Wood sorrel (oxalis)

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Wood sorrel (oxalis) can be found all throughout woodland areas. Here is what it should look like:

wood sorrel 3

This plant is filled with oxalates and vitamin C. Oxalates is a salt compound that makes things taste sour, rhubarb is another great example of a plant filled with oxalates. Typically the greens are what is eaten. Some native Americans chewed on wood sorrel to alleviate thirst or to cure mouth sores. The roots of sorrel can be eaten but are usually boiled and they have a starchy taste somewhat like a potato. Either way, this is a most Pleasing wild Edible to feast upon while out in Nature.

Wood sorrel 1

 

It also grows quite well in desert regions during the cooler months. Children seem to go gaga over this little plant, cause of the sour taste. My son, just loves eating this plant, although it can upset the tummy if eaten in high quantity.

 

Wood sorrel 2

 

NOTE to the reader: When in the wild do NOT eat any wild foods unlesss you are 100% that you have properly identified the plant.

Join the Food Revolution!

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My friend Greg Peterson is an urban farmer in Phoenix, Arizona. He’s an educator and

longtime food­grower offering a webinar coming up soon called 3 Simple Steps To Grow Fruits

And Veggies For A Healthier Life (click HERE for more information). He has dedicated his life

to learning how to grow healthy, nutrient­dense food and transforming the global food system.

He is one of the leaders in the Food Revolution and I absolutely love what he does.

UFU_Webinar_1200x628

Click the link below to check this out!

Click here to Join the Food Revolution!

https://dd200.isrefer.com/go/3StepsGrow/rose123

Below is an

article that he wrote about a day on his farm:

There is something to eat in my yard every day, 365 days a year. Last Thanksgiving it

was a wonderful salad that included: Six different greens such as Nasturtium leaves and sorrel

(a surprise find growing in the back ‘wild’ area); ruby red pomegranate seeds; an incredible

citrus called limequat that was sliced up skin and all for a tangy/sweet sensation; and a little bit

of the herbs tarragon and fennel, with a smidge of that pretty little three­leaf clover you see

growing in some yards called sour grass. The flavors were so diverse and striking that I chose

not to add any dressing at all.

I have spent a large part of the past 27 years integrating edible plants into my landscape,

from the Thanksgiving salad and my farm soup, to the occasional snack as I work through my

weekly urban farmer tasks. All the hard work and experimentation has netted an incredible,

edible yard and a hard­knock education about how and what grows best in my yard.

When I was in the eighth grade my family moved into a home with a very large yard where

the back 1/3­acre became our garden. We planted, the seeds grew and a spark ignited inside of

me…I decided to be a farmer. Over time, my dream became farming 200 acres out there

somewhere, and when I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree I was required to write a

vision for my life. In that vision, “farmer” showed up, but with a twist: Instead of 200 acres, The

Urban Farm was born on a 0.4­acre property in Phoenix, AZ and I was a farmer. My gardening

hobby of 10+ years was in reality urban farming, an incredible canvas on which to paint my

dream.

One outlet for my passion has been to re­landscape my entire yard with the notion that

everything that I grow is either edible, or supports the plants that are edible. Over the past 27

years I have planted trees that produce edible fruits, nuts and beans such as mesquite;

perennial herbs including basil, rosemary and oregano that I use a hedge trimmer on

periodically; along with the standard annual vegetables – broccoli, snow peas, and cucumbers

to name just a few.

Because of our name, visitors to The Urban Farm have an expectation that they will see

long rows of corn and beans, and a full working traditional farm. To the contrary, much of what

we have accomplished lives in standard garden beds, and if a person visiting did not know any

differently they would just see a nicely landscaped yard.

Magic happens when I stand back and watch the natural processes that exist in my yard.

A couple of decades ago I was fighting a basil plant ­ it wanted to bloom, I wanted the basil

leaves ­ as if I KNEW what was best for it. After a long battle, which I finally learned that I could

not win, I gave up and let the basil bloom, and boy did it bloom. What happened next was one

of those secrets that nature only whispers if you stand back and watch. The bees arrived by the

hundreds, and since then pollination has not been a problem on The Urban Farm.

My job these days has become helping others transform their outdoor living spaces into

edible wonderlands. Offering a plethora of classes on a diverse list of topics is the most natural

way for me to express my passion. Over the years topics such as vermiculture (cultivating

worms for their manure), desert gardening, edible landscaping, fruit trees, and the always

popular “Keeping Chickens in Your Yard” have begun to reconnect Phoenix residents to the

roots of where our food comes from.

Now I’ve expanded my reach to the global community by offering online classes, both free

and paid, to inspire and empower people from around the world to grow their own healthy,

organic food and join the food revolution. My latest free webinar, 3 Simple Steps To Grow

Fruits And Veggies For A Healthier Life, will cover how to choose the right space to plant

your edible garden, how to determine what to plant when, why soil is your most important asset

and gardening hacks that will make growing your own food easy and successful. If you are

excited to join the revolution and start creating your edible yard or patio but have little to no

experience, this webinar was designed for you! Click here to learn more.

Farming the city spaces around us presents a whole new paradigm for growing our own

food and reigniting our connection to nature. The tools are here, and the knowledge is available,

you can kindle your desire by getting your hands dirty, taking a chance and spreading some

seeds. The fruits of your labor are much tastier (not to mention cheaper) than what you find in

the grocery store and come along with the satisfaction that YOU grew them. Many people tell

me of their “black” thumbs as they admire what is grown on The Urban Farm. I reflect back to

them the years of experimenting that I have done, noting the countless plants that did NOT

make under my care… and that is how I learned.

