beets, has medium to tall size tops that can be harvested and served as delicious greens. Early Wonder possesses a deep red color and rich, hearty flavor.
Deep crimson, dark red, vigorous growing beet producing ample greens. Red cloud beet is know for her resistance to bolting.  She can be harvested throughout most of the growing season.
St. Valery Carrot is an 1885 heirloom carrot and, according to James Vicks’ 1924 catalog, is the "best and most handsome main crop carrot. Enormously productive, very desirable for private gardens as well as for markets." St. Valery has ten inch roots and a strong sugar content (sweet).
The New Kuroda carrot is a strong preforming hybrid, exhibiting a deep reddish orange color. Kuroda may be used as the main carrot crop as it produces well on most small homesteads and growing operations.
Adelaide is a Dutch hybrid know by its more popular common name, Baby Carrot.  Easy to grow and a solid producer, Adelaide keeps its texture and fresh, sweet flavor longer than most carrots.  Very sweet carrot and great for salads.
Long Island Brussel Sprouts is an 1890 heirloom dwarf brussel sprout variety growing on average to approximately two to three feet depending upon climate. The Long Island Brussel variety can set up to one hundred sprouts per plant and was considered the primary commercial variety for years.
Early Jersey Wakefield has been considered one of the best varieties of early producing cabbages for several hundred years of homestead agriculture.  Early Jersey is a 1840 heirloom variety growing to approximately three pound.  She exhibits a pale green leaf color and can be planted close together. According to DM Ferry in 1930, "this most excellent variety is the earliest and surest heading" and one that resists yellowing.
Another cabbage variety highly resilient to yellowing and splitting, Quick Start hybrid is a strong grower, one that can be planted close together in raised beds and relied upon for steady production of three pound cabbage heads.
Danish Ballhead is an 1887 heirloom late fall, blue-green producer. Danish Ballhead was originally introduced by Burpee Seed and has been a popular variety for years.  This cabbage keeps well in storage.
Mills says that Mammoth Red Rock 1880 heirloom cabbage is the “largest of the red cabbages and the most sure heading, also the best for pickling". Mammoth Red had reddish purple leaves and produces a five pound plus cabbage head.  Strong producer and stores well.
This 1890 heirloom cabbage heirloom variety was introduced in the mid-1800's by P. Henderson, president of Henderson Seed Company.  Early snowball cabbage is a reliable early producer of firm texture.  Very popular variety among urban farmers.
Bright Lights Swiss Chard is a stunning plant, certainly desirable for garden appearance but most appreciably important because of her delicious taste and reliable food production.  Leaves are bright deep green, moderately savoyed with veins of stunning bright warm and hot colors, most commonly red, orange, or yellow.  Developed by Johnny's Selected Seeds, this variety is perfect for the smaller garden or those gardens looking to capitalize on visual effect.  Bright Lights is highly recommended by both judy and myself.
Fordhook, while not as visually stunning as Bright Lights, is a reliable performer producing strong and plump white stalks with savory, bright green leaves.
As with Bright Lights Chard, Pink Lipstick offers amazing bright pink-red color. Use Pink Lipstick Chard in salad mixes for color and taste.
This 1890 heirloom cauliflower heirloom variety was introduced in the mid-1800's by P. Henderson, president of Henderson Seed Company.  Early snowball cabbage is a reliable early producer of firm texture.  Another variety popular variety among urban farmers.
Another great cooler weather plant, Starbor Kale is perfect for raised beds because of her beautiful blueish-green hue, firm leaves, great texture and compact growing characteristics. Greens can be eaten cooked or raw in salads.
An 1885 heirloom variety previously referred to as Tuscan Black Palm.  Dinosaur Kale offers large, rounded, succulent greens. Plants are hardy, exhibit vigorous growth habit and are popular among urban farmers as a crop that will feed the family.  We have grown Dinosaur Kale reliably for years.  Greens are good either as a salad component or cooked.
One of my favorite urban farm Kales, the Ethiopian variety will produce like none other.  Very tender and tasty and very drought tolerant.  Grows well in raised beds and seems to be root-knot nematode resistant.
Kohlrabi is also known as a ‘cabbage-turnip’ and the Grand Duke Variety produces a larger, non-woody edible part.  Very interesting plant for the garden and reliable producer.

Excellent pre-Civil War heirloom Kohlrabi variety.  According to DM Ferry Early Purple Vienna Kohlrabi can be considered "early with small top, the leaf stems being tinged with purple. Bulbs of medium size, purple; flesh white. Desirable for forcing and early outdoor planting."  Another excellent vegetable for the urban farm homestead, preforming will in raised beds.
