Monday, July 12, 2010

Roasted Sunflower Seeds

I was told that you need flowers to attract bees to pollinate your stuff so that you get fruits/veggies. Naturally, I opted for flowers that I could eat. So I chose sunflowers. I decided to grow Mammoth Russian sunflowers. Then, when they didn't sprout after a few days, I got seeds for a couple others as well.

Well, the sunflowers grew in a couple weeks later and I had a lot of sunflowers. They are actually shading some of my other plants, which is probably not good, but a bunch of them are at least 9 ft tall.

Well, since I chose a flower I could eat, I figured I better figure out how I could eat them. Let me tell you, getting the seeds out of the flower takes FOREVER. One flower (and probably 2 hours of picking seeds out) gave me about a quart of seeds.

Next step, figuring out what to do with the seeds. I had gotten a couple of the smaller flowers a few days before. They sat in a plastic container for a couple days and got moldy. So I figured I needed to dry the seeds. I left them spread out on 2 sheet pans for a few days. Also, it was during the week and I had other stuff to do.

Last weekend I got back to them. I kept them simple. I just wanted a light coating of salt so they would make a good snack. Google led me to a few recipes. Then I didn't follow them. Based very loosely on this post. Most people probably want more salt on them than this. I snack on them randomly. I hear they make a good long car ride snack.

Sunflower seeds

1 large sunflower (1 quart of seeds)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Dry the sunflower seeds.
Rinse the sunflower seeds and drain off the excess water. Let them be damp but let anything that drains away go.
Sprinkle with the salt and toss until the salt is dissolved.
Toast in a single layer of a skillet until they dry and turn light brown. This could also (probably more easily) be done in an oven. 350 probably 20 mins but check regularly until slightly browned.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Garden Update

The garden is doing well. I get about 3 gallons of assorted stuff but mostly tomatoes every 2 days. That's typically because I stop picking because it's a pain. At least at this point most of the lower branches have ripened and been picked so I don't have to stoop over as much.

My family visited recently. I sent them home with close to 50 lbs of produced from the garden. Which pretty much wiped out everything I had. I should have taken some pics but for some reason have not in a while. Oh well.

K has been on my case to post something about this so he can send it to D. *wave hi* Don't you feel special, you are D? If it makes you feel any better K is only K and at one point was K-Ram, like K-Fed except nerdier. You should call him that by the way. Also, I told him to tell you to plant pineapple tomatillos but I bet he didn't. It's probably too late now but next year you should. Those are by far the most popular item from my garden.

Anyway, so these are some of the organic ish home remedy type alternatives to pesticides. I have found them by googling/word of mouth.

Beetles - they were going nuts on the soy beans. I believe this applies for other beans too but who knows. The soy bean plants were doing well and then one day I came out and there were probably thousands of beetles on my half a dozen or so plants. I guess they are japanese beetles. Get a bucket and put a couple inches of water and a squirt of dish soap in it. Swirl it around to get the dish soap dissolved. Alternatively, put the soap in first and fill with a hose so it takes care of it for you. Put the bucket under the plant where you see a bunch of beetles. Knock the plant and the beetles fall into the bucket. The dish soap keeps they from getting out and they drown. Then smash the drowned beetles (I used a large branch I found on the ground) so their guts get all into the water. It was recommended to actually put them in a blender but I'm not getting a blender just for this. I left the bucket in the garden. When the beetles die they release some pheromones or something that repels other beetles. They recommended spraying this solution all over the garden but I just left the bucket there. Since I did that, there have only been a couple beetles out there each day.

Mosquitos -
1. it was recommended to plant garlic sporadically throughout the garden or around the perimeter or something.
2. another option is to make a garlic solution. I heard garlic, ginger, onion, cheyenne pepper with some wator in a blender. Then spray this all over the garden. I haven't done this but one of my garden neighbors did.
3. listerine. get a spray bottle and spray the whole place. i actually did this one. haven't gotten a bite since but i still douse myself pretty liberally with bug spray before going out.
4. grow mint. or catnip. or citronella. only trouble is they may take over your entire garden. and you need to have it spread around, like the garlic in #1 which helps with the whole taking over the world thing.

Slugs - they say this is for slugs. they also say it helps release calcium to make your garden grow nice and tall. like milk for kids or something. crush up some egg shells and sprinkle them all over. the sharp edges are supposed to keep the slugs out. don't know if this really makes a difference but I had some eggs so I crushed up the shells and put them out there when my plants were still pretty small. Didn't seem to hurt anything.

OK that's not that impressive of a list but that's all I got.

Also, if your gardening shoes are fairly open and your feet are exposed, when you are harvesting stuff with a knife, make sure not to drop it on your foot. It hurts. And leaves a mark. And is hard to deal with when you have packed your garden really really tight and you are standing in the middle of it. You end up hopping on 1 foot trying not to let that foot move because you don't want to step on your plants but you end up grabbing the cages so that you don't fall down and crush about 5 of them. It's awkward.