Monthly Archives: June 2011

Ann Arbor Blueberries

Here they are. This is our first harvest of blueberries this year. They came off of two blueberry plants that are yet to be planted.

I live on a street in Ann Arbor called Blueberry Lane. Everyone asks me if there are blueberries lining the streets when I tell them where I live.

Until this year the answer was always no.

My thoughts were toward the black berries bushes that have taken over Oregon. Just about every non-majorly landscape area/streets will have a huge blackberry bush in Portland.

I figured someone should plant some blueberries to make the street name official, so after a really, really late start in the garden because of all of that Spring rain this year (remember that), we decided to get a few blueberry bushes to make up for the lost early Spring harvest.

So far we have enough for about one bowl of cereal.




Inchworm Micrgreens and Pie

Today’s offerings at the Westside Farmers Market today from 3:00-7:00PM are:

Cinnamon Cake: A coffee cake with a cinnamon and sugar swirled inside

Rhubarb Pie: Local rhubarb, all butter crust

Both made with organic sugar, org flour, org eggs, rbgh free butter (tilimook)

Pea Shoots and Sunflower Shoots

Grown in organic soil

Sunflower seeds are organic pea are natural from Johnny Seeds

Pedal Power Kitchen Gadgets: Go Green

OK. I have been kind of obsessed with the idea of bicycle powdered gadgets. These gadgets are not new. Sewing machines are a classic example. I still have a working antique pedal power sewing machine in my house.

With the Going Green trend, I have seen bicycle/pedal  powered kitchen sets with a coffee grinder, immersion blender, and a food processor combo. Below are some videos of gadgets.

Basically any small appliance that’s spins can be  powered by pedaling.

Bicycles can even be set up to a generator/motor and create electricity, but in general using stationary bikes to produce electricity is ineffient.

By contrast, I think that using a riding bike to produce electricity like a cell phone charger like what nokia (Pedal Powered Cell Phone Chargers) just came out with makes sense because of the coast factor when riding on the road.

And for the fact that if you are taking a bike trip anyway, you might as well use that pedal power to charge a cell phone battery.

Pedal powered mechanical devises on the other hand are very sustainable and effient. The Human Powered Home: Choosing Muscle Over Motors takes you through a number of human powered home devises.

I have mentioned a few times on this blog about my goal to have a small hobby farm. One of the ideas with the farm is to have it run with pedal power when possible.

Of course, appliances aside, using pedal power to get around town is a great, go green use of the technology.

Pedal Powered Ice Cream

Pedal Powered Washing Machine

Pedal Powered Grain Mill

Pedal Powered Blender

Pedal Powered Water Filter

Pedal Powered Snow Plow

Pedal Powered Lawn Mover

Potato Gardening: Ann Arbor Project Grow Potato Challenge

Growing Potatoes

The traditional method is to dig a trench and place the seed potato inside and cover it. Then as the potatoes grow, soil is mounded over them.

I have used this method with good results, but the problem is that it is very labor intense (all that digging) and harvesting is a pain because I end up spearing many potatoes with my garden fork and end up not finding them all.

So this year I am trying something new.

The first was the Straw Method:

1) Take your loose soil bed (Top with some compost)
2) Place (or throw) a potato on top of the soil about a foot apart for each other(no digging..yah!!)
3) Cover with soil
4) Cover with a little straw
5) When they grow to about 6-8inch, mound up with more straw
6) Repeat step five until you have a large mold of straw around your potato plant
7) Stopped mounding when the plant flowers

The idea with this method is that the potatoes will grow outward in the loose straw providing a huge crop with ease of harvest (just uncover the straw)

Potato Bag Method

1) Put some compost about 4-6 inch at the bottom of a potato bag. I bought special potato bags, but I think one of those nylon grocery bags would do fine with a few holes cut for drainage in the bottom.
2) Place 3 small seed potatoes in the bag away from each other.
3) Cover with straw once they get 4-6 inches
4) Cover with potting soil when the grow another 4-6 inches for the second mounding
5) Cover with straw then soil until the grow over the top of the bag

Note: You can use other containers like plastic storage tubs, large pots, or wooden crates. Some people use car tires and stack them, but I do not recommend this because I feel tires can be toxic.

With both methods, harvest once the plant dies back.