Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Eco-Friendly Home and Property Ideas for Generating a Second Income from Your SmallRural Property

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

If you own a piece of land in a rural area, it could be earning you a considerable second income that could compete with your normal earnings. In a world where we are truly starting to care for our environment, the value of what you have is increasing. Some people are using eco-friendly technologies, such as eco-friendly canopies and bird netting to grow more crops, while others are earning income from the sun. Here is a look at some eco-friendly income earning options for small rural property owners.

If you live in a rural property, whether you are farming or not, there are some different considerations you will have compared with those living in the city. Many rural properties are more likely to be self-sustaining, and we do see a higher percentage of homes that are off the grid. Even if not on a huge commercial level, getting the most out of your land, with such features as canopies to protect what you grow, even solar farming, could mean you are earning considerable amounts of money from the land you have. If you are not earning, at least you will not be spending. In this article, we look at the ways you can rely less on utilities and make the most out of your property, and possibly earn something while you are at it.

Viburnum Rhytidophyllum

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

The perfoliate honeysuckle is a stem-twining, climbing shrub growing to a height of several metres. The light brown bark on the stem peels off in long, longitudinal strips. The twigs are slender and hollow, the buds opposite, ovate, with pointed tips. The long flowers appear at the end of May and emit a strong fragrance, especially in the evening. The red fruits ripen from August onwards and are soon dispersed by birds. Widespread mostly in southern Europe, it extends north to southern Germany and the warmer regions of Czechoslovakia, growing there at the edges of forests, in thickets and in open broadleaved woods.

It is a popular shrub in parks and gardens, where it is planted as an ornamental climber on archways, fences, pergolas and the walls of buildings.

Not only does it have lovely fragrant blossoms but also attractive red fruits. To bear a profusion of flowers, however, it requires a sunny and warm situation. It is readily propagated by means of seeds as well as by cuttings. It is hardier than the common honeysuckle (L. periclymenum). Crossed with the related species L. etrusca, it yielded the hybrid x L. americana with striking purple flowers.

Pot Marigold Herb

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Borage is an annual herb native to southwestern Europe. Because its blue flowers attract bees it is widely cultivated in bee-keeping regions, especially in England and France, but also in other parts of Europe, where it often becomes naturalized. It grows to a height of 60 cm (2 ft) and the young hairy leaves have a cucumber-like flavour.

Its use as a herb actually came about by fraud, for in the days of the Roman Empire the poor used it in place of the costly saffron, a practice that continues to this day. It deserves to be forgiven, however, for its lovely colouring, called calendulin, is used as colouring matter not only in butter and cheese but also in soups, sauces and pastries.

The ancient Romans prepared mustard from seeds that had first been soaked in water and then crushed and boiled. According to another recipe the seeds were ground and then blended together with honey and oil. Caper is a prickly shrub with long, trailing branches growing on rocks and walls in the warmest regions of Europe and Africa bordering the Mediterranean since time immemorial. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, but both Dioscoricles and Galenos warned against the effects caused by eating the buds. In this they were wrong, however, for the buds are not poisonous and nowadays are used as an excellent flavouring for foods.

Southernwood Herb

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

Southernwood herb is a perennial sub-shrub that was very popular with the herbalists of medieval times.

Southernwood herb burnt to ashes and mixed with oil will promote the growth of hair in persons affected by baldness’ and Hortus sanitatis (meaning Garden of Health) further states that ‘smoke from this plant has a pleasant scent and drives snakes out of the house’.

Southernwood herb is also used as a medicine as well as in cooking ingredients. Southernwood herb is used to this day as a home remedy to aid digestion and as an intestinal antiseptic.

Grated horseradish with cranberries and cream is very good served with game. Pure grated horseradish is excellent with hot sausages and boiled meats in place of mustard. Grated horseradish mixed with whipped cream and grated nuts is delicious with hot or cold ham. It is also used mixed with mustard. Cut in rounds the root is used for pickling gherkins and beetroots to make a tasty relish. Grated horseradish and prepared sauces may be kept in closed containers in the refrigerator for as long as 14 days without spoiling or losing their flavour because of the phytoncidic substances contained in the root.

Common Barberry

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Virgin’s bower is a climbing shrub growing to a height of only 3-4 m. The leaf stalks are twining and support the plant on fences and the stems of other woody plants. The bluish to reddish purple flowers appear in the axils of the leaves on stalks about 10 cm long from June to September. The sepals are petal-like. The seed-like achenes lack the feathery plumes characteristic of other clematis and ripen from August onwards.

The buds, unlike those of other alders, are stalkless, pointed, and coloured greenish brown. The catkins appear together with the leaves in April to May. The cone-like fruit is only 1 cm long and is a paler colour and less woody than that of the common alder. The small-winged fruits are yellow-brown and resemble those of the birch.

