Skip to main content

Sunday Reading, June 12

There's been a bounty of good reading of late, and so this week's round-up of some of my favorites is a bit longer. Gardening, farming, earthquake aftermath, food, and even a little poetry for good measure.

Gardening and Farming
This article from Beginning Farmers (full disclosure: I write for them periodically) offers some good basic information on using canopies/row covers in the garden and on the farm. We use them to great effect on the farm here in Tokyo, too, for everything from pest protection to creating a mini-greenhouse effect that speeds up growth or protects from the chill.

Picked up from the Rodale Institute who picked it up from Kitchen Gardeners International (full disclosure: both organizations I'd LOVE to write for), the graphic shows the White House Garden as it is and what it would look like if it were planted with the agriculturally subsidized crops. Maybe it shows us how much corn and soy we are already eating in our processed food?

Released in May, the USDA's Pesticide Data Report offers comprehensive information about what pesticides show up on what foods and in what percentages. A bit technical, but a good source for data.

An utterly fascinating, disturbing, thought-provoking article about weeds that makes me look at my mint forest and flea bane daisies in a new light. This is the kind of article that changes how you see the world around you.

A powerful, powerful story of a farmer displaced by Fukushima's nuclear disaster and what it means for him, his cattle, and his extended family. I'm afraid I'm tearing up just thinking about it again.

Eating
Tis' the season to harvest and preserve (or just straight up eat!) all the goodies from the farmer's market or local vegetable stand, and this piece from the Sweet Beet busting berry myths will help guide your shopping experience.

Environment
Another article from Good about California's impending ban on styrofoam. About freakin' time.

Not enough? Here's a little more reading...
Summer Tomato, an American blog I sometimes write for, posts a weekly round-up of news, stories, and videos that are well worth perusing.

This month Good is running a 30-day challenge to eat vegetarian, and in support of that they ran this nice little piece to help folks along. Most focus on cooking rather than growing, but it's quite useful to know how to cook up the harvest from the garden or this month's farmers markets! It also includes Pollan's Food Rules, which I'd recommend for anyone at any stage of eating, gardening, or thinking about eating and gardening.

And something completely different...
I loved this poem by April Lindner featured earlier this week on The Writer's Almanac.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro