BUTTER BEANS…YUM..YUM..!

BUTTER BEANS…YUM..YUM..!

May 8, 2016

Eaten as a vegetable and commonly known as the lima bean or butter bean and also known as Haba bean, Pallar bean, Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean, Sieva bean, Rangoon bean, Madagascar bean, Paiga, Paigya, prolific bean, civet bean, sugar bean, Etchells Bean,; it is a delicious vegetable by any name and enjoyed by people all over the world. Easy to Grow They are exceptionally easy to grow in an Aquaponics system and will produce the best tasting beans you ever put in your mouth. Just follow normal planting in the spring in rockwool or the media of your choice and as soon as the danger of frost has past and the seedlings show true leaves, transfer them to your grow bed media and stand back for the explosion of growth you will witness.  Pick fresh beans for your table all summer long, but don’t forget to leave some of the biggest beans on the vine and allow them to go to seed for use next year and to share with other AP’ers. Varieties Both bush and pole (vine) varieties exist, the latter from one to four meters in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 cm long. The mature seeds are 1 to 3 cm long and oval to kidney shaped. In most varieties the seeds are quite flat, but in the “potato” varieties the shape approaches spherical. White seeds are common, but black, red, orange and variously mottled seeds are also known. The immature seeds are uniformly green. Bush types: Henderson/Thorogreen, 65 days Eastland, 68 days Baby Fordhook, 70 days Fordhook 242, 75 days, 1945 All-America Selections winner Pole types: Giant Speckled/Christmas/Speckled Calico, 78 days*Big 6/Big Mama, 80 days*King of the Garden, 85 days Nutritional value Lima beans, like many other legumes, are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein. Lima beans contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which prevents constipation, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Your Blood sugar The high fiber content in Lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising...

BUTTER BEANS…YUM..YUM..!

BUTTER BEANS…YUM..YUM..!

May 8, 2016

Eaten as a vegetable and commonly known as the lima bean or butter bean and also known as Haba bean, Pallar bean, Burma bean, Guffin bean, Hibbert bean, Sieva bean, Rangoon bean, Madagascar bean, Paiga, Paigya, prolific bean, civet bean, sugar bean, Etchells Bean,; it is a delicious vegetable by any name and enjoyed by people all over the world. Easy to Grow They are exceptionally easy to grow in an Aquaponics system and will produce the best tasting beans you ever put in your mouth. Just follow normal planting in the spring in rockwool or the media of your choice and as soon as the danger of frost has past and the seedlings show true leaves, transfer them to your grow bed media and stand back for the explosion of growth you will witness.  Pick fresh beans for your table all summer long, but don’t forget to leave some of the biggest beans on the vine and allow them to go to seed for use next year and to share with other AP’ers. Varieties Both bush and pole (vine) varieties exist, the latter from one to four meters in height. The bush varieties mature earlier than the pole varieties. The pods are up to 15 cm long. The mature seeds are 1 to 3 cm long and oval to kidney shaped. In most varieties the seeds are quite flat, but in the “potato” varieties the shape approaches spherical. White seeds are common, but black, red, orange and variously mottled seeds are also known. The immature seeds are uniformly green. Bush types: Henderson/Thorogreen, 65 days Eastland, 68 days Baby Fordhook, 70 days Fordhook 242, 75 days, 1945 All-America Selections winner Pole types: Giant Speckled/Christmas/Speckled Calico, 78 days*Big 6/Big Mama, 80 days*King of the Garden, 85 days Nutritional value Lima beans, like many other legumes, are a good source of dietary fiber, and a virtually fat-free source of high quality protein. Lima beans contain both soluble fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, and insoluble fiber, which prevents constipation, digestive disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulitis. Your Blood sugar The high fiber content in Lima beans prevents blood sugar levels from rising...

BASIL….THE HERB OF CHOICE

BASIL….THE HERB OF CHOICE

Apr 6, 2016

Basil is a tender low-growing herb. Basil is a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell. There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. X citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia. While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as ‘African Blue’. Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. When soaked in water, the seeds of several basil varieties become gelatinous, and are used in Asian drinks and desserts such as falooda or sherbet. They are used for their medicinal properties in Ayurveda, the traditional medicinal system of India and Siddha medicine, a traditional Tamil system of medicine. They are also used as popular drinks in Southeast Asia. Basil grows to between 30 to 130 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves 3 to 11 cm long and 1 to 6 cm broad. The flowers are small, white in color and arranged in a terminal spike. Unusual among Lamiaceae, the four stamens and the pistil are not pushed under the upper lip of the corolla, but lie over the inferior lip. After entomophilous pollination, the corolla falls off and four round achenes develop inside the bilabiate calyx. Basil is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. It behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. In Northern Europe, Canada, the northern states of the U.S., and the South Island of New Zealand it will grow best if sown under glass in a peat pot, then planted out in late spring/early summer...

THE LOWLY CUCUMBER…!

THE LOWLY CUCUMBER…!

