I'll add a bit of tea tree oil too after it's done. It's far from 'ideal' and I think the herb growth is so fresh they won't have the potency of later in the season, but it's what I have growing this early, and I have a ton of little infected or red spots I'd like to try something on.
I wanted to use dandelion since my calendula is a long way from blooming, and I had to wait a bit for it to bloom again. Who would have thought I'd be desperate for dandelions?! Both the dandelion and pineapple weed are supposed to be 'soothing', the others are supposed to be antibacterial, antiviral, and/or antifungal.
Will try to update and say if it's effective! And likely make a supply of some with the herbs people recommended, later in the season, when things are more mature and begin blooming.
Jim - interesting! I've never seen jewelweed growing here, but yarrow and plantain definitely do. Do you use yarrow leaves or flowers?
Joylynn - I'm surprised that you can't grow calendula, I think of it as an easy grower! Truly shows that gardening is regional. Good point about simple sometimes being best. I suppose I should try a few different combinations to see if complicated actually is worthwhile.
So that's 3 votes for plantain. I just weeded out a bunch of that yesterday. Oh well, there are always more weeds! And two votes for mullein which I haven't seen yet this year, but definitely can find.
What do people tend to use for infection? I'm immunocompromised, and get a fair number of opportunistic weird rashes, infections, fungal things, cold sores, etc. What I liked about the salve I used before is that it seemed to kick minor skin infections. And also that, being infused, it didn't seem to be as overwhelming as some of the essential oil based things I've tried.
In my garden I have echinacea, rudbeckia, basil, Tulsi, marjoram, thyme, sage, lavender, mint, bee balm, lemon balm, chamomile, calendula, roses. Probably more that I don't know have medical uses. And plenty of weeds!
I've never made what I'm asking about, but I do make salves.
Heather has better instructions than me about infusing herbs, as I usually just make plain salves and am only now experimenting with herbs, but I thought I'd share my method for the actual salve making.
Plain salves are awesome for dry skin, lips, and dog paws.
My basic salve recipe is 350mL oil to 75 g beeswax. You may want to adjust the beeswax for a softer or harder salve. If not using coconut oil, probably increase the beeswax a bit. I use beeswax blocks so measure by weight. For oils -i'd avoid cheap vegetable oils. I use coconut oil, almond kernel oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, olive oil, etc, and find I prefer salves with a mixture of 2-3 oils. I suspect good quality lard or tallow would work very well, but have never tried it as I don't have a good source.
I make an improvised double boiler for making my salves as I don't trust myself to slowly heat oil and wax on a stove top.
I set a large pot of water to boiling, and put my ingredients in a pyrex glass measuring cup with a handle.
I suspend the measuring cup by the handle on the side of the pot, adding water to get it to be about 1/3 of the way up the side of the cup. I simmer the water until the beeswax melts, and give a quick stir once melted, then pour into glass jars.
Cleanup is a pain - I wipe with paper towels to get rid of the worst of it, and use hot or boiling water to get rid of the wax residue.
Years ago, I used to buy a locally made product called 'strong salve'. It was very pricey, but amazingly effective.
It was a salve made with herb-infused oil and beeswax and was miraculous for how it treated acne, burns, small cuts, eczema, etc. Even slow healing cold stores. If I had a cut or skin blemish that wouldn't heal, I turned to this salve.
I recall it included lots of calendula (and left a yellow tinge on the skin), and possibly lavender, but there was a long list of herbs included. I think tea tree oil was part of it. It had a strong, complex smell and taste but if I recall, was pretty much infused herbs only, no essential oils other than the tea tree oil.
If you were to make a 'strong salve', what herbs would you include?
Usually worms only try to flee the bin if they are unhappy - for me, it usually is a sign the bin is too wet. I would open up the lid and leave it off, and maybe add more bedding material. Worms don't like light so that will help keep them in the bin for now and speed up the drying out. A second bin night be a good idea if you have a lot of food scraps, more than a single bin can handle.
