We are spending some time in Israel with family and friends. It’s supposed to be winter here now but the weather is not cooperating. If you follow my FaceBook page maybe you saw the pictures of flowers I posted a few days ago. It is very much spring, everything is in bloom and there is no reason to stay indoors.
My mother-in-law, Yehudit, still lives in the house my husband was born in. The house is located in Amirim, a small vegetarian village located in the mountainous Galilee in the North of Israel.
On an afternoon walk in the village, we stopped to check on the progress of a Yurt which is being built by my husband’s best friend. It sits up on the side of the mountain (pretty complicated construction) and the view is absolutely incredible. You can see the surrounding villages and mountains, and on a good day even the Sea of Galilee.
I am trying to sprout 3 kinds of sweet potatoes: Hawaiians, Purples and Covingtons.
They. Will. Not. Sprout.
No matter what I do, the damn potatoes will not sprout! They’ve been in water since the beginning of January and a few days ago I transferred them to a container with some seed starting soil.
Growing up, I volunteered at a petting zoo we had in the Kibbutz. Abrashka (weird name, I know…), the manager, used to sing all the time. He will sing to the animals, to his tractor, to the feed, to the sun, to the soil and everything else. The man never talked, you would ask him a question and he will sing the answer to you. I remembered him this week, not sure why, and decided to follow a wise old man….
I wrote a song to my potatoes, it’s my last resort. I am desperate (can you tell?).
Oh My Sweet Potato Dear…
Today I sing to you my sweet potato,
Not to you carrot, onion, cucumber, or tomato…
Sprouting Alfalfa seeds at home is simple and fun. No special or expansive equipment is necessary and the sprouts are both tasty and very healthy. They contain a concentrated amount of calcium and vitamin K and C. They have 0 grams of fat and as my mother — which is a weight watchers support group instructor — says, they are free food. No need to calculate their little calories in your diet (if you are counting calories).
How To Grow Alfalfa Sprout At Home:
I used this half a gallon Ball jar, elastic bend and a nylon ankle sock. If you don’t have such a sock and there is a mall close by, go try some shoes at Macy’s. Just don’t forget to forget your socks and please don’t tell anyone I told you to do that ;-). If there isn’t a mall close by, you can order those here.
Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We bought 20 acres of farm land in August 2013. Right away we started thinking about the kind of house we want to build. Both my husband and I know that a cookie-cutter home is not what we want. It just doesn’t fit with our personality…
We also kept hearing a little voice whispering to us: build it yourself, you can do it... But to build a house when you have your own young business, three kids under the age of 4, and not one family member within 6000 miles is a completely crazy idea and a disaster waiting to happen. So we ignored it.
We started looking around for something that we both liked. We looked at steel homes, we looked at log homes, we looked into a custom stick built home…. But something was missing.
Aside from the personal connection we were looking for, those homes were all so expansive! We started asking ourselves… Do we really want to pay so much for a house? How many years will it take to pay the mortgage? And when will we have enough saved to start the building process? It almost seemed impossible, and the damn voice will mot go away!
We started looking for ways to build an affordable home. We looked into purchasing a repossessed manufactured home. You can get a 2000sqf home for less than $50,000, and with a bit of fixing they are not bad at all. I thought it will be a good idea. It will allow us to move into the land quickly and it’s cheap, which means we will have money to invest in developing the land because homesteading and farming isn’t cheap, if you know what I mean.
Small gardens can be very productive, however, they need to be carefully planned, because if you messed up in one area there isn’t usually another one available for planting.
I used to flip through seed catalogs for hours, practically drooling. I couldn’t keep myself from ordering seven verities if tomatoes, six verities of cucumbers and four verities of everything else. Then I will convince myself that I can fit everything in my small garden, plant it all, and…. wonder why my garden is’t doing so well.
Here are few things to consider before ordering seeds for a small food garden:
- Start by opening your refrigerator. Don’t start by opening the catalog or visiting the local nursery. First, open your refrigerator and think about your weekly menu. What kind of veggies your family eats the most? What do you like to cook with? Are you eating lots of fresh salads? Do you like a garden kind of salad? With lots of different vegetables, or are you more of a Caesar salad kind of person? The bottom line is, grow what you like to eat. Turnips might be awesome, but if you are not going to eat them, don’t bother growing them.
- Consider the amount of space each plant needs. Your veggies will not grow properly without the right amount of space. Believe me, I’ve tried many tricks, it’s just doesn’t work. Cabbage seeds need to be spaced two feet from each other while carrots only two inches. That means that for every one cabbage, I can grow 12 carrots. If your garden is small, consider growing veggies that don’t need much space like radish, lettuce, carrots, green onions, chard, spinach… and there are many more.