Mar 27, 2016

The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant. The cucumber is originally from India, and there are 3 main varieties of cucumber from which hundreds of different cultivars have emerged on the global market. Flowering and pollination A few varieties of cucumber are parthenocarpic, the blossoms creating seedless fruit without pollination. Pollination for these varieties degrades the quality. In the US, these are usually grown in greenhouses, where bees are excluded. In Europe, they are grown outdoors in some regions, and bees are excluded from these areas. Most cucumber varieties, however, are seeded and require pollination. Thousands of hives of honey bees are annually carried to cucumber fields just before bloom for this purpose. Cucumbers may also be pollinated by bumblebees and several other bee species. Symptoms of inadequate pollination include fruit abortion and misshapen fruit. Partially pollinated flowers may develop fruit which are green and develop normally near the stem end, but pale yellow and withered at the blossom end. Traditional varieties produce male blossoms first, then female, in about equivalent numbers. New gynoecious hybrid cultivars produce almost all female blossoms. However, since these varieties do not provide pollen, they must have interplanted a pollenizer variety and the number of beehives per unit area is increased. Insecticide applications for insect pests must be done very carefully to avoid killing off the insect pollinators. Storage Cucumbers can best be stored sealed in shrink foil. Sealing a cucumber increases its shelf life considerably. Taste There appears to be variability in the human olfactory response to cucumbers, with the majority of people reporting a mild, almost watery flavor or a light melon taste, while a small but vocal minority report a highly repugnant taste, some say almost perfume-like. Various practices have arisen with regard to how bitterness may be removed from cucumbers. Among these a very common practice popular in India includes slicing off the ends of a cucumber, sprinkling some salt, and rubbing the now-exposed ends of said cucumber with the sliced-off ends until it appears to froth. Another such urban legend states that one ought to peel a cucumber away from the end that was once attached to a vine, otherwise one risked spreading the...

CELERY CRUNCH…!

CELERY CRUNCH…!

Feb 10, 2016

CELERY (Apium graveolens) is a plant species where only the stalks are eaten. Cultivation Apium graveolens grows to 1 m tall. The leaves are pinnate to bipinnate leaves with rhombic leaflets 3–6 cm long and 2–4 cm broad. The flowers are creamy-white, 2–3 mm diameter, produced in dense compound umbels. The seeds are broad ovoid to globose, 1.5–2 mm long and wide. The plants are raised from seed, sown either in a hot bed or in the open garden according to the season of the year, and after one or two thinnings out and transplantings they are, on attaining a height of 15–20 cm, planted out in deep trenches for convenience of blanching, which is effected by earthing up to exclude light from the stems. Harvesting and storage Harvesting occurs when the average size of celery in a field is marketable; due to extremely uniform crop growth, fields are harvested only once. Petioles and leaves are removed and harvested celery are packed by size and quality (determined by color, shape, straightness and thickness of petiole, stalk and midrib length and absence of disease, cracks, splits, insect damage and rot). Under optimal conditions, celery can be stored for up to seven weeks. Freshly cut petioles of celery are prone to decay, which can be prevented or reduced through the use of sharp blades during processing, gentle handling, and proper sanitation. Cut pieces of celery last only a few hours before they turn brown, and few American restaurants include it in green salads because it cannot be prepared far enough ahead of time. In the past, restaurants used to store it in a container of water with powdered vegetable preservative; however, the sulfites in the preservative caused allergic reactions in some...

SMALL GREEN FOOD MACHINE..!

SMALL GREEN FOOD MACHINE..!

Jan 27, 2016

Fish are kept in a tank with grow beds elevated around them. Water from the fish is used to irrigate and fertilize the plants. The root systems of the plants and the growing medium remove nitrates from the water to use as food. The water is then returned by gravity to the fish tank, aerating the water as it falls into the tank. This is organic and saves water. There are many ways to practice aquaponics; from small home aquarium tanks with a few salad greens growing in the inverted lid to warehouse sized commercial operations. My family and I built a small system from all found and recycled materials. It is watered by hand (30 minutes labour per day) so it does not use electricity. It takes up about one and a half square meters of space. The idea for this system came to me after some repairs had been done on the highway near where we live. The road crews had left behind a broken piece of culvert and a small pile of pea gravel. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! I knew that the culvert could be used as a fish tank with a little cement work so we carted it and the gravel home. The first step was to create a base for the tank using chicken wire and cement left over from a previous project. The tank was placed on the base and sealed in place. Then the tank was then filled with water from our well. If you use chlorinated city water remember to wait a week or so before putting fish in the system, this will allow the chlorine time to dissipate. Tilapia fry from one of our aquaculture tanks were placed in the tank and began the process of fertilizing the water. The only input into this aquaponic system is food for the fish. If you use an omnivorous fish like tilapia all of their food can be grown for them. Duckweed is an excellent complete diet for tilapia. We collected used plastic containers from our village school and clinic. The tops were cut off and the containers washed very thoroughly three times. Then a hole was made...