There are many ways to seperate worms from the castings. I often start a new bin with half of the material in my original bin, then let the remaining half sit for a month or two while the worms finish digesting everything. Then I use it on my garden. You end up with a lot of worms in the finished compost, but I think they are helpful in my heavily mulched outdoor beds too.
As an innocent European I thought the topic was only about pretty edibles and not ones you could sneak into your flowerbeds because where I live there is no need to sneak anything anywhere. Of course I get that you might want to mix something unexpected into your ornamentals ;-)
Apart from the edible flowers mentioned already I think most of my vegetables are beautiful - as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder I just have to think how good they will taste and they instantly become very attractive to me!
This question is a mix of things, thankfully HOAs are very rare here in Canada, and a piece of land being in a restrictive covenant reduces it's price, and properties sit on the market forever even in a hot market - no Canadian wants our neighbours to tell us what to do! Zoning bylaws are bad enough, thank you very much! But I know many Americans have to deal with HOAs, so I did think about them when I asked this, as I know many things I plant my neighbours are shocked to learn are not just decorative.
Still, there's this idea we shouldn't put 'food' in our front gardens. Partially for ornamental reasons, and partially because people in busy areas are known to steal things like tomato's and peppers as they walk by, which can be very frustrating!
And there's an idea that you can't have both beauty and food, that I wanted to challenge.
And part of this question related to just the sheer joy of having something beautiful to look at. Mixed colours, foilages, shapes, textures make a vegetable garden lovely to hang out in and ornamental, not something to be hidden. We have a bench on the edge of our veggie garden so we can look over it and admire it in the summer.
Unfortunately, like many great scientific experiments before this, the results of this experiment were made significantly less meaningful by a factor I did not control for.
The cat knocked over a bunch of things as they were sprouting.
I can, however report that sprouting of the clipped seeds was significantly less than the heat mat seeds. And took longer.
Most interesting, and the reason I didn't repeat the experiment with clipped seeds when I planted more peppers, is that the leaves on the plants are about half the size as the leaves on the plants started on heat mats.
The seed stores food for the growing plant, and I removed some of that food. It's been over a month, and the clipped seed plants have not caught up to the size and vigour of the heat mat started plants.
Also, starting seeds 20 weeks before last frost so far seems pretty successful! I have the plants in Solo cups, and I anticipate they will be pretty much ready to set fruit when I put them in the garden.
Attached are pictures of Marconi Rosso and Gypsy Hybrid starts with a clipped seed (small) plant compared to a heat-mat started plant (big). Notice the difference in leaf size, which seems to be persisting.
I love French drains. The one I am proudest of has made a huge difference in how wet my mother's yard and basement is in the spring and after a heavy rain. It's about 8' out from the house on one side, and 3' on the other side. 6' would be better, but it's at the edge of the property line.
1) Make sure the ground slopes towards the French drain ( sounds obvious, but it's a reminder.).
2) try to end it well beyond where you need it
3) Ideally put a bit of a slope in the drain towards where you want the water to go.
Do you need filter cloth?
Yes. You need geotextile between the native soil and the gravel - the cleaner the gravel you can get the better. Why?
Imagine a plastic bucket with a hole in the bottom. Fill the bottom with a few inches of clean, washed gravel, then a scoop of your native soil. Drag out your hose and fill the bucket. What colour is the water that comes out the hole in the bottom? Muddy, because the native soil washes in. Now put a layer of filter cloth in first. The water should run more or less clear. But in real life, in a frnehc drain, the mud that enters with the water never leaves, it just settles into the gravel, reducing permeability with every rainfall. So, unless you have the kind of soil that doesn't need a French drain, for longevity, line the trench with filter cloth.
You have two main options for design:
- Yes, the perforated pipe works well.
- So does digging a bigger hole and putting in more clean gravel, and no pipe.
Personally, I tend to chose no plastic thingy that may break with holes that may clog, and just go with bigger hole and more gravel. If your space is more limited, the pipe makes more sense.
- I like to also cover the top of the drain with landscape fabric, and then put a few inches of mulch or even soil or grass on top, making sure the drian is still a slight depression. This keeps soil from washing in to the gravel, increasing longevity, and, IMO looks better. You can do this under gravel driveways too. It does make it slightly slower to begin working in the spring, but I have not seen this being an issue in our yard or in practice, the snow above the French drain tends to be the first spot to melt.
- You can put a filter sock around the drainage pipe - or not. If you use a less clean gravel or don't wrap the top of the gravel with filter cloth, it's probably a good idea. If you use a clean gravel and burrito wrap the landscape fabric around the gravel, (purpose made geotextile intended for filtration is better!) It might not be necessary. They make purpose made filter socks and those definitly shouldn't clog up and reduce flow. I probably wouldn't use a thick layer of landscape fabric.
Anyway, sorry for how disjointed this is. But that's my experience with french drains.
Funny that this thread popped up. After years of requests, with hinting turning into literally handing me old t-shirts, I started making another twined rug last night.
I used an old bedsheet for the warp, and for the initial weft, and am now using t-shirts, though I may add in a few pillow cases.
My other mats are over 5 years old, heavily used, washed multiple times, chewed on by several puppies, and used mixed material, including everything from jeans to t-shirts to curtain material to old socks. I even use the seams. The only material I don't recommend is jeans, particularly Jean seams.
I made a new frame and used screws as pins. The last frame I found challenging because with the tension I put it under the nails started to pop out, so far the screws are working better.
If you are careful with tension, it works fine to use both woven and knit material. I tend to twine on an angle, and then beat down so I am not tugging the edge. Sheets are easier to tear into strips, t-shirts are nicer to work with while weaving.
Warning - these things are addictive. It's hard to resist 'just one more strip' even as your back starts to ache and you discover one more strip turned into 3 more rows!
Logan Byrd wrote:Catie, have you looked into or tried growing pepper plants indoors? I know they can be grown indoors, and you can even get a great number of peppers off a plant that is pruned to a very small size, as the concept of Bonchi trees demonstrates.
I am still trying to figure out how to grow plants indoors organically, but I have friends who have grown large pepper plants with nothing more than a sunny window, a large pot, and some toxic ick.
Those look awesome! I had no idea pepper plants could get that tall, I have never even seen one reach knee high.
I have never managed to grow Chili's indoors. The house I grew up in is a bit north of me and has a greenhouse attached to it.
We tried growing tomatoes indoors and they produced nothing. I know my father brought his peppers in one year and they didn't produce anything after the initial flush from the summer. Maybe a pollination issue?
I suspect how cold my family tends to keep our houses is a major factor, peppers seem to want a ton of heat. My house is usually 15-21C, and my father's greenhouse is usually 5C to 25C depending on which stoves are running.
Shea Loner wrote:What is the purpose of clipping the seed?
Theoretically, it breaks dormancy and allows the root to exit more easily.
Mark Sanford wrote:
Anyhow, I continued reading about starting seeds indoors and was considering upping my game by purchasing a dedicated shelving unit, betters light and supplies etc. Then I stumbled across a site somewhere that recommended direct seeding and saving all of the time, hassle, and expense of indoor starts (of course this can all be a lot of fun too). The author indicated his direct sown seeds always caught up to nursery Bought transplants or indoor starts.
I’m in! So I did not invest in new [anything] for indoor seeding and am going to try all direct seeding for 2022 just to see how it goes. I’m a fairly new suburban permie. One of the things I find attractive about permaculture is that the systems promise require less work over time. Perhaps this will be a whole set of planning and chores I won’t need to worry about - we shall see. Compost tea is another thing I was getting excited about trying, but hit the pause button on this as well.
I'm a fair bit colder and shorter seasoned than you, I think. Last frost isn't reliably until June 1, and I don't expect warm soil temperatures until July ish, and then first frost is mid-September. I have some self-seeded tomatos every year but usually they don't get past the green stage, except for a few cherries. My whole garden just starts really producing in late august... and then it's frost. My peppers just start producing at a week or two before frost. I'd likely do better with short season determinate tomatos only but I gamble with the indeterminates every year.
