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Going Native - for saving money

Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
Or, if you prefer, when in Rome, do as the Romans.

One thing I have been learning is to grow what the locals do, more than what I am used to from the North. In the North, we grew things like peas, root crops, cole crops, tomatoes, etc. Hard to grow was peppers, okra, melons, and anything that took 100 days or more to mature. Zuccinis were a plaque they grew so well and produced so much.

Here, peppers, okra, melons, mustard greens, carrots, onions, chayote, passion fruits, bananas, plantains, pineapple, figs, mangos, tropical spinach, squash (like hubbard), all so easy it is scary. But, zuccini dies lol. Tomatoes, only cherry ones are easy. Cabbage isn't too hard, brocolli surprisingly enough, pretty easy. Lettuce, a bit difficult. Cukes, not too hard, either. Potatoes, not going to happen here (too low). Yucca, incredibly easy. Papa chinas, naturalized - and taste better than potatoes to me.

To lower cost, and frustration, we have been changing our diet to adjust to what is easy to grow.

And you have never had a pineapple till you have had an organic one, straight from the garden, fully matured!

I guess what I am saying is that one way to save a lot of money is eat what is easy to grow, instead of driving yourself to distraction trying to grow things that are difficult.


Sustainable Plantations and Agroforestry in Costa Rica
kent smith


Joined: Sep 05, 2010
Posts: 211
Location: Pennsylvania
My only addition is that I am surprised at how many old traditional garden crops have not been continued around here. Even the Amish have become mainstreamed in what is grown in their gardens. We are finding more diversity in what we want to include. I have to believe that there were some good reasons that some plants flourished in gardens and diets a hundred years ago that we do not see as much on now.
kent

Kent
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
Another thing, sometimes the local crops help in ways you might not realize. For example, this year my wife had kidney stones. Seems they can be common in our area. Well, chayote, and common vegetable here, is very good at dissolving kidney stones. Guess we need to grow it, and eat it.

Moody Vaden


Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 52
Location: Maryland
One thing I have noticed with saving seed is that over the years, the seed seems to become more acclimated to my region. I can buy an open pollinated variety from Washington state, for example, and the first year may be so so. I save the best seed and the following year, some of the problems seem to go away. Each and every year following, I get less disease, more abundance, etc... I've often wondered how many years it takes for a plant to become "native" once introduced to a specific region.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Fred Morgan wrote:Yucca, incredibly easy. Papa chinas, naturalized - and taste better than potatoes to me.


Folks should know it's not the same "yucca" as we have here in the US, which is mostly not edible (flower stalks, flowers and fruits of some species MAY be edible). Yuca is a different plant, also known as cassava and manioc Manihot esculenta: http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--35498/yuca-root.asp

Are "papas chinas" hardy yam Dioscorea batatas?

Unfortunately, common names generally make identifying a plant difficult. It's helpful to learn the Latin name, and use it when possible.


Idle dreamer

Denise Lehtinen


Joined: Sep 10, 2011
Posts: 100
Location: Tampa, Florida zone 9A
    
    1
I have been using the same philosophy... adopting plants that grow well here (in Florida) and adjust my diet to them rather than the other way around.

Many of the plants that you've mentioned do very well here and share the frustration of not being able to identify "Papas Chinas" -- as tropical tubers are particularly well suited to survive our occasional freeze.

We also have similar difficulties with potatoes and tomatoes as you mention. (Neither will take a frost and neither do well with our heat/insects.)
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 266
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
That's good advice, as long as we determine what thrives from personal experience. Too many times the conventional wisdom of "that won't grow here" is flawed. I say try everything and go from there. It's amazing how negative people can be when they think they know what they're talking about. Sepp Holzer comes to mind as an excellent example of someone who refused to believe "authorities" when they tried to discourage him from innovating. But once it is determined that a particular crop is truly marginal, it would be wise to move on.


Vic Johanson

"I must Create a System, or be enslaved by another Man's"--William Blake
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
H Ludi Tyler wrote:

Folks should know it's not the same "yucca" as we have here in the US, which is mostly not edible (flower stalks, flowers and fruits of some species MAY be edible). Yuca is a different plant, also known as cassava and manioc Manihot esculenta: http://www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--35498/yuca-root.asp

Are "papas chinas" hardy yam Dioscorea batatas?

Unfortunately, common names generally make identifying a plant difficult. It's helpful to learn the Latin name, and use it when possible.



Yes, Yucca is cassava and papa chinas are Dioscorea trifida. Easiest way to "translate" my names by the way is to put in Costa Rica and the common name. It will come right up, and you should be able to see the scientific name.

I only know latin names for trees. lol
Victor Johanson


Joined: Oct 18, 2011
Posts: 266
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
    
  10
But the correct common name for cassava us yuca, not yucca.
Fred Morgan
steward

Joined: Sep 29, 2009
Posts: 972
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
    
  12
Victor Johanson wrote:But the correct common name for cassava us yuca, not yucca.


Costa Ricans can't spell - trust me on this. Yes, it would be Yuca most likely.

Oh, and if anyone picks on my spelling, grammar, etc, I am going to unleash my wife on you - who is an editor. :o

You only think you write well. lol

I speak three languages, and they are always at war in my head. That is not include 20+ computer languages.

As I say, I can now confuse people in three languages. :)
 
 
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