Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Useful Tips for Avoiding Jail Time while Vegetable Gardening in Your Front Yard

Grow flowers among your veggies
One of the Important Media blogs, Eat Drink Better, just wrote about a Michigan family who is being threatened with financial penalties and jail time for simply growing vegetables in their own front yard.

I am very much in favor of working to change such local laws that are misguided and often outdated; but in the meantime, the following tips may help keep you out of handcuffs.

So before you get caught picking cucumbers in your front yard, are slapped with a fine, and charged with a misdemeanor, here are some strategies you can try to disguise your subversive gardening acts. You can always resort to planting edible flowers and herbs among the veggies in your front yard, and Big Brother will be none the wiser.

Grow Edibles that Double as Ornamental Plants

I have Scarlet Runner Beans growing up an attractive trellis in my front yard. The showy scarlet flowers with lush green foliage attract attention and people are shocked to learn that,  yes,  they are also an edible heirloom bean.

Edible flowers: Calendula and Borage with salad greens

Plant Edible Flowers and Herbs

I love flowers so I plant them among my vegetables. There are many attractive edible flowers, including several that are grown strictly as ornamental plants: calendula, the violet family (including Johnny jump-ups, violas and pansies), roses, chrysanthemums, and nasturtiums, to name a few. Edible flowers make colorful additions to salads and desserts, and rose petals have many uses. For starters, you can make rosewater, sugared rose petals, and rose petal jam...

Read the full post on Ecolocalizer

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lima Beans- Not Your Ordinary Phaseolus vulgaris

The beautiful and unusual Christmas Lima

Which would you rather eat, a dish made with lima beans or butter beans? Most people would agree that “butter bean” has a delicious ring to it, and that lima beans are notoriously yucky. In fact for many people lima beans conjure up an image of pasty, horrible beans that were part of a frozen vegetable medley served in school cafeterias, or worse yet came from a can.

And you may have guessed what I’m going to tell you next: butter beans are lima beans. Unless you are from the southern USA, this may surprise you. And in case you think beans are all alike and interchangeable, lima beans, or P lunatus, are a separate species from the common bean, P. vulgaris, and were named after the capital of Peru, Lima. They have their origins in the New World as common beans do, but they were domesticated far earlier. Similar to common beans, limas were also cultivated by Native Americans before the colonists arrived and were eventually introduced into Europe...