Friday, March 13, 2015

Growing Asparagus: Is it worth the time & money

This is the question that I have been pondering today, when thinking about the upcoming garden season this year. I was thinking about trying something different, in addition to the usual crops that I plant every year. First of all, it seems that a lot of people don't like to eat asparagus, for whatever reason, but this stuff tastes great to me! Anyway, a few years ago, I had this same dilemma, but it wasn't about the money or time involved with setting it up, but more about the time it takes to get a good harvest. I move around a lot, it seems, so that is the heart of my quagmire.

Asparagus, when starting from seed, will take about 3 years to produce a decent amount of yield. If you buy 1-year-old crowns, you'll still have to wait a couple growing seasons for steady production. When you buy the expensive 2-year-old roots/crowns, you still won't have very much asparagus during the first growing season when compared to how much money you spent on the plants. Hmm...

If you are at a location that you are at least semi-certain you are going to be at for a while and have the extra room for such things, asparagus seems to be a good choice. Around here, they sell it for nearly 3 dollars a can in the grocery section and I don't even know how high it is in the produce section. People claim that it is so much better fresh, right out of the garden (like most things), but I'm totally satisfied with canned asparagus except for, well, the price. The good thing is, asparagus seems to be fairly easy to grow, going by the last few videos I have watched today.

Oh, I forgot to mention: Once you get your asparagus planted and thriving, you shouldn't have to worry about replanting any time soon. On average, it will keep coming back season after season for 15 to 20 years. I've even read that it can last for 50+ years! However, this means nothing if you move around a lot! This is also the reason why I said if you "have the extra room for such things," because wherever you plant 'em at, you will be dedicating that area just for this particular crop.

I could write a long list of the health benefits along with certain odd qualities that asparagus has, but I'll spare you from the verbiage. I'm just more or less talking to myself on here about whether or not I should try growing this awesome perennial vegetable. From the green varieties to purple and white, you can find it all online. I will at least provide something useful on this post, and add some quality links below...

An easy-to-follow video that shows just how easy it is to grow asparagus, if you have the time and money for it: http://perpendicularity.org/blog/2012/07/30/video-growing-asparagus-is-easy/

Additional reading material about asparagus:
www.nytimes.com/2003/06/01/nyregion/cuttings-why-asparagus-belongs-in-the-flower-bed.html
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asparagus

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Source = Wiki link is already provided above.

---End of Post "Growing Asparagus: Is it worth the time & money?"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dick Proenneke: Alone in the Wilderness

"Alone in the Wilderness" is the story of Dick Proenneke living in Alaska at Twin Lakes. This film shows a man living on pristine land that is unchanged by man, while being alone in a type of wilderness that few people would dare to challenge. Dick selected this type of peaceful setting even though it had brutally cold winters in which provided the serenity of stillness, at times. This DVD is so enjoyable to watch and it has a calming effect to it, if you enjoy this type of stuff. Just to see a person living off the land (for the most part - outside of the occasional delivery of certain products like granulated sugar, etc.) and having to put in all the hard work like cutting all of their wood, building their own cabin, making their own utensils while catching their fish, killing certain wild animals and growing their own food, all while documenting and narrating the chain of events during the process, is truly aesthetically pleasing to watch. For one to achieve such things, not only did a person need to be an excellent craftsman (and a great carpenter he was), but they had to also be very content with one's own thoughts and company...

This was a dream come true and a lifetime challenge for Dick Proenneke, that he ultimately lived out. What was going to be a 1 to 1.5 year project, turned into 30 years of outdoor peacefulness and pleasant, self-fulfilling adventures. He didn't leave the wilderness of Twin Lakes until he was 82 years old! He mentioned that the -40 (Fahrenheit) and -50 degree winters were starting to get hard on his joints. After returning to civilization at age 82, he died 4 years later from a stroke, at age 86.

