August 2017 | Garden Culture Magazine

Wild Flours: Sustainable Superfoods

No, not flowers, but the stuff from which bread is made. Some are superfoods, some are gluten-free, and all of these raw material sources unaltered by science. All, that is, except one, but it’s an isolated instance, and one that gives merit to the edibility of this long-lost grain. Did I say lost? More like hidden in plain sight… Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crus-galli) benefits [1]  [2]: A type of millet, (a.k.a. cockspur grass, Japanese millet, or barnyard grass), and one of the world’s most obnoxious weeds produces dried grain numerous cultures have eaten since primitive times. It’s Asian in origin (millet-type),...

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8 Wild Greens: More Superfoods for Sustainable Agriculture

Before agriculture and the food system supersized everything from size and sugar content to shelf life and shippability, people turned to plentiful plants in the wild. Some see these not as superfoods, but as subsistence foods. Considering the robust vigor of native and naturalized plants, and their ability to thrive year after year with no human assistance – no matter what the weather does – that idea is skewed. Maybe part of today’s health issues come from a diet consisting of foods with such delicate constitutions that bringing the crops to harvest requires lots of coddling. Fragile food and...

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Superfoods, Sustainable Agriculture and Native Plants

Aronia berries are one of those superfoods, chock full of antioxidants and other health benefits thanks to their dark coloring. But they weren’t a commercial crop until the 1990s, though processed drinks already contained the fruit, which means that the health drink maker was sourcing them in the wild. Foraged food in a grocery store way back when! How and why Sawmill Valley Farm became the first commercial grower of aronia berries is an interesting story. Many will marvel at their path to becoming leaders in emerging superfoods crops, cheer their decision to grow organic berries, and attend their...

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Kenaf Fire Logs: Smart Renewable Fuel Crop

Now there’s a renewable heating fuel that burns hotter and longer than the best firewood, yet it involves no deforestation. Four years into research and development, a fire logs startup has discovered yet another use for the Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) crop. Traditional uses for this plant include human and livestock food rich in iron and protein, animal bedding, rope and twine, carpet backing, paper, and bioplastics. Now it’s building a new economy and jobs in the Kentucky mountains and poised to erase the scars of top removal mining in coal country. Kenaf, one of the fastest growing plants in...

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Mediterranean Plants: How to plant and care for them

You may have dreams of a luxury villa in the Tuscan countryside or a poolside retreat in the Costa Del Sol, but while the weather may not be as sun blessed, it is possible to recreate some of that Mediterranean garden glamour back home. Whether you want to include one of the many varieties of olive trees into your garden, a Trachycarpus Fortunei palm, Tuscan Cypress tree or Bay Leaf Topiary, there are many plant species from the Mediterranean which can be planted in different shores to their origins. To help you care for your specialist plants, Olive Grove...

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