If I were in a warmer climate, I definitely would do more experiments with in-ground seeding. Squash is one where I find that my seedlings started in the field do about as well as the ones i start in the house, so long as I can protect them from the voles. Last year I did well starting my squash outdoors in pots at the same time as I planted out my tomatos and peppers. Squash planted earlier for me just seems to get eaten, and I seem to get the best of both worlds.
If i were to make more garden investments, it would probably be in a grow tunnel of some sort to extend my season just a little bit longer. I've had really good results with just starting tomatos and other things in a bright room, without grow lights, in trays with domes. If you buy a new dome, i suggest you look for the kind that have a moveable vent at the top. The darn peppers are the only things that don't want to cooperate!
Ralph Sluder wrote:
Several years ago my grandson helped me plant my pepper seeds. He was small so they went everywhere.
After a couple of weeks I noticed average 50/50 germination but....
The seeds that landed in other planted seed trays all sprouted. ( on soil surface)
Now I just push the seeds of peppers down into the soil surface without covering and get really great germination rates.
I will have to try this!
Jay Angler wrote:Great experiment Catie!
FYI - As for the experiment of clipping the seed, I've never done that for peppers. However, there was a different tree seed I wanted to try germinating and it was recommended to cut the seed. My son does table top game miniatures and has a set of tiny files - skinnier by far than a fingernail file, and much finer - one of those worked like a charm. It was very easy to control how much of the seed coat I removed. I don't know if that would work better for your hands than what you were doing, but it might.
It would also be different if I was trying to grow a lot of something, but I really only need 2 pepper plants if they produce well. I ended up with 3 Thai Dragon plants last year that were super happy and I've got plenty of dry peppers in a jar to keep me happy for some time.
Thats a good idea to try something smaller - I wonder if a finger nail file might work, or even a nail clipper...
Two pepper plants! I can't imagine! My default cuisine has tomatos and peppers in everything, and i figure a yield of about 1-2 peppers per plant, I had one green pepper that produced 4 whole peppers last year and was ecstatic.
I keep not buying pretty flowering things because I am not going to live here forever. But last fall I decided buying a couple bags of tulips would make me happy in that grey and rainy period of spring where nothing much grows. So 2022 will have tulips. Because tulips make me happy, and that is reason enough. I can't recall what I bought, but there may also be crocuses, for the same reason.
Other than that, there may be raspberries since I tried to propagate some last year, and there will likely be many veggies, and some lilies I planted last year.
I just dump it straight on my plants as fertilizer. I don't worry much about sterility in my soil. I dilute with water and then just water the plants. I suppose theoretically I might not put it on leafy greens I am harvesting tomorrow - more because it is a waste than because I worry about germs!
If I was inclined to worry about pathogens in my garden, the excrement of the many squirrels and rabbits and voles and other rodents that invade my gardens would probably be more concerning to me than the small amount of worm leachate I put on it.
I bought freeze dried food a few years ago. I bought from Legacy.
Honestly, the taste was awful. I can't make myself eat them. Weird seasoning, tastes 'fake' to my spoiled taste buds. I am keeping them, but it truly needs to be a SHTF situation before I would eat them again. I haven't even wanted to bring them camping.
I am not a huge fan of Mountain House product either when I have tried them for backpacking. They are tasty on the 3rd-4th day of a trip when you are really hungry.
The individual components I bought at the same time (freeze dried corn, peaches, etc), were good, as were pieces picked out from the 'sauce', the rest was not. They were marginally improved with he addition of more fat.
Personally, if I were to buy freeze dried again, which I have considered as I DIY camping food, I'd lean towards straight meat protein like in your second link. Seasoning is easy to do, and I can grow veggies, but protein is harder. I'd rather eat plain unseasoned food, or food with a bit of salt and nothing else, than chemically tasting food. Plus, I always have rice etc on hand and it does not go bad in a power outage situation - I feel silly paying for those things to be freeze dried.
Christopher Weeks wrote:I'll be watching your results with interest. However, I'll be very, very surprised if B doesn't beat A. Peppers love to be on a heat mat and if you did everything exactly the same (either protocol) but had one set on heat and one set off, the heated ones would win every time. So I worry that that differential will bury any useful test between the clipping/soaking method and not.
Whoops! A is also on a heat mat, the same mat the other seeds are on. They are in half toilet paper rolls to be closer to the heat source while they germinate. The idea is to test my 'normal' method against this other method, so yes, agree with you about needing a mat. Based on previous experience, I'd expect close to zero percent germination without a heat mat.
Not sure how I missed that in my description, thank you for your comment! I'll go back and edit.
Method A - No seeds prepared in Method A had visibly sprouted.
- Some mold had formed on Method A cardboard, so the lid was lifted on the tray to provide more ventilation.
Method B and Method B-1
The following seeds, prepared in Method B, and B-1, had germinated
Note that "Marconi Rosso" and "Hot Mexican Blend" had the driest cotton pads -suggesting insufficient water may be related to poor sprouting
Germination, here, is counted as seeing the root begin to appear.
Year Purchased For
# Seeds - Method B
#Seeds - Method B -germinated
Hot Salsa Blend
Hot Mexican Blend
Initial Germination Rates
Method B (all seeds) had 44% germination
Method B (2022 OSC seeds) had 38% germination
Highest germination rate - Gypsy Hybrid - 83%
Control (Method B-1) had 50% germination.
Although results for control are strong, I'm unsure of seed type (could be Gypsy Hybrid) and sample size was very small. More work needed.
Additional work today
All seeds (Preparation Method B and B-1), including those not sprouted, were placed in 72 cell pots with the same potting mix used for Preparation Method A. These seeds were not placed on a heat mat, but in a warm(ish) bright window, with a ventilated clear plastic dome lid on the tray. Approximate daytime temperature 20C, nighttime temperature 17C.
I want to see how many seeds now go on to form first leaves.
Suggestions for Further work
Future suggestion – increase number of “Control” type seeds, and use a listed variety for a better comparison. Current control is not large enough to be statistically significant, but suggests the seed clipping may not be necessary.
I have had a great deal of difficulty with starting pepper seeds, with many years of effort, and many dollars in wasted seed. (see this thread) But I remain determined!
I don’t have a great heat mat (just a very small mat intended for pets) and my house is cold. I decided to formally test an interesting process that was recommended to me in that thread, and decided to record my results for anyone else who has to give up and buy greenhouse grown pepper seedlings every year.
I welcome anyone who wants to join my experiment (using whatever method you choose) to post their results here too!
I'm about 20 weeks from last frost here, so will likely repeat the experiment with some changes based on my experiences in a month or two. There are several other methods I'd like to formally test too.
Experiment Start Date: January 11, 2022
Method A: - Seeds were planted 1/4” deep in potting soil in 1/2 toilet paper tubes
-Tubes were watered, and then put in a clear, covered germination tray (AKA a semi sealed salad container from the recycling bin)
-Germination tray was placed on a heat mat
Method B: - Corners of seeds were clipped (where the root should exit) with scissors
- A cotton makeup pad was split, seeds were placed inside the cotton, and then the pad was closed and rolled up , with an elastic band. A plastic label (recycled yoghurt container, cut into labels and labelled with a sharpie) was also slipped into the elastic band.
- Seed balls were dipped in hot water (boiled water allowed to sit for 5 min) for 5 seconds, then squeezed out and put into a bowl of ice water for 5 seconds, then squeezed out.
- The hot/cold soaking was repeated 5 times.
-Seed balls were unrolled, seeds were left in their cotton pads, and the cotton pads were and placed in a covered glass dish on a heating mat in a 17C room for 2.5 days.
Note 1: I had difficulty with the seed clipping – my hands hurt from doing it, and I found accuracy difficult. Many seeds weren’t a perfect shape where it was clear where to cut. Some seeds were likely insufficiently clipped, some were likely clipped too far back. I kept all seeds, not just "perfect" seeds, since I am trying to see what percentage *I* can get to germinate, not what percentage of "perfect seeds" I can get to germinate.
Note 2: The original method suggested leaving them in a 25C room, not putting them on a heat mat. I don't have anywhere in my house that I would expect to be 25C overnight, even on top of the fridge. I do have a (very tiny) heat mat.
Preparation Method B-1 (Control for Method B) - Seeds were subjected to the process as in Method A, but the corners of the seeds were not clipped.
Year Purchased For
# Seeds - Method A
#Seeds - Method B
Hot Salsa Blend
Hot Mexican Blend
In addition, a control was made using Method B-1 . 4 seeds were prepared in this way (random extras I found on my counter after preparing the rest)
Initial Observations and Comments
I can potentially germinate many more seeds at a time on my tiny heat mat using Method B than with Method A. Seeds are also on the heat mat for less time, saving energy/space, or allowing me to germinate more seeds. Each tiny roll could easily have held 20+ seeds.
In the future, it would be good to test Method B using the warmest place in my house (top of fridge), to see if I can get them to propagate without the heat mat at all.
I should also test another control, but haven't - seeds just soaked in the cotton pads, no complicated hot/cold procedure.
Further thinking about canning - since maple syrup was traditionally a storage product.
I found an interesting suggested method. They recommend freezing, first, as the recommended method of storage. They warn canning isn't technically approved, but give suggestions for how to imitate the commercial process, which occurs at 85C. They warn heat can darken the maple syrup, changing it to a lower grade (I love darker maple syrup, so this didn't bug me).
I wonder if one could take those little 125mL canning jars/jam jars, and make individual maple syrup serving containers. Sterilize well, repack, heat treat for 5 min, etc... all the suggested steps in the article, which would get you about as good of a seal as the storebought stuff.
Anyway - possibly an option for future maple syrup purchases.
Heather Sharpe wrote:These are all gorgeous, Catie! Watercolour is a challenging medium.
Catie George wrote:I haven't managed to master the impressionistic style watecolours are so good for.
Perhaps not, but I think you have your own style and it's perfect.
You're very good at capturing something that I wouldn't think could be captured, I can't even find the right word...feelings of being in a place, spirit of place? It doesn't just seem like a painting of some woods, it feels like I'm there. I hope you keep creating and sharing!
Thank you, I'm so glad you liked them!
That's one of my favourite places on a local trail. I always find myself stopping there to breathe for a minute. I have dozens of photos of the same spot in all seasons over several years, but it's best in winter when the light slants through the trees.
A year later... A bit more detailed. I have a bad habit of over painting with watercolor, layering like with acrylics. I haven't managed to master the impressionistic style watecolours are so good for.
It's January, so starting to think about starting peppers. Also, my spring seed order just arrived in the mail and I apparently can't wait a few months to start growing things.
I managed to get a few seedlings into the ground last year. They were promptly devoured by voles and the few ones I put in that didn't get devoured didn't produce much. The store bought seedlings were better and produced more. Every year, my peppers are JUST starting to produce and then it gets too cold. I saved seeds. I also made hot pepper sauce, which was amazing and I want MORE.
So l am thinking about starting my seed starting a month early this year so I can have bigger transplants, and then making a cold frame thingy. And we are saving more coffee cans for early season protection.
The corner cutting method seemed to help, as did buying fresh seed. So I bought more fresh seed this year and will start on heat mats, in a bright window, in a covered container. Half cut corner seeds, half not.
Nobody remind me how many pounds of peppers I can buy during pepper season for the amount I spend on seeds and potting soil, please.
My dad often gives homemade specialty wine .. wait a second,I didn't get my bottle this year! Hmm....
I often give candy - toffee and fudge and popcorn balls and nut cookies and taffy and.... Changes every year based on my ambition.
Or jams, apple sauce, etc.
I made homemade hand cream one year, and have had requests for a repeat of that.
Also homemade aftershave- an awesome gift to myself to make it, because I was regularly having migraines from the aftershave of someone I regularly rode in the car with! He liked mine better than the store bought stuff, too.
Andrea Locke wrote:Catie, I have in the past grown amaranth that were labelled on the seed packets as 'grain amaranth' and 'vegetable amaranth' (for leaf production). I think that's the same thing as callaloo. I didn't harvest either of them for flour as this was years before we had ever heard of gluten free flour or realized it was a solution for the stomach upsets of two family members. And I didn't save seed from them that I recall so I'm wondering now if black versus white seed is a consistent character that differentiates the two kinds. Or is a preference for one or the other just how the colour of the seed affects the look of the bread?
You mentioned wanting to try a flour variety so I'm guessing the one you had trouble harvesting clean seed from must have been the vegetable kind? Or maybe one that was sold as an ornamental?
I had a ton of difficulties separating out clean seed because of how tiny it is. I basically only managed enough for replanting. The chaff seemed to stick to them, and be about the same size/weight. The amaranth grain I have bought in stores seems to have bigger seeds, and the seeds are white, not black. Some research (maybe even on permies) Had me discover that the white seeded varieties tend to have bigger seed that is easier to clean.
I tried oats, amaranth, and flour corn, plus beans this year.
My oats did well this year. First year, not huge yield, growing hullless oats from a tiny seed packet. I will plant again next year, and keep expanding my seed. Tasted good when I ate a seed.
Potatoes! Squash! Gluten free baking tastes better and has better texture with a fruit or vegetable included, so I do count these as 'grain' crops for baking. Great yield, easy.
Amaranth - my variety is almost impossible to seperate from the chaff, and black seeded. My plan is to try to buy a white seeded 'flour' variety. Beautiful, I grew it for ornamental purposes the second year, and because it was a reliable source of salad greens.
Flour corn - did well the first year (reasonably), complete crop failure the second year. Very tasty, very easy to process, higher yield per effort than the oats. I will grow again, and see what happens. Corn pancakes were astonishingly tasty.
Beans - I believe making flour involves cooking them to kill 'bean poisins' that taste awful, but I just really like beans for soup. Grew very well, easy, little care, expanded my seed and adapted seeds for my growing conditions for 2 years now, hopefully next year is a decent yield.
I also want to try buckwheat and chickpeas. Quinoa and sorghum sadly don't work in my climate, but the flour corn did taste and behave somewhat similarly to sorghum flour.
Mom baked fresh buns when I was a kid for Christmas dinner. Fresh whole wheat buns with gravy .... mmmm.... (Diagnosed as celiac so that tradition died). Nothing on the table other than the cranberry sauce and dessert had sugar. Lots of butter and 3-10 kinds of vegetables (one tradition is counting how many kinds we managed).
Stuffing made with ground pork, eggs, bread, giblets, celery, onions, sage.
Nuts. Dad always bought bags of mixed uncracked nuts and we'd sit in the evenings and crack nuts and eat them.
Turkey hash. It's a post Christmas and post Thanksgiving tradition.
Look in thrift stores for old pyrex dishes with glass lids. They stack in the fridge! They stack in the cupboard! Even the lids stack! The lid can be microwaved! The lid can go in the oven! The lids make a good plate or dog dish. And they are even easy to clean.
I use plastic lids for food that will travel, but really like my ancient pyrex. I have them in everything from about 250 mL to large casserole. I have Corning Ware as well, but that doesn't stack.
Water experience - Started life together by buying a high quality raft and our honeymoon trip was a rafting trip down a river. Lots of learning happened but we survived only to return more experienced.
Yrs later raft rotted and we switch to canoes. Kids came along and we jumped to two canoes. Kids grew we went to kayaks. Now the kids have left and we are returning to canoes, but
still use our kayaks some. My son's German Sheppard that got left behind likes to go with me so that limits the kayaking. We been on the water, but have gotten away from water
camping trips, just two complicated with schedules. It was easier to do day trips. Looking forward to revisiting canoe camping trips.
Renting - Really struggling with the prices of renting because I could put that money on equipment to use again. I am really looking for light weight canoes as I have no desire to portage our old 17'
aluminum canoe. Does anyone have a favorite? I would love one that could be used tandem or solo.
Sounds like you have plenty of experience :)
Swift makes good canoes.