Although this movie will not be for everyone, since not everybody seems to enjoy nature nowadays, if you are looking for some soothing outdoor explorations in a beautiful Alaskan setting, you'll love this flick! Alone in the Wilderness is the only film that featured Dick Proenneke that I have watched, but they also made a couple more (not including the Part 2, to this one) that was related to this one: "Alaska, Silence and Solitude" and "The Frozen North." The DVD for this show seems to be priced fairly high at the moment, so you may want to watch a short clip on YouTube (it skips around through various parts and leaves out most of the film), to get a better sense of what type of flick this is and/or to see whether or not this style of documentary is for you: www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYJKd0rkKss

Shopping Link: "Click Here for Dick Proenneke DVDs on Amazon"

Image Credit: Fair Use - DVD Cover - Amazon.com

---End of Post "Dick Proenneke: Alone in the Wilderness"

Biostone: Biological Concrete made from sand, bacteria, and urine

Now here is an interesting biological product that could eventually be used to replace standard concrete while lowering our CO2 emissions. Yeah, cement production is not the most environmentally friendly thing in the world, to say the least. Anyway, the product is called "biostone" and it plans on putting your urine to better use; ha! The combination of this biological concrete uses sand, bacteria, and urine.

The procedure for creating this biostone/biological concrete involves filling a mold (that has the desired shape of the product) with sand before pumping a bacteria solution of bascillus pasterurii into the mold. From this point, it will set overnight. On the next day, a solution of urea, calcium chloride and nutrient broth is then pumped into the mold. As was stated on the actual page I just read: "The bacteria uses the urea as energy to absorb the calcium chloride and convert it into calcium carbonate, a cement-like mixture that binds the sand together within the mold." You can read more about this, here: www.gizmag.com/dupe-sand-urine-bacteria-concrete-machine/30804/

One of the YouTube videos is located here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlgDFj0Q7p0

Of course, this particular method would not interest the common consumer nor would they probably like the idea of buying products that are made from urine and bacteria. LOL! On a good note, this is a step in the right direction since the idea behind this biological concrete/biostone can be expanded upon and hopefully be used later on to build houses, etc., and make industrial manufacturing more environmentally friendly and sustainable. I just thought this was an interesting advancement nonetheless and decided to share these tidbits of info today; cheers!

Image Credit: My own photo of a nearby rocky terrain.

---End of Post "Biostone: Biological Concrete made from sand, bacteria, and urine"

PolyGenomX: Using Epigenetics and Polyploids to grow more efficient Trees and Plants

PolyGenomX (PGX) is a research & development company that deals with plant-based biotechnology. They specialize in epigenetics and polyploidy. The term 'polygenomics' spawns from the practice that involves the deliberate creation of polyploids. I'll briefly explain polyploids in a moment, but first... Before anybody gets their panties in a wad, PolyGenomX does not involve itself with the creation of GMOs.

This technology could greatly enhance our biodiversity and could even help give the future of this humanoid race, some much needed hope. With a world population that is increasing at an alarming rate, we obviously need to make further advancements since many of us are giving up on the day that doesn't involve Big Oil domination and crude methods of energy. Since we can't stop The Powers That Be, maybe more folks will work around them like the ones over at PolyGenomX. Anyway, epigenetics is a term that can be used to describe anything other than the DNA sequence that influences the development of an organism. If you'd like to read about this particular field of study, go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

Polyploids are especially common in plants. It involves a stress response that helps, in this case, a plant or tree evolve/adapt to its changing surroundings/environment that would, in turn, make it stronger and more capable of surviving. They call this a "polyploid event," and the main part of PolyGenomX consists of them trying to invoke a polyploid event in these modified trees and plants. This, when done correctly, will enhance the yield, shorten the breeding time, enhance the growth, allow poor growing areas to thrive with green life, prevent certain plant diseases and overall just make the trees and plants way more efficient. For example, with this technology, a 4-year-old tree would have the growth of a 10-year-old tree.

If you'd like to read more about polyploids, go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyploidy

If you'd like to read more about PolyGenomX, go here: www.polygenomx.com

If you are actually interested in this subject about using epigenetics and polyploids to grow better plants and trees, watching this 16 minute video may be of great interest: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N0SKREl2uE

---End of Post "PolyGenomX: Using Epigenetics and Polyploids to grow more efficient Trees and Plants"

Are all amphibians poisonous to some degree?

While checking out various types of venomous creatures vs. poisonous ones, I ran across a statement that said "all amphibians are poisonous" - to some degree. Now, is this true or not? I haven't found definitive proof of this yet, but it does seem that most of them have poison glands in their skin albeit a lot of them are so weak, they wouldn't have any effect on humans. I think that is what makes this hard to believe. Basically, all frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, etc., are poisonous, technically.

I find this to be interesting, in a weird sort of way. I mean, personally, when I see stuff like toads, frogs, salamanders and newts, I don't usually think "it's dinner time!" LOL! Although snakes, lizards and turtles are reptiles and are not amphibians, I feel the same way about them, too. But back to the primary subject, are all amphibians poisonous? I know that all frogs suppose to be because of their skin, which is why you often hear how you should wash your hands immediately after touching a frog. Just think about the ones that chop frog legs for a living? Wait a minute, they probably wear gloves.

Well, if all the frogs are poisonous to some degree, why not all the toads? Yeah, the toads definitely look like they are! Many of those brightly colored salamanders actually look poisonous without even having to know this, and the newts are not much different. Hmm, maybe that is why I've seen my cats throw up before, shortly after eating them. Or was that a lizard? Hmm... Anyway, I just thought I'd bring this up, in case some of y'all have never thought about it before. I know that it's a good thing it is usually just the skin that is poisonous and the actual flesh/meat of a bullfrog and other large types of frogs (for example) are not poisonous, or else a lot of people would be sick from eating them; ha!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Source is found here: http://exotic-life-creatures.blogspot.com/2015/01/red-salamander-lungless-tritons.html

---End of Post "Are all amphibians poisonous to some degree?"

Expensive Compost Bins are not necessary


For the ones that use compost or have at least thought about it, you probably know what I mean when I say "expensive compost bins." Good grief, some of these things are outrageous in price. Out of curiosity, I was just checking Amazon.com and seen a lot of them listed from 100 to 200 dollars, and some of these bins were even in the 300 to 400 dollar price range! I'd build my own before buying those. Plus, I don't think they are necessary anyway. To me, at least, compost bins are more of a convenience than a requirement. Sure, these expensive contraptions help churn, turn, stir, air out, mix, etc., but so does a pitchfork; ha!

Anyway, I use various types of organic soil amendments for my garden every year, but I've never did the compost pile thingy. During the non-growing season I'll periodically dump a lot of used tea bags, vegetable waste, etc., on top of my garden area. Of course, if you have a commercial lot or a giant corn field, for example, this will not be sufficient; ha! However, if you are only growing enough food for a single family, it is very easy to accumulate enough organic material during the fall, winter, and early spring, for your small to medium-sized garden.

Another method is to simply save a lot of the waste in buckets, dump the smelly stuff out in early spring, and till/plow the waste into your soil a month or so beforehand. At any cultivating rate, I'm going to try the compost pile thing for the next couple of months, just to see how it smells, oops, I mean goes. If you want to reduce the odors, adding more brown matter than the green matter to your pile at a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1 will help a lot. Brown matter is stuff like dried leaves, dried grass trimmings, etc. Think 'dead' for brown, and fresh produce trimmings and fresh manure for green, etc.

Well, anyway, I'm going to modify some extra large plastic containers for the compost bins, and manually stir the crap as it rots. One must remember, compost is just decomposed organic matter. This ain't rocket science, as they say. I also like to spread a fair amount of wood ashes over my growing area once a year, as a soil amendment. Wood ashes will raise the pH a bit if you overdo it, so only use 'em in moderation.

Image Credit: Fair Use - Product Image - Amazon.com


Related Post: http://perpendicularity.org/blog/2010/05/03/organic-fertilizer-natural-ways-to-fertilize-your-garden/

---End of Post "Expensive Compost Bins are not necessary"

How to Freeze Summer Squash for Frying Purposes

When freezing produce, a lot of folks think you just "throw it in a bag" and simply freeze the stuff. While true for some things, like corn on the cob, for example, it doesn't always work out for other items that may be in your garden. I selected summer squash for this post because not everybody uses it for healthy stews and various recipes, as some of us like to bread and fry it!

When you freeze summer squash, whether you blanch it first or not, it will thaw out in a soggy condition. This mushy stuff will usually not be something that will bread and fry very effectively, and you may end up with a scrambled mess, to say the least. However, there is a way to freeze your squash for frying purposes, as I found this out by way of trial & error.

Please note: This method takes a bit of time and space, so you can only prepare so much at one time, in most cases. First, you slice your extra squash into your desired degree of thickness for frying. From there, you bread it (I use yellow corn meal and additional seasonings) as if you were about to fry 'em up. Now, take a couple cookie sheets out (or whatever works) and place every single slice of squash on the pans or however many you can fit on there. Make sure that none of the squash touches each other and quickly put them into your freezer. When they are completely frozen, you can now put 'em all into freezer bags.

