This is by no means new information but I’ve recently propagated a bazillion sweet potatoes and was blown away by how quickly and easily I was able to get a ton of slips ready for the garden.
I’ve been giving my dog, Sasha, rather elaborate homemade meals for her hip dysplasia. Anything that’s healthy and a natural anti-inflammatory goes into this powerful meal. Fresh catfish nuggets oozing with Omega-3 fish oils, sweet potatoes, phytoplankton (puts the Omega-3s into those fatty fish), glucosamine , and CBD oil to name a few.
As you can imagine, this can all be a bit on the pricey side so I was looking for any way to ease up the pocket book pains a bit. That meant finding a way to get good organic sweet potatoes by growing them at home. So I started with one solitary store-bought organic sweet potato.
If you’re local to the San Diego area, you may have seen this week’s reader with a rather odd cover photo. A beautiful and majestic fuzzy-butted silkie hen that my regular readers have come to love and admire. Alongside some random mustachioed schlubb that as no business being on the front of anything.
as to the former, you are quite welcome. For the latter, my humble apologies, it will all be over in a week’s time so hang in there. If you plan on using it as a liner to your birdcage, or are getting creative with a Sharpie, I’d love to see photos! If you are not one of my local readers, you can see the story on The San Diego Reader’s website.I won’t attempt to re-writing the article here as it is already done by a far better writer than I, but it talks about the neighborhood community garden that I helped set up and all the amazing work they’re doing for the community. Something I’m so proud to have been a part of.
Sharing an idea about my dream chicken coop/run setup for the garden. Photo by Matthew Suárez
hard working gardeners. Photo by Matthew Suárez
The noble plan. Photo by Matthew Suárez
a bountiful masterpiece. Photo by Matthew Suárez
Although I am historically hell-bent on being a giant goofball, there are a few things that I’m serious about. Quality of food is one of them. In this article I talk a lot about this “fast food” society we’re living in and how destructive food deserts are to communities and the health of its populace.
This attention from The San Diego Reader is such a welcome shot in the arm for communities like mine that are surrounded by so many awful food choices. I truly hope that this resonates with everyone so that together we can fight these patterns and continue to find ways to keep our family happy and healthy no matter your income. That’s been my driving force in the last five years of writing Mind Your Dirt. To show that you don’t need to spend money to bring back a natural balance to your surroundings and the food on your table. Mostly because I’m broke as hell and necessity is the mother of invention.
Our community garden not only provides fresh and healthy free produce, it also teaches anyone who visits how to bring these techniques into your home gardens. Between Mind Your Dirt and the Ocean View Growing Grounds (as well as all community gardens), we will always be here to help you keep your family healthy and loaded with nutrients.
So a huge big Thank You to The San Diego Reader, Barbarella Fokos (writer), and Matthew Suárez (photographer) for taking the time to help this noble cause! To everyone else, get busy with that Sharpie!
It is a well known fact to my regular readers that I am annually bombarded with bumper crops of my Niagara grapes. A variety that I was told was actually a concord and didn’t find out otherwise until years later when I finally got it in the ground and it began bearing fruit. Fruit of lies and deception.
And to be completely honest, these grapes taste awful. Not a fan at all. But of the three varieties I have, this one of course is the healthiest and most robust. It has been a burden of mine for years now. Why not remove it you ask? Well, it serves another purpose as well. That of a cheap shaded patio nook to beat the heat of summer as illustrated below…
And it definitely does the job it was intended to do. The only thing is it does so while bearing the most yawn-inducing harvest ever. However, I do enjoy sitting underneath it during those hot days of drought and strife.
This years’ crop is no different. Once again the vines are loaded with juicy berries ripe for the picking.
My new mini coop enjoying the cool shade
The vine wraps around the garage as well as the makeshift patio roof
The weight is substantial with all these grapes
A beefy bunch!
The hens might be the biggest fans of these grapes. And who am I to deprive them of such ample vittles?
My friend Matt (who I’ll be talking about later) and I connected via a Facebook page called San Diego Backyard Fruit Exchange around the time of last years harvest. When researching my Niagara grape vine, he came across the following info: “Vitis labrusca ‘Niagara’ is a cross of the V. labrusca Concord and Cassady cultivars, which are themselves hybrids. Concord is a hybrid of an unknown experimental interspecific V. vinifera and V. labrusca pairing, and Cassady is an unintentional hybrid that has V. labrusca in its genetic makeup”
Over the years I tried making homemade raisins, fresh grape juice as well as popsicles . But nothing would take away the lack-luster flavor of the Niagara. The raisins were the best results I’ve had from this vine and were actually quite tasty. However, the time it takes to process all the grapes to make raisins leaves much to be desired. I most likely will not do that again on account of my general laziness when it comes to repetitive and dull tasks.
The juice was way too tart for my liking and this may be because the skins of the grapes were included in the processing. The popsicles also sat in my freezer just hoping that I would eventually love them. But I abandoned them quickly and refused to make eye contact until I was cleaning the freezer out a year later. I apologized in my own way as I slowly lowered them into a stream of hot water in the kitchen sink while doing my best James Bond villain impersonation.
Grape popsicle: “Do you expect me to talk?”
Evil James: “No grape popsicle, I expect you to die” [screams of melty horror]