Monday, June 29, 2020

Flowers Are A Must For Permaculture Garden Success

Florida Permaculture Garden, Pollinator Plants a Must

Survival garden pollinator plants & plants pollinators pollinate. You have to have flowers to attract pollinators. You have to have pollinators to grow food. 

Natives & wildflowers are good choices. Passiflora (Passiflora incarnata) & cross vine (Bignonia capreolata) shown here, both Florida natives. 

If your garden doesn't grow food well it may be lacking flowers to attract the needed pollinators.

Try wildflowers!

Imagining Beauty in Mundane Chores

Purposeful Breathing, Like Ocean Breezes can Blow Away Anxiety

One of my aortic dissection survivor friends, Rick Freeman sent me a pdf file of a study showing how breathing exercises can lower blood pressure. I've been exploring similar for a while too, and when I am tense if I focus on my breathing then I can feel the anxiety dissipate.

Which brings me to this morning. I was cleaning the clothes dryer lint filter and beginning to feel aggravated that I couldn't get the lint to start peeling off the filter screen. My agitation grew exponentially in a matter of seconds and I felt my upper arms and shoulders tensing. This is my typical reaction to 'little mundane chores'. Then I remembered reading the breathing study Rick had forwarded.

Taking a few slow, deep breaths I looked at the blue-greyish lint and filter screen and instead of trying to rip the damn lint from the filter screen I began to caress the lint, imagining the act as an exercise of beauty. Instead of grabbing what lint I could and shoving the filter back into the dryer, I slowly rubbed the screen, gently removing every last bit of lint from the shiny metal filter, telling myself this is a good and noble expenditure of my life's energies.

Just as an ocean breeze does, the act of imagining beauty in the cleaning of a dryer filter lint screen seriously lowered my anxiety levels, and I found that cleaning the screen was truly enjoyable, not frustrating as it were before.

I'm still a Type A maniac in many ways and always will be. My adrenaline fueled life contributed to my dissection. But today I am amazed at feeling moved to write a post about finding beauty and pleasure in cleaning a dryer lint screen.

Being present is something I am learning. Deep, slow and paced breathing is proving to be a useful tool in dealing with anxiety and controlling the pressure on my aorta and cardiovascular system. Thanks for the article, Rick.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Yoyo Survival Garden Bounty; Green Tomato Chutney

Florida Permaculture Garden Green Tomato Chutney 

Judy brought a huge pail of wild cherry and grape tomatoes from the front yard Yoyo survival garden into the house yesterday morning.

Our Yoyo survival garden provides us with many tomatoes each day.

The three hens absolutely love tomatoes and we have found that a great hack for encouraging those sometimes stubborn chickens to saunter back into their coop at night.  Simply toss a handful of juicy wild cherry tomatoes through the coop door and they run inside.  

I didn't come up with the chutney idea myself, Judy suggested it.  She doesn't eat tomatoes like I do so I was free to make whatever I wanted with the green, orange and red harvest.

Florida PermacultureTomatoes Diced for Chutney

Green tomato chutney sounded like a great idea to me.  And I love a good condiment.

Our kitchen is usually full of fresh vegetables and fruits.  Gathering ingredients was as much fun as finding eggs on a childhood Easter hunt.

My chutney to be ingredients included;
  • four pounds diced garden fresh wild and grape tomatoes
  • an entire head of garlic, peeled and diced
  • one overly ripe plantain, sliced
  • one ripe banana
  • one half cup raisins
  • one large Vidalia onion, peeled and chopped
  • one green bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • six garden fresh banana peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • half cup apple cider vinegar
  • two tablespoons Ume plum vinegar
  • one tablespoon powdered ginger
  • two tablespoons powdered cinnamon
  • one half teaspoon powdered nutmeg (optional)
  • two tablespoons powdered turmeric
  • two tablespoons sesame seeds
  • and one fourth cup all natural creamy peanut butter (optional)
The post full of chutney ingredients was brought to a light boil, covered with a glass lid then allowed to simmer for an hour.

Florida Permaculture Green Tomato Chutney Simmering

I really enjoy the taste of the creamy peanut butter however would consider this ingredient optional, especially when serving to those with peanut allergies.

Chutney is expensive to buy in the grocery stores.  The four pounds of tomatoes yielded a gallon and a half of chutney, a tasty treasure.

I bottled up a quart mason jar full and gave to our always appreciative neighbors.  The rest is in the refrigerator.  Some of the chutney will go into pint containers then into the freezer.  Canning is another option.

Dicing the four pounds or so of front yard Yoyo survival garden tomatoes took an hour or so.  Good blade practice too.  And the time spent preparing the chutney was of course a great way to slip in relaxation therapy.  There is something good about touching, tasting and smelling fresh food ingredients and I thought about how my ancestors spent time doing much of the same. 

Slow, hand fashioned fresh foods are much different in essence than industrial packaged 'stuff' for sure.

Florida Permaculture Wild Cherry Tomatoes

If you are considering highly productive tomatoes as a crop I can recommend wild cherries for Florida (especially Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes or Everglades tomatoes).  Be aware though, they can be invasive and take over your landscape.  They also make a successful green roof vegetable (or fruit).

And remember to find fulfillment in your Yoyo survival garden daily (You're On Your Own).  Always prepping with permaculture!

Friday, June 26, 2020

Survival Garden Perimeters and Edges; Southern Dewberry

Southern dewberry, Rubus trivilas, useful perimeter plant for gardens of all types

Garden edge and perimeter theory has long been studied and discussed in deep permaculture thought.  Edges are always rich in diversity and truly useful to gardeners.

To the yoyo survival gardener, edges provide a complex set of functions limited in use only to your imagination.

Barriers are one of the first edge plant uses that may come to mind.

Your survival garden perimeters contain potential for many levels of utilitarian barriers against wildlife and potential trespassing humans.  Using a variety of proven edge plants one can create a range of barriers, from light, visual based suggestive deterrents to impenetrable plantings.

Unlike corrosion degradation typical of metal fencing, plant perimeters grow stronger and more effective with each passing year.

Incorporating native plants into edges is a sustainable practice that can pay other dividends too.  

When designing and planting a yoyo survival garden perimeter one can choose from many different species.  I always recommend consulting with local nurseries to determine those varieties well suited for any specific location.

With respect to levels of garden fortification, flora deterrence works not only for the yard but also for the patio and balcony.  And while drawing boundaries is an important yoyo survival garden design criteria, it isn't the only factor to consider.

Curb appeal may seem irrelevant to some but in the long run the unexpected may happen and one may have to sell their homestead, townhouse or farm.  Consider planting those edge plants who contribute to the overall aesthetic of your garden perimeter.  Striking and attractive; color, hues, textures, gloss, translucence, shade, structure and form can be achieved in your garden edges with well chosen greenery.

Food production too is a real advantage of thoughtful edge and perimeter planting.  The art sketch above is my visual interpretation of our Florida native southern dewberry bramble, Rubus trivialis, a thorny shrub who doesn't allow for easy passage but also provides a bountiful, nutritious harvest for jams, snacks, pies, canning and freezing.

Thoughtfully chosen perimeter plants may also produce desirable goods to be used in commerce, such as bamboo poles or pineapple guava fruits.

Potential uses for your yoyo survival garden edges are limitless, bounded only by your creativity.

You can start with just one plant, seed, cutting or even your imagination today!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Bucket List - Do Your's Now

I've been enjoying the book, 'Brief Answers to Big Questions' by Stephen Hawking lately. I'd like to share a few notable things he writes over the next few days.

The first is: "When you are faced with the possibility of an early death, it makes you realize there are lots of things you want to do before your life is over".