Since each slice froze individually, they will not stick together in the freezer. Plus, they are already breaded for frying purposes. Now, instead of worrying about them being too mushy to fry, you can drop them into some hot oil later on while they are still frozen because you don't have to wait until they thaw out to separate them for the breading process. You see how easy this is? Hey, it works for me! Cheers!

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Source = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_squash

---End of Post "How to Freeze Summer Squash for Frying Purposes"

World's Oldest Trees

First of all, the tree shown on this post is not the world's oldest tree. It is really old, though. Yeah, like 3,200 years worth of old! I decided to go with this image because, to me, the giant sequoia trees are the most prehistoric/ancient looking. In fact, giant sequoias are the world's largest single trees by volume. These magnificent trees grow to an average height of 164 to 279 feet with a freakin' diameter of 20 to 26 feet! Of course, they can get much larger, but that is on average, if that tells ya anything.

Anyway, when it comes to determining the world's oldest trees, some of the answers seem to vary. Personally, I don't really count the clonal trees that constantly grow new trees from the same root structure albeit some folks really get off on such things. It is like, "Hey, look at that 9,550-year-old Norway spruce tree! Well, the tree isn't that old but some of the root structure may be." Say what? Yeah, they can produce exact copies, or clones, if you will...

Then, there are the ones with "estimated years of existence" and so on. I thought they were all estimates, in a way. I mean, it is not like we was actually there to see 'em back then, but there is some varying criteria used and a variety of sources, estimations, tree-ring counts, and whatnot involved.

Not too long ago, the Methuselah was considered the oldest non-clonal tree in the world, at 4,841 to 4,845 years old (don't ask why two different sources reported 2 different ages). The oldest individual tree (non-clonal) I recently read about was 5,063 years old and is located in White Mountains, California. However, I still like the giant sequoias the best and I will always favor them when it comes to the antiquity of trees; cheers!

Related Links to further your reading:
* en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_trees
* www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/photos/the-worlds-10-oldest-living-trees/methuselah

Image Credit: This work has been released into the Public Domain by its author at the English Wikipedia project.

---End of Post "World's Oldest Trees"

Growing Peas and Beans without a Trellis, Lattices, Cages or Poles

Okay, this title may be a bit misleading, but it's in the ballpark. Instead of the common how-to advice about how to grow certain types of beans and peas while using latticework (lattices), a trellis, poles, cages, etc., I'm simply going to highlight a couple types of plants that doesn't require them. Yeah, I'm not going to talk about how to grow 'em, since the growing part is strictly your problem (or joy) to begin with; ha!

Anyway, I always exclude peas and beans from my garden for some strange reason, but mainly because I don't want to deal with all the extra poles, cages or lattices. I don't know why I've never checked on the other varieties of peas and beans that doesn't require such things. Hell, many of these plants grow like a bush anyway and never need a trellis system while growing. So, while pondering over what type of new plants I'll be adding to the garden (outside of the ones I grow every year), I found a couple that sounded great. They are the Sugar Ann Sweet Peas and the Early Contender Bush Beans, as depicted above.

The Sugar Ann Sweet Peas only reach an average height of 18 to 24 inches, are completely stringless, and produces quite a bit earlier than the standard snap peas. They have an estimated harvest date of 56 days! This sounds like a good option, unless there are some hidden surprises in store like poor quality or not very disease resistant, etc., but I'll find out in a few months.

The other one shown here is the Early Contender Bush Beans. They have an average height of 12 to 20 inches, are stringless, and produce really early. They have an estimated harvest date of 49 days! Another good thing about this variety is that they are really hardy, disease resistant, and can withstand a lot of heat.

So as you can see, when it comes to growing beans and peas without all the poles, cages, lattices, and trellis work being involved, there is no how-to advice necessary. Just pick out the right seeds; cheers!

