This peanut has been selected since 1980 by North Carolina gardener, Gordon Schronce. He started with 3 peanut shells and a total of seven individual peanuts. Unlike regular peanuts with red skins, these had dark purple, almost black skins. Schronce’s Deep Black is a product of his efforts over the years to select the largest seeds with the darkest skin color. Schronce’s is probably related to a heirloom peanut called Carolina Black. Schronce’s has a darker skin than Carolina Black and more peanuts per shell (3-4).
I have the dubious honour of having lived with both anæmia and comorbid hypothyroidism for almost a decade: at my very worst, I need 12 hours of sleep a day, have difficulty concentrating, bouts of tinnitus, tachycardia, restless legs, constant thirst, and chronic circulatory problems. These symptoms largely abate when I supplement my diet with heme iron (Fe2+) and vitamin b12, and eat meat regularly.
I blame a combination of poor childhood nutrition, genetics, and a copper IUD for my condition; I’m lucky enough to live in a place where I can easily get supplements when my health takes a turn for the worse.
Knowing how disabling anæmia can be, it breaks my heart to know there are people, mostly women and children, trying to get by day to day while constantly feeling like they are about to pass out from a lack of the normal oxygen delivery the blood is supposed to provide.
Over 3.5 billion people worldwide suffer from iron deficiency, a
Anæmics often simply need more iron in their diets: preferably rapidly-absorbed heme iron, which is only found in meat, fish, and poultry.
However, cooking in a cast-iron pan is a common remedy as well, because some of the iron from the vessel leaches into the food. For this reason, I think the Lucky Iron Fish™ is a brilliant idea.
The Lucky Iron Fish™ is a simple and effective
health innovation that can provide you with 75% of your daily required
iron intake. All you have to do is cook with it.
Just boil it for 10 minutes in liquid and broth based meals like soup,
stews or in drinking water. For maximum effect use a bit of lemon juice
as the acidity helps extract the iron.
This simple cooking tool can provide entire families with up to 75% of
their daily required iron intake - improving everything from energy
levels to cognitive function. A little Fish can go a long way!
In antiquity, the Medlar was cultivated from Western Asia to the Mediterranean: it has been domesticated for at least 3000 years in the areas that are now Bulgaria and Turkey. The fruit looks something like a cross between an apple and a rose-hip, which isn’t far from the truth, as it is a pome, and member of the expansive and economically-important Rosaceae family.
The fruits are acidic and tannic when eaten right off the tree, so they are normally bletted: this is a process where the fruits are allowed to become over-ripe in order to sweeten and soften the tissues. After bletting, the fruits are said to taste like “apple butter,” and can be used in making jams, jellies, and baked goods, or eaten like apple sauce.
They are experiencing a resurgence of popularity among permaculturists and forest gardeners in the middle ranges of the temperate zone, because the extended ripening needs of the fruits means they are available during winter.
Medlars planted in domestic gardens are almost always grafted to a wild Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.). The graft union is normally buried beneath the soil to prevent suckering, and allow the medlar scion to grow it’s own roots (this interspecific graft is not always the hardiest).
I’m going to try my luck with some scion wood from Turkey, grafted with wild rootstock of local hawthorn plants!
Whether you have enough summer warmth to grow these outside, a greenhouse, or even a bright window, here are some interesting options for the garden with similar climate requirements and taste profiles to cucumbers.
Also known as Loofah, this gourd can be dried on the vine, and made into a durable organic scrubber for the bath or kitchen. The juvenile fruits are also edible, and used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines.
These gardens are a great solution if you are lacking in good soil: especially if you live in an urban area with soil that is contaminated by things like glass, run-off or other waste.
Straw Bale Gardens teaches gardening in a way that isn’t only new but is thoroughly innovative and revolutionary to home gardening. It solves every impediment today’s home gardeners face: bad soil, weeds, a short growing season, watering problems, limited garden space, and even physical difficulty working at ground level. Developed and pioneered by author and garden expert Joel Karsten, straw bale gardens create their own growing medium and heat source so you can get an earlier start. It couldn’t be simpler or more effective: all you need is a few bales of straw, some fertilizer, and some seeds or plants, and you can create a weedless vegetable garden anywhere—even in your driveway.
There are a number of problems with the way that Western consumers have been purchasing quinoa, and the effect this has had on indigenous diets in Bolivia: if you want to consume this nutritious food, but do so in an ethical way, consider growing it yourself! It is beautiful, and incredibly nutritious, high in protein, iron, and calcium, as well as gluten-free. You can bolster your seed supply every year by saving a larger portion of your harvest, making this a one-time purchase.
Bokashi composting is a compact Japanese method of indoor composting, that uses a drainable container, and Effective Microorganisms (lactic acid bacteria, yeast and phototrophic (PNSB) bacteria) in a “bran” substrate to neutralise odours and accelerate decomposition. The bucket is equipped with a tap on the bottom, so you can harvest “compost tea” to mix with water, and give to your plants to both inoculate them against diseases, and give them nutrients. Food waste is set in to the bucket, and then covered in the biodynamic “bran” in order to facilitate rapid conversion into rich material for your garden.
I am not a “prepper” by any stretch of the imagination, but I do find myself crossing paths with a lot of survivalist types, given my interests in backpacking, camping, off-the-grid living, and permaculture.
Sometimes I side-eye the word a little bit, because a lot of dedicated “prepper” communities are a little too full of God-fearing ex-military white Americans, with whom I have nothing in common other than a shared love of Leatherman multitools.
However, one thing I do appreciate from prepper discussions is the “bug out bag” concept, because I have always had a fondness for “gear”: I can happily spend hours in a sport or camping store comparing first aid kits and water skins, and I think it’s a solid idea to have materials on hand to survive during an emergency.
One of the prizes for the writing contest I have entered is a “Bug Out Seed Bag” from the Sustainable Seed Company. They grow certified organic heirloom seeds, and I think a kit like this is a pretty practical thing to have around: not neccessarily for “when apocalyptic disaster strikes,” but for more likely scenarios like long-term unemployment.
I have an archive of #seed kits like this, but the Bug Out Seed Bag is specifically-designed to go in a pack, which makes it unique. It’s also an easy enough thing to do yourself, but a kit will generally allow more diversity for a lower price. If stored properly, these kits can remain viable for years.
There comes a point in working outdoors where you realise that regular clothes aren’t going to cut it: for me, it was cutting down a thorny plum tree and ending up with a thorn embedded quite deeply in my thigh. Since then, I’ve always worn clothing that is designed for landscaping work when doing heavier jobs.
Gardening pants or dungarees are usually made in a heavy fabric with durable stitching, and designed for both movement, and wear & tear. Usually, they have reinforced knees, extra large and deep pockets, and a whole host of clips and hooks for specific tools: they almost completely eliminate the need for a tool belt.