As an aortic dissection and renal cell cancer survivor I can relate. #survivor

Survival Garden Breakfast; Nutritious, Delicious & From The Pantry

Survival garden (yoyo) plantain pantry oatmeal

Most all understand the importance of having a reasonable amount of food set aside, in store for the unexpected.  We have our pantry relatively well stocked, though as we've been staying home and using up the food, so it should be refilled soon.

For me the biggest challenge in integrating pantry food into our daily diet is tastefulness and variety.

This morning's plantain oatmeal breakfast was one of the best we've made in a long time, and quite easy to put together from mostly staple items.

In fact, Judy commented that the dish was the best oatmeal she's had.

Easy to make.  Slice up two small and very ripe (blackened peels) plantain and place in a pot with two cups water, bring to a boil then turn down heat.

Add 3/4 cup organic oats, 2 tablespoons, cinnamon, the juice of one lemon or lime, and a handful of raisins.

Simmer for three minutes.  Place in a bowl with a touch of ghee and enjoy!

Stored pantry goods can be delicious!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dollarweed for Survival Garden, Containers & Green Roofs too!

Both Hydrocotyle and Centella spp. are important survival garden plants

Dollarweed & Gotu kola, Hydrocotyle & Centella spp. are plants every survival garden should have growing in them.  

Efficient with purifying water, full of nutrients, fats, carbs, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins & minerals.  

Most think of dollarweed as noxious.  

#Survivalists know what an important ethnobotanical dollarweed actually is. 

#botany #nativeplants #garden #weeds #dollarweed #gotukola #herbs #medicine #plants #permacuture 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Best Plants for Survival Gardens; Top 120 Patios, Yards and Balcony Permaculture Plants

Best Plants for Survival Gardens in the Southeastern U.S.

My top seventeen survival garden plant types and my top one hundred twenty survival garden plants are included in the following lists.

To be clear these plant selections are my opinion only.  What you end up putting in your survival garden is appropriate for you.  There are no wrong choices other than not planting anything at all.

Please note these plants may be grown across America but they are specifically chosen for the southeastern U.S.  

Most of these plants can be planted in containers and so are appropriate for balconies and patios as well as larger plots of land and could be brought inside shelter during inclement weather.

Benefits received from the plants below include not just those uses listed but also include; visual art, songbird music, sense of place, increase in property value, fresh clean air, commerce and much more.

I started to write a 'why I chose these plants' section however the post started to become very long.  I'll share my reasoning soon.  To summarize selection criteria though, I included plants:
  • from all three photosynthesis pathways (C3, C4 and CAM) as risk management for unexpected climate effects (yes the unexpected can occur for sure),
  • tolerant to a variety of sunlight exposure levels,
  • adapted to both saturation and drought,
  • offering pollinator attraction (a side note here is that over the years I've had so many people tell me they've had no luck growing vegetables or fruit.  When I ask them if they have an abundance of flowers in their growing area they reply,'some'.  We must think in terms of pollinator perspectives if we are to have a successful survival garden.  Without pollinators our garden won't produce.  If I am a pollinator and there are two yards I am considering visiting, one has a nice selection of flowers and the other is crammed with blooms I am heading for the fullest buffet.  Bottom line is the more flowers there are the more produce you will harvest),
  • resilient to allelopathy and plants that do not allelopathicate,
  • including varieties that are wind desiccation adapted for windbreaks (slow steady winds can destroy a garden through desiccation),
  • that are of use to us humans from a number of perspectives,
  • offering nitrogen fixation,
  • providing seed production for use, commerce, food and forage,
  • and are adapted to the Southeastern U.S.
The above are just a few of the selection criteria available for determining what plants are best for the survival garden.  I'll elaborate more in a future post.  Over the decades of us growing plants, running a nursery and creating gardens of all types we encountered many variables that can impact plant selection.

Importantly though, the best plants for your survival garden are those you feel you need.