Leeks are an important part of all urban farm gardens.  Lincoln leek is a long , succulent variety that can last for much of the year.  Used in salads, stir fry and other dishes.  Here in the south, established leeks offer good winter color and texture to the urban farm garden.
One of my favorites, this variety is evergreen, drought tolerant and produces well year around.  Offers brilliant white flower spikes.  This is probably one of the most hardiest of the urban farm plants, almost always reliable to out-preform any other crop.
Beautiful red-green, crisp standard lettuce, this variety is a cornerstone of any winter garden in the urban core.  Asian red thrives when picked, producing more and more throughout the season. 
Another popular lettuce variety, especially in Europe, year-round lettuce is as what her name states, a reliable producer except in the hottest of climates where she does best grown in the shade.
Florida Permaculture Raised Bed Lettuces
Ours favorite mix includes; Green Ice, Midnight Ruffles, Black Seeded Simpson, Simpson Elite, Matina Sweet, Buttercrunch, Red Velvet, and May Queen varieties.  Perfect for adding color and a variety of textures to salads.  The urban core farm animals love lettuces too.
A 1949 heirloom, mild radish, Cherry Belle is a standard for urban core farming.  She will produce up to one inch in diameter radishes, perfect for salads and snacks.  Another reliable producer, Cherry Belle is a standard for urban core farms and gardens.
A mid-1800’s heirloom, this white radish has her history in reliable production and ease of growth traits.  Wonderful, narrow, finger-like radishes they are perfect for salads.  Serve crisp and cold.
A 1920’s heirloom and described by James Vick as a spinach that, "grows about ten inches high. Large deep green leaves, thick and tender, with rounded tips."  Giant noble spinach needs cooler weather but will faithfully give the urban farmer plenty of tasty greens for both salad and cooked dishes.  
Tyee spinanch is a slow to bolt spinach growing well in raised beds and intense urban core farm settings.  Tyee spinach leaves are smaller than Giant Noble but heavy producers.  Good companion spinach plant to grow alongside with Giant Noble.
Florida Permaculture Raised Bed Lettuces
Borago officinalis grows to approxiately two to three feet in height and loves the cooler weather.  I’ve grown this plant successfully on urban core green roofs and in urban farm homestead raised beds.  The bright blue and purple flowers are visually an eye-opener and are often used as garnish for vegetable and fruit salads.  Good urban farm plant selection.
Standard pickling plant and herb, dill is an extremely drought tolerant urban farm plant with many culinary uses.  Our rabbits love the fresh picked leaves and the tall but tiny yellow flowers serve as an excellent attractant for pollinators.  Grows well in dry, neglected areas across the urban homestead.
An All America Winner in 1992 and introduced by W. Atlee Burpee Company, Fernleaf Dill exhibits a more compact growth habit than most of the other, sprawlingly large dill varieties.  Fernleaf dill is perfect for container growing or planting in heavily used raised beds.  As with the standard dill varieties, Fernleaf Dill provides good drought tolerant production as well as tasty culinary uses.
Fennel is popular for her licorice or anise-flavored seeds and bulbous base, both used in cooking.  Fennel is also a choice pollinator plant and brings a spray of light airy green to the urban core farmstead.  
An awesome landscape perennial, Bronze Fennel brings visual and culinary benefits to any urban farm garden.  Highly sought after by several Lepidoptera species, this hardy fennel can be used in cooking or as a tea.  Bronze fennel will grow about three to four feet high depending on climate and soil conditions and adds beauty and flavor to the herb patch.
A relative of oregano, marjoram is slightly sweeter and enjoys the cold weather.  She is very drought tolerant and her smaller leaves can be used to flavor meat dishes.  Marjoram is also used ethnobotanically in the Caribbean as a tea plant for both stomach and respiratory issues as she possesses an strong aromatic quality.
Standard flat-leafed parsley is a mainstay of urban core farms.  Used in Italian and Mediterrian cooking and for a variety of other uses (including keeping garlic fumes repressed in healthy diet breath), flat-leafed parsley is also sought after by many butterflies as larval food.
Curly parsley is a very hardy cultivar of the parsleys, reliable and useful as garnish, in soups, salads or to flavor meat dishes.  As with flat-leaf parsley, curly parsley is commonly used in Mediterranean dishes such as tabouli, hummus and other dishes.