Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Notes: November 11, 2011

1. It was a good week! The asteroid that came closer to us than the moon's orbit missed up -Whew what a relief!!

Read all about it here:

"Near Miss" Asteroid

2. November 8- the first frost of the season… Not enough to take out my tomatoes… but it is a warning… My "Early Girl" tomatoes took a little break for a few weeks in August and September and have now come back into production… I can usually count on them until Thanksgiving. I don’t see any frost damage yet – but the roofs in my neighborhood were frosted with white crystals this morning.

Vegetables growing in raised bed: Kale, Chives

3. On our last visit to Portland I fell in love with the raised garden beds that many gardeners use there. So promptly I came home and built one for winter salads and greens… We have frost in the winter but there are varieties of winter garden plants that can tolerate our conditions.

Vegetables growing in raised bed

My beds are 2 boards high – each board 10 inches. The first bed is about 6 ft long and 5 ft. wide… and I filled it with alternate layers of soil and compost. My daughter-in-law Marila introduced me to the idea of a battery operated electrical timer that guarantees a daily allocation of water.

Varieties of Kale ( Asian and European) and Collards

I use a drip hose and run it for 40 minutes a day. In the bed I grow Manoa lettuce – the finest leaf lettuce I have ever seen, and 3 different varieties of Kale ( Asian and European )…+ chives, and one lone potato plant that is a kind of experiment. Every few days I go out and cut the lettuce plants leaving about 2 inches of growth ( which promptly grows back ) for our salads.

An ancient medieval lettuce: "Forellenschluss"

Never have I been able to grow such wonderful loose leaf salads! The greens are also spactacular – my favorites are Collards, and Italian Kale. Our biggest problem is keeping up with them...

Well the first bed was such a hit I decided to make a second one – even bigger … I had run out of compost by now so I went to a small horse ranch near our house and asked for horse manure to add to my soil. ( I brought home 4 very large bins full ).

Red lettuce

Aged horse manure is a fine compost1 It has a moderate amount of Nitrogen so it can be used without risk of the plants being burned by exposure to excess Nitrogen. In this bed I am experimenting with other varieties of lettuce, Kale and spinach, beets, radishes, onions, and strawberries (for next summer). This is all one big experiment to see what can survive the frost… I’ll report back to you later…

"Manoa" lettuce - our favorite

Does anyone recognize this plant ( below)? It has come up in one of my beds - and I dont know if it is something I planted or not - Does it look familiar to you: I tried eating a small leaf and it is pretty bitter:

Mystery -do you know what this is? is it eatable?

4. I'm pleased to report that there is a new short video put out by " The Story of Stuff" - Take seven minutes out of your life to watch - it will give you perspective to understand what is going on in our nation and world... Plus it will give you hope for where we can go from here....


Mural photos from the walls of James Logan High School, Union City Ca.


5. The True Price of A Plastic Water Bottle:

Judy and I have travelled in countries where we don't dare use tap-water to brush our teeth, let alone drink the water. Taking a shower we have to keep our mouths tightly shut! Here in America we are blessed with tap-water free of contaminants and disease organisms. Even the water we use to flush our toilets has been purified.. Our safe water is thanks to the enforcement of tax supported public health standards in the US.

Dexter Holland

And yet one of the greatest scams of our time is due to the power of advertising and "image making" to convince us that bottled water is somehow "better". The bottled water industry in America is making over $11.7 billion/year.

Carlos Santana
The National Resources Defense Council concluded a four year study on bottled water concluded that bottled water is no safer than tap water, sometimes far from it. More specifically,one third of all 103 water bottles tested, including big-name brands such as Alhambra and Dannon, tested for excessive bacterial and chemical contamination. In the past 18 years, over 100 bottled water recalls have been recorded, due to contamination with benzene, mold, styrene, fecal coliforms, chlorine, and more.

Take Charge of your Life
Bottled water companies are NOT required to test local tap water for Cryptosporidium, Giardia, E. coli, phthalates, arsenic, synthetic organic chemicals, and other contaminants and bacteria.
FDA regulations do not prevent bottling companies from drawing water next to industrial sites or dumps. Several popular brands use filtered tap water for their product! ( read the labels )

Dont be Afraid of a Little Challenge

The plastic bottles themselves are also a danger to our health; the (petroleum-based) chemicals used to make the plastic can leach into the water contained by the bottle. BPA chemicals ( known carcinogens and mutegins ) are frequently found in the water stored in plastic bottles.

Jimi Hendrix
The Pacific Institute reports that producing the bottles for American consumption in 2007 required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation. The bottled water industry produced more than 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.

John Rzeznik

Next time you see a bottle of water - visualize that an amount of petroleum oil equal to about 1/4 the volume of that bottle is required to produce the bottle, process the water, and deliver it to your store.
Take Advantage of Your Strengths and Put Them to Use

Finally, 90% of the 30 billion plastic water bottles that are discarded every year is not recycled. These bottles end up in landfills, backyards and into our open oceans, feeding the garbage patches that threaten our aquatic ecosystems while polluting them with human-made contaminants

Bottled water is about 1000x more expensive than good healthy tap water. (If there is a hint of chemical "flavor" in your tap water - simply use a countertop gravity fed filter...)

For more information go to :

Dare to Dream Big