Image Credit: Fair Use - Product Images modified by my MS Paint - Source = www.gurneys.com

---End of Post "Growing Peas and Beans without a Trellis, Lattices, Cages or Poles"

Grow Strawberries in a Pyramid Bed

I've always wanted to grow strawberries for the fun of it (well, to eat, too) to compliment my vegetable garden, etc., but so far I'm yet to give it a try. However, I was just reading about growing 'em in a pyramid bed, like the one shown here. Is that cool or what? You can also buy these pyramidal beds with a sprinkler system for a few extra dollars. Well, this particular model seems to always come with a sprinkler. Like most things, prices seem to vary albeit I have seen them priced as high as 60 dollars online. The old catalog I have lying around the house has them listed for 40 bucks, but the catalog is 5 years old. Oops!

Anyway, this aluminum pyramid bed would be excellent for your strawberries (or whatever you want to plant) and it will roughly hold 50 plants in a circle that is 6 feet across. The sprinkler that is placed on the top level will water the entire bed. I may give it a try this year, but it would be better/cheaper if I built my own pyramid bed and watered them myself; cheers!

Shopping Link: "Search for Pyramid Bed Gardens via Amazon!"

Image Credit: Fair Use - Product Image - henryfields.com - This image can be found on various catalogs and websites.

---End of Post "Grow Strawberries in a Pyramid Bed"


*Update: 3/24/16 - Well, I finally ordered some strawberries online this year. I decided to get them online from a certain website (Gurneys.com) because they had some interesting and somewhat unique types of strawberry plants for sale this year. They called them Whopper Strawberries and they claim that they can reach the size of peaches!  Hell, yeah... So anyway, I ordered like 40 plants for 20 bucks (plus tax and shipping and handling, of course).  Unlike the title of this little low-traffic blog post, I decided to not grow my strawberries in a Pyramid Bed.  I mean, it sounds like a neat idea, but I would rather not invest that much money in a crop I have never grown before.  Plus, it is much more fun being able to spread your fruit plants out in random places throughout your lot/yard, etc.


Side note:  If you use the Amazon link above, you might have better luck typing in 'strawberry pots' or 'strawberry planters' into the search bar once you get there, as there are currently better options from those particular search results as opposed to the one I originally provided within the link above; cheers!

Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees

After browsing through a catalog and checking online, I stumbled upon a type of container plant that I've never tried growing before . . . Dwarf fruit trees! At first, it sounds really cool, but depending on where you live, it may not be worth the time or money. I say that mainly because a lot of these dwarf fruit trees do best in the growing Zones 9 - 10, which is damn-near a tropical climate with extremely mild winters.

Where I'm from, we have both really hot summers and can also have really cold winters. Yeah, it ain't the tropics, to say the least. Of course, you could bring your dwarf fruit trees inside, but being in a low light environment for several months is bound to delay the fruit production/ripening process along with being somewhat of a strain on these lovely trees. Now, if I had a sunroom or a patio enclosure, these dwarf fruit trees would be an excellent idea!

I checked www.gurneys.com and they had several varieties of fruit trees that were dwarfs and suitable for large container growing. They had a dwarf fig, pomegranate, meyer lemon, venous orange, key lime, and even a dwarf banana tree. Speaking of the dwarf bananas, they wasn't kidding. It produces little 4 inch bananas. Ah, how cute... LOL!

Anyway, I just posted about these in case some of y'all have a sunroom/patio/whatever or live in a climate that is perfect for growing this type of mini-tree. If I lived in the right area, I would definitely consider this. I suppose I could have wrote more about growing these plants, but you'll just have to go online and search for how-to advice, if you require such things; ha! Most of these trees sold for under 15 dollars, but the dwarf banana was about 20 bucks, the last time I checked; cheers!

Shopping Link: "Click Here for Dwarf Fruit Trees via Amazon"

Image Credit: Fair Use - Product Image - I combined 4 fruit trees from gurneys.com to create one photo.

---End of Post "Growing Dwarf Fruit Trees"

Glowing Plants and Glow-in-the-dark Trees

This is such a cool subject. I've had plenty of disagreements with certain aspects of genetic engineering over the years, but this one sounds innovative in a good way. One of their campaign slogans from the research group is "use trees to light our streets instead of electric street lamps." However, this isn't exactly a new idea. During the '80s, a group of scientists used firefly genes with tobacco plants to genetically engineer glow-in-the-dark plants.