I personally would rent a canoe for the first trip, they are an expensive investment and the number of trips for payback compare stop renting is more than some of the other gear. See how much you love it (or don't). Used canoe prices have gone nuts here in Canada, and there is a shortage of new ones so deals aren't great there either Canoe pack and barrel pack I would buy rather than rent (over a week long trip you almost pay the cost to buy them). Maybe you have them already. Oh, and money for good life jackets (like Salus) designed for comfortable wear while paddling. I like shoulder season canoeing, so am a big believer in buying life jackets you will actually enjoy wearing (and therefore wear). And decent (resin tipped) paddles. Basically, stuff you will use even if you decide tripping isn't for you anymore.
A 17' kevlar canoe can be soloed backwards, just make sure it's a symmetrical canoe hull and flat traditional style seats. I solo a friend's 17' fairly regularly. You can add a few jugs of water as ballast at the front. Or a German Shepherd.
Comforts - don't want all the comforts of home, but want a good night rest for old backs. They make some increditably light chairs now. Don't owen any yet. We have never done much of the dehydrated
food . Do you have any suggestions?
Back support - YMMV but look for self inflating 3-4" thick mats. I own two (one for backpacking, one for car camping and guests). It's awesome. It's got tons of insulation and is almost as comfortable as my bed at home. Thermarest is the classic brand (made in the US), but there are others. Heavier and bigger than the other ones, but in my opinion, worth it. Try in store if you can.
Food- I make my own food. You can also bring stuff like sandwich ingredients of course. For the first days, having some fresh food is nice.
I like having a dehydrator, and at $10 for a single meal from the commercial sellers, payback for a dehydrator is pretty quick! Plus, it tastes better.
We had planned to do the Allagash Wilderness Waterway next yr, but after the new covid norm I have decided to change plans. They are so busy that it doesn't even sound like fun to me. We are looking into the Adirondacks, but I also just got a map of Algonguin Park canoe routes and was totally blown away with how many options there are. Not sure about planning a trip outside the US right now because of how fast boarder rules are changing, but it definitely made it to the top of my want list because it is less then 8 hrs from us.
Algonquin is an awesome place for a canoe trip. There are Outfitters that rent canoes and will deliver them to your site, allow you to do a one way and shuttle you, etc. The Barron Canyon is spectacular.
What country/area of the country are you in? I live in Ontario, which has fantastic canoe camping routes.
How much canoeing experience do you have? A pair who who canoes every weekend will be able to travel further in a day than a pair who hasn't picked up a paddle in a decade.
It you are planning on bringing all the comforts, look for a longer canoe to rent ((17'). Paddling an overloaded 16' canoe sucks. Also recommending shelling out the money for a kevlar canoe if you are renting and doing any portages. Carrying a 17' aluminum canoe also sucks. You can buy a pad for the yoke that makes it more comfortable to carry on your shoulders.
You will want to buy or rent a canoe pack (plasticized waterproof roll top bag with backpack harness) and a barrel pack for your food. Wet stuff is miserable.
Chairs are nice, if you have the space and aren't portaging too far. At minimum, a piece of foam to sit on is nice.
iMO fall is the best canoe camping season. Water is warm, bugs are mostly gone, less people.
You will likely need to tree your food or do a staked out canoe. Lighter weight (dehydrated) food is far nicer than cans.
Saute onions to glassy, add in chopped (preferably red, orange, yellow for colour) peppers, maybe some celery and fry until cooked.
Add water and peeled and deseeded squash and orange lentils.
Cook for a long time, season to taste with some of the following : ginger, garlic, garam masala (or other curry spices), hot sauce, pepper, sugar, salt, etc and enough fat to make it have a nice mouth feel.
Run an immersion blender through to puree it. If desired, add coconut milk or serve with mayonnaise, plain yoghurt, or sour cream. After pureeing it, don't cook too long as it tends to scorch.
I started my own starter by placing a mix of flours (rice and teff were in it, don't recall what else) and water, and a bit of sugar if I recall, near the fruit basket on the counter and waiting a few days for it to bubble . I have done it twice now - once it caught something weird while trying to start and I had to restart. I fed it mixed GF flour and water, and froze it for up to a year at a time between batches.
No experience with nut flours, but buckwheat and oats should both work well.