So here are my lists:

Top Seventeen Survival Garden Plant Types

  1. Aloe vera; medicine for sores, cuts, burns, ulcers & skin

  2. Bamboo, clumping; food & structural material & perimeter protection

  3. Berries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberry; food, perimeter protection

  4. Echinacea spp., Purple coneflower; medicine & pollinators

  5. Garlic chives; food, medicine (sulfur) & pollinators, this plant will always be there for you

  6. Ginger family, Zingiberaceae, turmeric & ginger; food & medicine

  7. Leafy greens; kale, shiso, Okinawan spinach, collards, amaranth, cilantro, arugula, chenopodium. etc.; food & nutrition

  8. Sprouts, all types; food & nutrition

  9. Grain; rice, oats, ancient wheat, barley, rye, sorghum, teff, amaranth; food & nutrition

  10. Root vegetable, sweet potato, yam, cassava; food & medicine

  11. Seeds; chenopodium, sunflowers, cilantro, squashes, amaranth; food & nutrition, oils

  12. Squashes, Cucurbita spp., especially Seminole Pumpkin; food & nutrition

  13. Plantain & bananas; food & medicine

  14. Prickly pear cactus, food & perimeter protection

  15. Sugarcane, food

  16. Asters, Sunflowers, Helianthus annus, sunflower and Bidens alba, Spanish needles; pollinators, food, oils & nutrition