Of course, trees take a long time to grow, which makes the idea of replacing street lights with glowing trees a bit futuristic, to say the least. They'll need lots of funds to get the ball rolling, too. Their "Glowing Plant Project" video was their initial fundraiser, found here: www.kickstarter.com/projects/antonyevans/glowing-plants-natural-lighting-with-no-electricit

It appears that they have raised more than enough money to get this thing started, going by the figures found on their video page. Even if the trees weren't very successful, the smaller plants could still replace nightlights, I suppose. Well, instead of reading about what I think of this nifty project, if interested, read more about it, here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/creating-a-new-kind-of-night-light-glow-in-the-dark-trees-9600277/

Image Credit: Already provided within the post.

---End of Post "Glowing Plants and Glow-in-the-dark Trees"

Monday, March 2, 2015

Building Cob Houses

This is an interesting but ancient subject. Well, I say that because "Cob" is an ancient building material that was most likely used way back during the prehistoric times. Cob, sometimes spelled "Cobb," is all-natural and consists of sand, clay, earth, straw, and water. It is very much like another primitive building material they call "adobe." If you'd rather read about adobe, go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe

I got reminded of this style of building a couple years ago, when a co-worker requested 3 weeks off from work, to go to these types of workshops that demonstrated and/or taught this particular building technique. However, the guy also signed up for a "rain harvesting" class, which me and another guy made fun of him for that. Ha-ha! Who needs to take a class on how to collect rainwater? LOL! Anyway, there wasn't enough idiots to sign up for the rain harvesting class but the cob building workshop most likely had a lot of participants.

Anyway, a short while after that, it got me to searching about old cob buildings/cobb houses. I found them to be quite interesting and unique in their own little archaic way. I like the idea of living off the land without the use of synthetics and fabricated material. At any primitive rate, I included a sample image for this post, in case you have never seen a cob building before. Would I like to learn how? Would I build my home out of this stuff? Uh, uh... Probably not, if I don't have to. I'm spoiled by modern houses, I guess... Either way, when I was a kid, I always enjoyed playing in the dirt, rocks and mud; cheers!

If you'd like to read more about this subject, go here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cob_(material)

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Source is provided in the link above.

---End of Post "Building Cob Houses"

Is growing Bonsai trees difficult, easy or just different?

I've grown several different types of plants over the years, ranging from common house plants to exotic cacti. However, my favorite plants to grow are the ones that provide me with food, like garden plants, but that is still a few months away for me. Anyway, I stumbled upon a mini Bonsai kit for sale, and it came with a low price tag and a 32-page Bonsai booklet. I'm not sure if I'll tackle that project, as I was initially thinking it would be a waste of money.

I mean, if anybody knows, is growing Bonsai trees easy, difficult or just plain different? My first thoughts were that it was just a slow growing tree people prune for artistic reasons, but this mini growing kit was promoting this like it was some indoor decoration for your home or place of work. I was like, WTF? I don't know of any trees that grow well indoors unless you have a sun room or massive amounts of artificial lighting that mimics UV rays, like growing lamps.

Well, after reading a bit more online, I've nearly lost interest in this subject. Wikipedia's entry looked more like a novel that just complicated the matter even further (Geez, I'd hate to see Wikipedia try to explain simple tomato plants; ha-ha!). There was another website that had a bit more common sense and a realistic approach toward the topic, but it basically said that it can be difficult, easy, and different. Well, thanks for the info! LOL!

Either way, if one has the patience, time and knowledge, this artistic style of growing small trees in relatively tiny containers, may be a cool hobby. Is it for me? Uh, probably not... I'll just wait for the glow-in-the-dark models to come out before I buy any of them; ha!

Shopping Link: "Click Here for Bonsai Kits via Amazon"

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons - Source = en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai

---End of Post "Is growing Bonsai trees difficult, easy or just different?"

Butter Beans vs. Lima Beans

I'm actually slightly surprised at the confusion a lot of people have when concerning butter beans and lima beans. Some of this may be the fact that "butter beans" is a name that is more often used in the southern regions of the U.S. for another variety of lima beans, but either way, there are two common varieties of lima beans, which I will briefly explain in a moment. The other thing I was surprised about (although I shouldn't be), is the amount of incorrect data and misinformation I found on the Internet while searching for some free-to-use images. There really are people out there that need to be removed from certain how-to/informational websites. Where do these people come from? 2nd grade? Anyway, I'm not getting into all the baloney I just read from a couple different websites, as they obviously don't know a bean from beano. LOL!