Mistletoe is an evergreen shrub with forked branches that is parasitic on trees. The stem is covered with yellow-green bark. The shrub grows to a height of about 50 cm and is almost circular in shape. It establishes itself on the branches of trees, which it penetrates with its roots, thereby obtaining the water and mineral substances it needs for growth.

Onion in Cooking

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Onion cooked in salt water was the chief food of the poorest peoples of central Asia, Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region in days of old. It was also the mainstay of the diet of Egyptian labourers, who built the ancient pyramids in the third millennium B.C.

The outermost skin gives the bulb its colour, which varies, depending on the variety, from silvery white, white to dark brown, red and violet. It also protects the bulb from drying out and therefore should not be removed during storage.

The Welsh onion has a milder flavour than the common onion. Unlike the latter, which is grown as a biennial, it is hardy and perennial. Another advantage is that the small elongated bulbs grow in clusters as part of one single bulb which breaks up into several smaller onions as it grows.

The onion’s metamorphosis from a vegetable into a seasoning is also apparent in recent years by its being available at shops in dried, finely-sliced form. This is used in the same way as fresh onion and is suitable for frying.

Herbs Aroma and Flavor

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Snowberry is a densely branched shrub 1-2 in in height. The twigs are slender, yellow-brown, with small, ovate, opposite buds. The small flowers appear in succession from June to August followed by white berries, which likewise ripen successively from August to October. This shrub is an important source of food for bees, providing them with nourishment in the summer months when most woody plants have already ceased flowering.

Among the latter also belong various aromatic, flavouring or colouring substances which make the spices what they are. These secondary metabolites are very diverse, and often distinguished by a pronounced aroma and flavour as well as important pharmacological properties. That is why many herbs used in cooking are also used in medicine. Typical substances found in herbs are first and foremost essential oils, bitter principles and tannins.

It is planted to form hedges, prevent erosion on steep banks and for its foliage and in non-fertile areas is valued because of its moderate requirements on soil fertility and moisture. It sprouts prolifically from stumps and also produces root suckers freely so that in parks it sometimes spreads to such an extent that it becomes a weed difficult to eradicate. It is readily propagated by means of cuttings and root suckers.


Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Lilac is a large shrub or small tree growing to 6 m. The bark is grey-brown, a height of 2 breaking up into longitudinal strips that peel with age. The shoots are slender, upright and olive green; the ovate birds are covered by several scales. The highly fragrant flowers appear at the beginning of May.

The fruits ripen in September and remain on the bush until the spring of the following year. The capsules contain 2 winged seeds. This is a quick-growing shrub and produces stump and root suckers freely.

It is an important pioneer in the colonizing of logged areas or ones damaged by natural catastrophes. Its seeds are dispersed in such places mostly by birds of the thrush tribe, which are fond of the fruits. It is planted as an ornamental shrub in parks for its attractive flowers and red fruits; however, it requires greater soil moisture in such locations. Propagation is by hardwood cuttings and seeds.

The wayfaring tree is a shrub of upright habit, 1 to 4 m high. One-year shoots are straight, grey-felted, older twigs are yellow-brown. The buds are opposite, naked, white-felted. Leaf buds are the folded felted incipient leaves; flower buds, 2 cm across, are semi-spherical, borne at the tips of the shoots.


Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

The elderberry is a shrub up to 7 m (23 ft high distributed throughout Europe, western Asia and North America. The white flowers, appearing in late spring – early summer, are followed by black fruits (nigra in Latin means black) – three-seeded berries, or rather drupes.

The Romans made a savory sauce rather like we now make mint sauce. Savory is native to the Mediterranean region; in the 9th century A.D. it was introduced to central Europe, where it rapidly became established. It was widely used for seasoning in the days when costly spices imported from the tropics were rare.

In the Middle Ages it was called `Oculus Christi’, meaning the eye of Christ, and was added to vegetables and to meat dishes to give them a subtler taste. The famous French book Le menagier de Paris includes it among the herbs for flavouring vegetable omelettes and in a recipe for a green marinade for preserving fish. The seeds of clary were believed to counter ‘eye weakness’.

How Much Food to Grow in Your Garden

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

If you are starting from scratch you should plan the location of items such as the greenhouse, tool shed, oil tank, coal or log storage, compost and rubbish bins, so that some sort of amalgamation is achieved, rather than an ever increasing number of small structures dotted around the site.

A greenhouse naturally needs full sun, good access to it and preferably a hard surface area around it, as it soon becomes another centre of activity within the garden. if you can combine it with or site it next to the tool shed, or any other necessary small structure, so much the better. When wrongly sited, greenhouses can dominate the whole garden and, despite recent attempts to improve their appearance, they are seldom handsome structures. If the greenhouse cannot be a lean-to or an extension of the house, try to site the freestanding building, running east to west, to one side of the main view.

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