An Ark for Saving Seeds and Our Future

This summer as you bite into unique varieties of luscious, ripe, delicious seasonal fresh fruit from your local farmer’s market, please take a moment to be thankful for the many unique seeds that still exist, as well as for the people who take the time to save them.

You can read about the heroic ongoing efforts to save our food heritage in a National Geographic story entitled “Food Ark”. Here is a brief excerpt from the recently published article about the work that Diane Ott Whealy has invested into creating an extensive seed exchange:

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Growing Some Not So Common Beans

You are probably familiar with pinto, navy, and kidney beans, but there are also scores of amazing unique bean varieties that you may have never heard of. Unless you specifically sought them out, you wouldn’t be familiar with the not-so-common beans as you won’t find them on your grocery store shelf. These special beans are heirlooms that have been preserved and passed down from generation to generation.

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Soil Magic with Sandwich Composting

It might seem highly improbable that just a pile of cardboard, newspaper and grass clippings will magically turn into beautiful rich soil, but that is indeed what actually happens. I saw it with my very own eyes. In our quest to find more space to plant vegetables in our ever expanding garden, we did a trial sandwich composting project on the sunny, but weedy side of our house last October. Now in spring, our simple compost sandwich has really turned out beautifully.

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Runner Beans – the Original Magic Bean Stalk

The Scarlet Runner bean has won a very special place in my heart. It is lovely as a trailing ornamental garden plant, and also provides delicious edible pods and beans. Another wonderful quality of runner beans is that they are also a perennial vine, meaning beans will grow all year round in mild climates, and do not have to be resown. In our area (hardiness zone 9) the beans die back with the first frosts of winter, then reemerge in the spring.

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Will a Recycled Snowman Work as a Bean Trellis?

As exciting as it is anticipating a multitude of tiny young legume sprouts pushing up through the moist earth, my absolute favorite aspect of this bean planting adventure is my experiment with a recycled trellis. I am not entirely sure if it will work for my intended garden function, but I love gazing at the strange found sculpture so much, with its relentlessly upbeat outlook and vacuously chipper smile, that I almost don’t even care if the beans ever succeed in growing up it.

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Four Amazing and Unusual Perennial Berries

I am really psyched about this list of berries for a few reasons. For one, it is really exciting to learn about a cool berry you have never heard of. Even better if they are also fantastic for you and packed with nutrition. But, perhaps the most exciting thing is that these berries are all perennial (meaning that they fruit year after year), and can thrive across most of the United States.

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Growing Balanced Meals in Your Own Garden

This season if you are growing your own lettuce, squash, carrots and other vegetables in your backyard garden, be sure to also plant a few varieties of beans. Growing your own protein and have nutritionally well-balanced meals entirely from your edible garden is easy with legumes.

Legumes not only feed and sustain us, they also feed the earth by their near-magical ability to fix nitrogen into the soil, (in partnership with bacteria). The diverse legume family includes beans, peas, lima and fava beans, and also clovers, which are invaluable cover crops and often used as green manure.

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What Kind of Soil Do I Have? Find Out with the Shake Test

So you are interested in growing plants in your soil. You have picked up a packet of seeds and read on the back: This plant prefers a “loamy soil.” You wonder, what does this mean, and how can I tell if my soil is right? This guide will give you a brief introduction to types of soil, and how to tell what soil you area has.

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Mark Zuckerberg Vows to Only Eat Meat that He has Killed Himself

Billionaire Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced that this year he has started a personal challenge to only eat meat that he has killed himself. From lobsters and chickens to pigs and goats, he has vowed not to eat any meat from an animal that he has not personally rendered.

Zuckerberg has embraced the economics of more sustainable localized food production; he decided that if he is going to eat animals, that butchering his own meat locally made the most sense to him. He explained a bit about his new insight into food and agriculture:

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