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

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Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Everyone knows that catnip is used to get our cats feeling perky, but did you know we humans can use it to? I grow catnip in my garden for all kinds of medicinal uses. Catnip is a member of the mint family and can be used to help with anxiety, tummy issues such as indigestion, cramps or nausea, it can also be used to help with colic, fevers and menstrual cramps. Sometimes I’ll brew a tea for my toddler and give this to him to help him calm down in the evening. Have you used catnip for medicinal uses?

Have you used catnip for medicinal uses? If so leave a comment I’d love to hear what your thoughts, preparations or experience was. And if you are going to grow this in your garden I really recommend keeping it in a pot or in an area where you do not mind if it spreads, because it will take over!

Natural Garden Trellis

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Okay so I do not know about you but being a single mother I have to find every way I can to budget. So when I was thinking of ideas for my garden trellis I was not willing to blow $100 plus dollars on my garden trellis, especially since I am renting.

Therefore the idea came to mind that I should just collect sticks, buy some twine & create my own natural garden trellis.

Sticks collected for Natural  Garden Trellis...

Sticks collected for Natural Garden Trellis…

So I took my son out for a field trip to the local park & we looked for fallen sticks. It was just our luck that we had a huge storm here in Glendale the previous week, so tons of nice sticks & branches were there waiting for us to harvest them :).

My so asked me why we were collecting these sticks. And so I explained to him that we were harvesting these sticks so we can build our own trellis to support the plants in the garden.

When we got home I decided to make an art project out of our field trip. So I drew a garden bed & pulled out some popsicle sticks and glue & showed him what a trellis looked like. e had so much fun, he even painted the trellis a little.

Kids project for Natural Trellis demonstration

Kids project for Natural Trellis demonstration

So what I did was cut down the branches to fit nicely along the East fence for the Trellis. I had to make sure to cut off the little arms on the branches so the sticks were branch-free. Then I went to Home Depot & bought a spool of twine for about $3 bucks. And wrapped the branches with rows of twine. All the while making sure the twine rows were taut so they will support the vines that will grow around them.

Natural Garden Trellis with Harvested branches & sticks...

Natural Garden Trellis with Harvested branches & sticks…

See pretty cute huh! So all in all I managed to create a fun field trip for my 3 year old son, created a fun art project & made a Natural Trellis for only a few bucks for the garden… Not bad at all…

Having a problem with the Cats using the Garden as a Litter box?

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Okay so I’m not sure if any of you are or have had these problems, but my kitty seems to think that my garden is a litter box specifically made just for him :(

This is a huge problem as cat feces can spread disease throughout the garden. Even though cat feces contain nitrogen, phosphate and potash, which are fertilizers, it does not mean it is safe for the vegetation growing in the garden or for the consumption of the vegetation.

Solutions

1-Sprinkle red pepper or cayenne pepper in the gardens to detour the cats from wanting to excrete in those spots. Cats are just like dogs, they need to smell the soil and find just the right place. If the ground is covered with hot pepper powder, the kitties will not like these spots. But the problem with this is that the pepper powder does not last long so you have to reapply.

Hot Pepper Powder

“Organic” Hot Pepper powders

2-Get some fine wire mesh & cover the ground floor with it. If kitties cannot bury their feces they will find another spot that they can bury in!

Cat Repellent

Thin wire Mesh!

So I had tried option one, all to no luck my kitty was persistent on going in the garden. So Lastly I had to try the wire mesh idea & wa’la no more using the garden as a little box.

It’s not very expensive and if there are plants already growing just cut a hole big enough so plant does not get damaged by the sharp edges & lay down. I placed a few rocks on the edges to keep them in place.

The tools you need is a bundle of thin wire mesh, a tape measure & cutting sheers. Its so easy I’m very confident that you could set it up with an ease…

Squash Bugs and their Dirty Truth…

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Squash Bugs and their Dirty Truth…

Another day in the garden just minding my own business looking with pride on the green stalks that stood proudly in front of my eyes…and there I thought my garden was finally coming together and then BLAM! Squash bugs had completely infested my garden.

Squash Bugs

The sad thing was that I could have stopped these evil invaders sooner, had I known just what they were. I remember looking over the garden one day and seeing these beetle looking creatures. And in my head I thought, “Oh look beetles have visited my garden… maybe they will help with the ant problem.”

And then about a week or so later my squash plants were completely covered in these pests after a nice evening watering. Then it dawned on me, “These guys are no good! What should I do?”

"The Evil Doers"

“The Evil Doers”

So I posted on the local gardeners page I’m a member of on Facebook, looking for some sort of answers.

Squash bug eggs

“YOU HAVE SQUASH BUGS!” is the response I got. So I did some research and learned that these bugs have been problematic for years now for farmers & gardeners (source). Then I read over and over on various pages that these squash bugs were really hard to rid.

However I did find these remedies/cures what ever you wanna call these, however I’m gonna call these “Population Control”

1-Neem Oil-The spraying of Neem oil, either by itself or mixed with water as a solution seems to be the most curative form of riding an infestation of squash bugs. Neem oil not only smothers the evil doers, but slows their feeding habits reducing their reproduction of the stiff they ingest.

2-Diatomaceous Earth-sprinkle this earth powder in your garden, around your yard every few weeks or so. Do not worry about getting this stuff on your plants as it washes away & is non-toxic. Quick fix while planting mix- Mix in diatomaceous earth with the dirt around the seeds. This will keep the bugs away

3-Dice up onions & garlic. Soak over night in water. Save the fluids & discard the pulp. Next take the solution and place on the ground around the plants making sure not to touch the solution on the leaves or stalks(as this solution can be fatal and burn the plant).

So even though it was too late for my garden, I will know next season what to do do & how to prevent the bastards from taking over my plants once again! And hopefully you too will be saved the heart ache & disappointment from the destruction these bugs havoc!