  17. Elderberry; because anyone can grow this plant & it is full of medicinal, drink & food uses

Top One Hundred Survival Plants

  1. Aloe vera; medicine

  2. Apples; food

  3. Bamboo; clumping, food & structural material

  4. Bananas & plantains; food & medicine

  5. Basil, Sweet; food, tea & medicine

  6. Basil, Thai; food, tea & medicine

  7. Basil, Africa blue; food, tea & medicine

  8. Beans, yard long bean (Red noodle or green); food & nitrogen fixer

  9. Beans, cow pea; food & nitrogen fixer

  10. Beans, pole beans; food & nitrogen fixer

  11. Beans, limas; food & nitrogen fixer

  12. Beans, pigeon peas; food & nitrogen fixer

  13. Beans, cold weather beans; food & nitrogen fixer

  14. Beautyberry, attracts birds for pest control

  15. Bidens alba & B. pilosa; food, pollinators & medicine

  16. Blackberries, raspberries and dewberries; food & perimeter protection

  17. Blackeye Susan’s, Rudbeckia, cut flowers and pollinators

  18. Blackgum, tupelo; pollinators (esp. bees for honey) & structural material

  19. Blazing star, Liatris; pollinators

  20. Blueberries; food

  21. Broomsedges, andropogon grasses; fabrication material

  22. Butterfly  weed, Asclepias tuberosa; pollinators & butterflies

  23. Cannabis; medicinal

  24. Carolina jessamine; early spring pollinators & evergreen screening, medicine

  25. Catbrier, saspirilla, Smilax spp; food, perimeter protection, larval food

  26. Coral honeysuckle; pollinators and evergreen screening

  27. Citrus, Myers lemon; food & medicine

  28. Citrus, ruby red grapefruit; food & nutrition

  29. Citrus, satsuma; food & nutrition

  30. Citrus, kumquat; food & nutrition

  31. Citrus, calamondin; food & nutrition

  32. Comfrey, bone knit; fertilizer and medicine

  33. Corn, grits, cornmeal; food & nutrition

  34. Coreopsis; pollinators & bees

  35. Cucumber, Cucumis sativa; food & medicine

  36. Datura, Jimson weed and Angels trumpet; medicine & night pollinators

  37. Dollarweed, Hydrocotyle; food, medicine & clean water

  38. Duck potato; food, clean water & pollinators

  39. Echinacea, Eastern Purple coneflower, medicine & pollinators

  40. Elderberry; medicine, food & drink, pollinators

  41. Eggplant; food

  42. Fennel; food & medicine

  43. Fig trees; food, heat island moderation

  44. Gaillardia, blanketflower; pollinators

  45. Garlic, Allium; food, medicine & pollinators

  46. Garlic chives; food & persistent border plant with beautiful flowers

  47. Ginger, Zingiber officinale; food and medicine

  48. Grapes, sugars, wines; food and medicine

  49. Gourds, Luffa sponge; commerce

  50. Gourds, birdhouse, dipper; commerce, utensils, wildlife

  51. Grasses for weaving, sweetgrass, muhly grass, juncus; fabric material, nets

  52. Horsemint, Monarda punctata; tea & pollinators

  53. Inland sea oats, Chasmanthium latifolium; food, wildlife

  54. Iris, Louisiana; cordage, water purification

  55. Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosus; food, pollinators

  56. Leafy greens, arugula; food, seeds, pollinators

  57. Leafy greens, cilantro; food, seeds & pollinators

  58. Leafy greens, collards; food, seeds & pollinators

  59. Leafy greens, kale; food, seeds & pollinators

  60. Leafy greens, spinach; food, seeds & pollinators

  61. Leafy greens, cabbages; food, seeds & pollinators

  62. Leafy greens, Swiss chard; food, seeds & pollinators;

  63. Leafy greens, lettuces; food, seeds & pollinators

  64. Leafy greens, amaranth; food, seeds & pollinators

  65. Leafy greens, Malabar spinach; food, seeds & pollinators

  66. Leafy greens, Okinawan spinach & shiso; food, seeds & pollinators

  67. Leafy greens, Egyptian spinach; food, seeds & pollinators

  68. Lemonbalm; tea & medicine

  69. Lemongrass; tea, medicine, fabric material

  70. Loquat; food & nutrition

  71. Marjoram/Oregano; tea, medicine & food

  72. Mints; spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint; tea, medicine & food

  73. Moringa; food, medicine, nutrition & water purification

  74. Morning glory, moonflowers; pollinators, heat island mitigation, larval host

  75. Mulberry; food, wildlife, shade

  76. Oak, acorns and tannins; structural materials, tannins, medicine, food

  77. Oats; food

  78. Okra; food

  79. Onions; food, medicine

  80. Parsley; food, medicine

  81. Passionflower, maypop; butterfly larval, pollinators, food, tea, medicine

  82. Peanut; food & nitrogen fixer

  83. Pecans; food & structural material

  84. Peaches & Plums; food

  85. Pears; food

  86. Peas, snow peas; food

  87. Peas, sugar snap peas; food

  88. Peppers; banana, bell, chili, poblano; food & medicine

  89. Persimmon; food

  90. Pickerel weed; pollinators, water purification

  91. Pineapple guava; food, screening

  92. Pine tree; fuel, structural material, nutrition, resin, pine nuts

  93. Poison ivy; perimeter protection

  94. Prickly pear cactus; food & perimeter

  95. Pumpkin, seminole pumpkin, butternut squash; food, seeds

  96. Radishes; food

  97. Rice; food

  98. Rosemary; food & medicine

  99. Roses; tea, perimeter, medicine

  100. Sage; food & medicine

  101. Saw palmetto/cabbage palms; food, medicine, structural material

  102. Sprouts; food, nutrition

  103. Squash; food

  104. Sugarcane; food

  105. Sunflowers; food, pollinators, seeds

  106. Tobacco; medicine, pollinators

  107. Thyme; tea, medicine

  108. Titi; bees, pollinators, screening

  109. Tomatoes; food

  110. Turkey tangled frog fruit; erosion control & pollinators (esp. butterflies)

  111. Turmeric; food & medicine

  112. Turnips; food

  113. Vanilla plant; Carpheporus odorata, incense, tobacco

  114. Virginia creeper; fast growing screening plant, cordage

  115. Walnuts; food, structural material, shade

  116. Waxmyrtle; wax for candles, evergreen screen

  117. Willow; blood thinner & aspirin

  118. Witch hazel; skin tonic

  119. Yarrow; promote blood clotting, stop bleeding

  120. Yaupon holly; wildlife value & caffeine tea, perimeter protection