Sunday, March 8, 2015

Comparing 13 months old goji plants to 8 month old goji plants

13 month old goji plants
8 month old goji plants

Thirteen months ago, February 16, 2014, we purchased dried goji berries, pinched them open and used the dried seeds to germinate goji berry plants. After examining the seeds we were sure this would work because the seeds were not damaged, only dried.

8 month old goji plant leaves
13 month old goji plant leaves

From May 2014 till October 2014 we left our goji plants outside and they thrived, our only challenger was the vexatious aphid. As you can see the thirteen month old goji leaves have matured since dormancy.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Behold, Here Am I

Meet Genesis our spring time friend. And she is a very faithful friend, one that joins us March of every year! Our friend is a Great Blue Heron. A tall, large, long-legged wading bird, common near the shores of open water and in wetlands over most of North America

The notable features of a Great Heron are:

  • Breed in pairs or colonies: Our Genesis breeds in pair
  • Females lays 6-6 pale blue eggs
  • Diet: small fish
  • A harsh, croak call

A Peculiar Fruit

Cherimoya or Custard Apple

Renowned as the king of fruit

Cherimoya  is a sub tropical fruit. We selected the Fino de Jete to taste. The flesh is white and creamy, with numerous large, dark brown seeds. The flavor is a blend of banana, pineapple, papaya, peach and strawberry. There is acidity to balance the sweetness.

Cherimoya is not frost hardy. They are cold hardy to 30 degrees. A balanced organic fertilizer is best, fertilizing once a month. If growing in pots, every few years, trim the roots and replace the deficient soil. Makes a great house plant.

Our Method Of Sow

  • Full sun, south-facing
  • Water slowly and deeply, every 15-20 days during growing season
  • Fertilize with fish emulsion every 6 weeks or with 10-8-6 fertilizer
  • Allow for a full 4 month dormancy- do not water at that time
  • Must hand pollinate: remove pollen from flowers tan anthers that are covered with white pollen with tweezers. Paint pollen on a mature stigma of another flower with small, soft paint brush. Stigma is a white sticky structure inside the flower




Cheimoya Ice Cream


4-6 ripe cherimoya


  • Scoop flesh into a food processor, discarding rind & seeds. Process until paste consistency
  • Place in freezer until frozen solid- overnight
  • Remove from freezer, rough chop, re-process in food processor, adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time, until scoopable.
  • Scoop into bowls 

Kiwano Horned Melon

Vining Annual

Skin is yellow orange

Flesh is green with pulp covered seeds

 This native of South Africa, is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 10 and up. Because the plant is a member of the cucumber family it can be grown anywhere that you would grow melons. If using a container, allow for 4-5 gallons of soil per plant. 

Our Method Of Sow

  • Sow seeds when evening temperatures are consistently above 57 degrees Fahrenheit, 18-24 inches between seeds: 6 feet between rows
  • Plant 1/2 inch deep in full sun, with a trellis 
  • Water deeply, slowly in morning and afternoon, once germinated and established
  • Fertilize with 4-8-5 or 6-10-10
  • Apply straw around base of plant when soil temperature reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit and above


 African Horned Melon tastes like a mix of a cucumber, kiwi,  banana and a bitter melon.


Horned Melon Sauce


1 Horned melon
3 T Lime juice
1 Green onion, minced
1 T Vegetable oil
1/4 t cumin
1 Garlic clove

  • Cut the melon into halves lengthwise. 
  • Scoop out the pulp. Combine the pulp with lemon juice, green onion, oil, cumin & garlic in a food processor
  • Serve with beef, chicken or pork chops 

Prickly Pear Cactus

Thrives in hot, dry desert: growing 3-20 feet tall 
ripe fruits are purple, red or yellow

Fruit is eaten raw, as juice, candy or jelly 

Our Method Of Sow

  • Sow seeds when evening temperatures are consistently above 45 degrees.
  • Plant 1" apart in seed trays. Pressing the seed into the soil and covering with fine layer of soil.
  • Mist the soil surface and cover with lid or cover with place plastic with rubber band.
  • Place tray in a sunny window. 
  • Best soil/air temperatures is 70 degrees, be sure to vent if heat builds excessively. 
  • Cacti that turn yellow need more light. Brown or red cacti are receiving too much light.
  • Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) to encourage pad growth. Use low nitrogen, (0-10-10) to encourage flowers and fruit growth. 


Prickly Pear cactus fruit has a taste that is similar to raspberries or watermelon.


Crimson Prickly Pear Sauce


2 1/2 pounds (16) fresh prickly pears (tunas)
1/3 c sugar, plus a little more to your taste
1 T, fresh lime juice
1 T, orange or lemon juice

  • Cut a 1/4 inch slice off both ends of the prickly pears
  • Make 1/2 inch cut down the side of each side to carefully peel off the rind
  • Rough chop the tunas, remove juice with a juicer or puree in a food processor, then press through a fine strainer to remove seeds. Process should render 3 cups of juice.
  • In a medium size (3 qt.) saucepan, combine 2 cups of the puree with 1/3 cup of sugar, simmer over med-high heat, stir frequently. Should reduce to 1 cup.
  • Cool. Combine cooked mixture with remaining 1 cup of uncooked puree in a small bowl. Taste and season with lime juice, orange/lemon juice and additional sugar as needed.
Serve with ice cream or cake. If covered and refrigerated, the sauce will remain delicious up to 1 week. Sauce can be frozen.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Jerusalem Artichokes in the field

Jerusalem Artichokes

 native to north america


Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes are a root vegetable that is eaten raw or prepared like potatoes- steamed, boiled, grilled, fried, roasted or microwaved. They look like ginger and taste like slightly nutty like a cross between an artichoke heart and a potato. Jerusalem artichokes are less starchy than potatoes, many people that are counting carbs prefer them over potatoes.

Jerusalem artichokes are hardy and are perennial in all zones. They grow best in loose fertile soil. We can grow them in full sun to partial shade. They grow tall, the north side of the bed will prevent shading of neighbors. Plant in fall or spring. Each tuber planted should have at least 1 eye and plant 3" deep 12' apart.

Recipe: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Serves 2


1 lb. Jerusalem Artichokes, peeled & diced
2 Shallots, chopped
2 Garlic cloves- large, peeled & crushed
10 Coriander seeds
2 Thyme sprigs
1 Potato- large or 3 oz. , peeled & diced
2 Celery stalks, diced
1/2 Celeriac bulb large, peeled & diced
3 c Vegetable broth
3 T Olive oil
2 T Creme Fraiche
Italian flat leaf parsley
Kosher salt & pepper

For garnish:
10 oz. mushrooms, clean, brushed & sliced
1 Garlic clove minced
Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
White truffle flavored olive oil
Kosher salt


  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven.
  • Add shallot, garlic, coriander seeds, thyme cooking on medium heat, until golden
  • Add root vegetables & celery, cook for 8-10 minutes
  • Add broth, bringing to a boil.
  • Season with kosher salt & pepper
  • Cover & simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are fork tender
  • While simmering, saute 1 tablespoon olive oil in saute pan & garlic
  • Add mushrooms, 1 tablespoon parsley, salt & pepper, continue saute for 1-2 minutes
  • Remove dutch oven from heat & puree
  • Add cream, season to taste
  • Serve soup garnished with 2 tablespoons of mushroom mixture, and drizzle with truffle oil, pinch of chopped parsley & pinch of kosher salt
Bon Appetit

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Gathering Dragon Fruit and Hyanciths

Today we decided to transplant the Dragon fruit roots. When we went to observe the seeds, they were falling off and the roots were splitting, trying to form leaves. We repurposed an old container, drilled holes on the bottom and the lid to allow for good aeration.

Materials Needed

Placing pebbles at the bottom for extra drainage 

Added perlite for another layer of drainage


Mixed in magnesium because it helps in photosynthesis

Hyacinth: a plant of the ancients held to be a lily, iris, larkspur or gladiolus

An early spring blooming flower

Hyacinth is a spring flower that smells delightful, with a lingering fragrance.  The array of colors can be white, blue, lavender, purple, pink, magenta, peach or yellow. 

Bulbs should be planted in early fall 4 to 6 inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart, in a sunny, well-drained area. They need several months of chilling to coax the flowers out. If growing in water, only let the roots dangle into the water. Keep them cool and in full sun exposure during the growing season. Recommended temps are 45 to 65 degree F.

Ease of care: Moderately easy

Propagating hyacinth: By division and bulb sections.

Soil: Loose, well-drained potting mix.

Grower's tip: Keeping them cool will prolong the bloom


  • Vegetatively: 
Hyacinths may be propagated by removing the bulblets that have developed by the end of the growing season. Then stored in dry sand or earth until the next planting season, in late summer or early fall. It will take 2 to 3 years until they flower. 

  • Basal Plate Cut:
Hyacinths may also be propagated by making cuts in the bulb, which promotes the development of new bublets. Turn the bulb upside down, cut away the basal plate using a sharp knife, then make several V-shaped cutsarounf the edge of the bulb where the basal plate was removed. Leave the bulb exposed to the air for a few days to allow a protective layer to form, then bury the bulb upside down in moist sand. New bublets will grow from the wounds. 

Examples of basal Plate location 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spy Out The Land

Good morning Sunshine!

We are looking for land. I think we may have found it, GOD willing. This section of town is very peaceful and perfect for our missions. Here is a peek


After we purchase land we will be altering our programs to include activities such as...


Exploring nature will be as easy as "breathing the air". 

  • Nature play
  • Scientific Investigations
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Edible Labyrinth
  • Midday Camping
  • Movies in the Barn
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Aquaponics
  • Perennials, Annuals and Agri-tourism, oh my!

Walk with me!