The scientific name of flax is Linum usitatissimum.

by Farmer Leo

Flax is manly use for oil and linen.

When processing flax for linen there are 2 main steps to take.

First is to ret, retting is when the stalks are gentle rotted to straw from the fibber. There are 3 main way to ret. The first is pond retting, to pond ret the stalks are left in a shallow pond to lightly for a couple of weeks, if the stalks are left in for too long then the fibers will start to rot. Next there is stream retting, to stream ret the stalks are submerged and left to slowly decompose at a controlled rate. Last is field retting, when field retting the stalks are left in the field to gather dew and gently soften for 2 weeks to 2 months.

After retting the flax is dried. It needs to be dressed, to dress flax fibers the stalks are first cracked by being hit traditionally with a board rapidly to break apart the stalk from the fibers. Next the fibers are scrapped from the underneath with a stick or paddle like tool. Then the fibers are heckled by being pulled through a bunch of small spikes to remove the last of the dry stalk from the fibers.

How to grow

Gentle put row into well drained relatively fertile soil. When the ground is first workable in the spring plan the flax seeds. Flax seeds should be planted a table spoon to 10 square feet. After gentle sowing the flax gentle run a rake through the row to cover the seeds with ½ inch of soil. With the mist setting spray the soil until moist, until the seedlings are 3 inches tall keep the soil moist, then slow the watering to once a week and then stop unless there is really hot weather. When the stalks are turning brown then pull up the whole plants and lat them dry until the seed pod are dry then colect the seeds from the heads.

How to cook
Recipe:gluten free flax muffins

1 cup flax meal

1 cup almond flour

1 table spoon baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 ounces melted butter

4 large eggs lightly beaten

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Put 12 paper liners in a muffin tin. Mix flax meal, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl, then add melted butter, sugar, and eggs to mixture and combine well. Fill each cell of the muffin tin 2/3 with batter, then bake them for 20 minutes.

Malabar spinach
by Farmer Leo

The scientific name of malabar spinach is Basella alba.
Malabar spinach is also called vine spinach, red vine spinach, climbing spinach, creeping spinach, buffalo spinach, and ceylon spinach.
Malabar spinach has soft stemmed fast growing vines that reach 30 feet in length.
The soft heart shaped leaves have a mild flavor and are kind and are kind of slime when eaten.
In the Philippians malabar spinach is the main ingredient in a dish called utan, it is onions, garlic, sardines, parsley, and Malabar spinach cooked together and served over rice.

How to grow
Start the seeds inside six weeks before the last frost. You will probable have to buy the seeds online. After the danger of frost is gone plant out in a spot with fertile soil and full sun, you want the soil to stay moist.

by Farmer Leo

The scientific name asparagus is Asparagus officinalis.

Asparagus was at one time classified in the lily family(Liliaceae) with Onions and garlic, but genetic research put lilies, alliums, and asparagus all in different families.

Asparagus grows 40 to 60 inches tall, with feathery needle-like foliage that is actually modified stems.

Some roman philosophers would freeze the shoots high in the alps for the feast of epicurus.

In Germany there are annual asparagus festivals, among the many things they do there is an asparagus peeling championship, the current record holder is a German chef named Helmut Zipner, who peeled 2200 pounds of asparagus in 16 hours.

How to grow
Choose a spot with rich well drained soil and full sun. go to your local nursery and get healthy one year old crowns to plant. dig 12 inch wide 6 inch deep trenches, soak the crowns in manure tea for 20 minutes before planting. Plant 2 feet apart, cover with 3 inches of soil and water regularly. Every two weeks or so add an inch of soil until the soil is about an inch higher than the the surface.

How to cook
Recipe: roasted asparagus

1 pound asparagus

2 table spoons olive oil

Pre-heat the oven to 450. Rinse the asparagus and pat dry with a clean towel. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Roast the asparagus in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, the tips should be lightly browned. Then serve.

Cover crops
by Farmer Leo

What is a cover crop?
A cover crop is something you plant and grow over the winter or on land you are not actively farming but plan to soon.

What does a cover crop do?
A cover crop keeps soil from blowing away and eroding well you are not actively using land. A cover crop also can be used to add nutrients to the soil.

Types of cover crops for different needs

Clover is very good at holding the soil together but it is also a nitrogen fixer so it actually adds nitrogen to the soil.

Buck wheat is not as good at holding the soil together but it does a good job of making large stalks that add organic matter to the soil improving it for whatever you grow in the soil after that but you have to mix the dead stalks into the soil to get the organic matter. Buck wheat also makes wonderful seeds that when ground into a flour make delicious pan cakes.

Millet hold the soil together pretty well but does not make as much organic matter as buck wheat, But it does also make seeds though a little bit bitter the millet seed are very nutritious and filling. Millet is the most drought and cold hardy of the bunch and males the best winter cover crop.

Field peas are not very good at holding the soil together but they fix nitrogen to the soil just like the clover. Field peas make large starchy seeds that can be used to make a porridge, the seeds can be dried to keep all winter.

Turnips are even more cold hardy than the millet and the make large edible roots that make fabulous cow fodder.

There are obviously many more kinds of cover crop but these are the ones I am familiar with.

How to use

Generally cover crops are used to keep weeds down on fallow ground or hold the soil together during the winter. Planting in the early spring for weed suppression and animal fodder gives you the option to let animals eat it, cut it off when it is green in hopes that it will not re-seed and will rot into the soil, or wait until it is mature and harvest seed or roots and let the rest rot into the soil. Planting in fall to hold the soil together gives you the option to let animals eat it over the winter, and let it grow over the winter until spring and harvest for seeds or roots and let rot in to the soil.

by Farmer Leo

The scientific name of tomatillo is Physalis philadelphica.
In the Patagonian region of Argentina a fossilized tomatillo was found and dated back to 52 million years ago.
Tomatillo is also called Husk tomato, Mexican husk tomato, Mexican green tomato, Mexican ground cherry, large flowered tomatillo, and miltomate.

How to grow
Plant in an area with full sun and fertile well drained soil. Plant when from seedling when weather is consistently warmer than 50F. Plant at least 2 plant 3 feet apart and do not let the soil stay dry long. Harvest when husk are full and paper dry.

How to cook
Recipe:green tomatillo chicken posole
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 onion
2 jalapenos
4 cloves garlic
4 cups chiken broth
1 ½ pound tomatilloes
1 bunch cilantro

Peel and chop the onion, put the onion, chicken, and 2 teaspoons oil in a pot ad cook over medium heat. Remove the steams from the peppers and chop them, peel and chop the garlic. Add the garlic and peppers to the onion. Peel and rinse the tomatilloes, then roughly chop them and add to the pot. Stir the pot frequently until tomatilloes are soft about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and 2 cups water, bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil chop the cilantro and add it to the soup. Let cool and serve.