Okay, like I mentioned before, there are 2 common varieties of lima beans. One is the Baby Lima and the other is the Fordhook Lima. The baby limas are smaller, light green in color, and they don't have a very strong flavor. The Fordhook limas (what many of us call Butter Beans) are similar to white beans in color, much larger, and have a more flavorful, stronger taste than the little green baby lima beans. This doesn't mean the baby limas are really baby butter beans, as they are 2 totally different beans!

The first image on this post shows the Butter Beans (Fordhook) and the second image shows the baby limas (click to enlarge). See, it's as simple as that! Why some people confuse the two and write about them online in an incorrect fashion while proclaiming to be a bean expert or something, sure 'beans' the heck out of me... Ha-ha!

Image Credit: Bing Image Search using the 'free to use & share' function...

---End of Post "Butter Beans vs. Lima Beans"

Heirloom Paul Robeson Tomato

I've grown several different types of tomatoes over the years, but until today, I never even heard of a "Paul Robeson Tomato" before. This is a Russian heirloom tomato that is named after an equal rights advocate, Paul Robeson. I don't know anything about the guy or why they named this veggie/fruit after him, but I'm curious about growing some of these regardless. What got my attention, was when I seen some new seeds listed on a seed & nursery company's website. Well, this is what all the hoopla & ballyhoo was about. LOL!

After I read that it has a smoky flavor with a well-balanced acid/sweet taste, I really became interested in this Russian heirloom. They say the Paul Robeson tomato has such an amazing flavor that the true tomato connoisseurs out there can't get enough of 'em. Wait a minute... A tomato connoisseur? You have got to be kidding me; ha-ha! Anyway, its surface has a brick-red to black color when ripe, which also adds to the unique properties it has. After checking around the Internet, I noticed that a lot of seed/garden websites have these. Even Amazon.com has Paul Robeson tomato seeds, so maybe they are not as rare as I initially thought.

Shopping Link: "Click Here for Tomato Seeds via Amazon"

Image Credit: Fair Use - Product Image - Amazon.com

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Oceanic Whirlpools & Gigantic Maelstroms in the Atlantic Ocean

Thanks to satellite technology and the internet to propagate upon, we now have a lot of extra things to ponder over. Next up on the list of things that involves a mulling madness of a Mother Nature malefactor, is the oceanic whirlpools & gigantic maelstroms that have been spotted in the Atlantic Ocean. Hell, don't take my word for it or the pretty picture depicted on this post, just simply go here to read more about it: uk.news.yahoo.com/satellites-glimpse-ultra-powerful-“black-hole”-whirlpools-in-atlantic-151036336.html#Zq33ckB

I think this is a totally cool subject, don't get me wrong, but I really do wish they would drop that whole "black hole" stuff. There is no freaking hole about it, nor is there a hole involved with the common "black holes" they often speak about while using cosmic terminology. Now, talking about a wormhole is an entirely different subject nonetheless, but we won't cover that today as it would be extremely unrelated to this particular topic.

At any rate of water-based whirlpools and oceanic maelstroms, the Atlantic Ocean can also be a very violent place. The Pacific Ocean is even more vast and gigantic, but honestly, I'm scared of all of them. Some aliens are more geared for aquatic activity, while some of us are not. I'm not. I've never liked deep water, and never will until I get my gill implants; ha!

Anyway, this oceanic vortex concept is simply amazing in a bad way, when concerning all the creatures that love to frequently go out into the deep blue oceans. I wonder if the infamous Bermuda Triangle has one of these thingies going on, too? Yeah, that would explain a lot, eh? There have been many stories told about such things in the past, but now the proof is here for all to see. In fact, one of the better comments on the page I linked to above, was: "for hundreds of years sailors have been reporting giant maelstroms and freak waves in our oceans, but these were taken as exaggeration. Now proof exists, and all of those sailors' yarns are vindicated. Perhaps we should look more closely at tales of sea monsters."

Well, it is fairly obvious that the majority of this planet is definitely water, and that we only know so much about our land situations and the creatures found therein, so to say that all of those ancient sea stories are not true would definitely be a ludicrous assumption, in my opinion.

Image Credit: Is already provided on this post, and is shared amid multiple websites. Some of the related images on the web involved NASA and Satellite technology, etc., and they are not under copyright protection.

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