Eric Chen

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since Mar 08, 2014
Maritime Pacific Northwest, Zone 8
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Recent posts by Eric Chen

Eric Chen wrote:

Maureen Atsali wrote:I live in the tropics, a few minutes from the equator - although altitude and the weird weather patterns keep it fairly mild here.  Do you think quinoa can grow here?



Chenopodium formosanum is a (sub-) tropical species used as food by native Taiwanese, and appears to be getting popular there. I have no idea whether seeds are available.



Adaptive Seeds here in Oregon actually carries Taiwanese quinoa this year. They ship internationally.

[https://www.adaptiveseeds.com/product/grains/quinoa-taiwanese-organic/]

"Easy to grow plants are similar to lambsquarters, with a unique pink coloration. Grain type but also eaten as a salad green or cooked similar to spinach. We mostly use the leaves as a vegetable, but the seed is high in protein just like other quinoa. Taiwanese Quinoa is a great all purpose food plant. Very heat tolerant. The real magic happens when they grow over 6′ tall, producing seed similar to Andean quinoa on beautiful long trailing flower heads. Flower heads resemble Love Lies Bleeding Amaranth and similarly make great cut flowers. Late to mature seed but the plants can be cut and brought under cover to after-ripen. ..."



3 years ago

Maureen Atsali wrote:I live in the tropics, a few minutes from the equator - although altitude and the weird weather patterns keep it fairly mild here.  Do you think quinoa can grow here?



Chenopodium formosanum is a (sub-) tropical species used as food by native Taiwanese, and appears to be getting popular there. I have no idea whether seeds are available.

Here is one article with pictures, but Google Translation will be needed.

http://210.242.222.40/ebid/html/Vcastanopsis/QA.php
3 years ago
I suspect the weather is not the most important factor here. While the major growing areas of gojiberry in China are high and cold, I had some commercial organically grown gojiberry from Taiwan, where it is HOT and HUMID. I grew the plants from the seeds last spring and they have been doing well in my zone 8 place.

I found in Countryside & Small Stock Journal 11/12 2009 issue an article by Donald R. Daugs with Victoria Rainey of Utah "Wolfberry update". Some of the points are very interesting (and fun):

- According to the article that Lycium chinense and L. barbarum are two different plants, L. chinese is supposedly less nutritional than the barbarum, chinense plants do not grow as tall and has more thorns. "The Utah plants have very few thorns and grow more than 10 feet tall, which matches the identity of Lycium barbarum."

- "The Atlas of The Vascular Plants of Utah shows no locations for L. chinense, but quite a number for L. barbarum, the most interesting being a location near Promontory Point, Utah. This was where the first east-west railroad met and where the Chinese railroad workers either planted seeds or drupped dried goji berries. ..."

- "As an interesting aside, look up "Phantoms of Dove Creek" on the Internet. This will provide some clues as to how the Utah wolfberries came from China and became established in the Utah desert. ..."

- "… Rooted cuttings and bare root starts planted in early spring can produce fruit in the fall of the same year."

- (Probably the most relevant) "Potting soil was used for our first starts from seed, cuttings and bare root starts. This was a hard lesson learned, The soil was too acidic and the plant did not do well. Soil pH should be between 7.6 and 8.2. Garden soil here in Northern Utah has a pH of 7.8 and the Chinese commercial growing areas have a pH of 8.0 or more. The West Desert location has an even higher pH."
5 years ago
I have had a jostaberry bush in my garden for many years now. My dog loved it when she was around - she'd pick berries herslef, I pick the berries as a snack as I walk in the garden, it has an overtone of black currant which we jokingly called "skunky." (But I still find the berries enjoyable, maybe an acquired taste.)

It is extremely easy to propagate, just stick a dormant cutting into the ground will do. Actually several rooted in my orchard as mulch so I had to pull them.

For once I trimmed the bush into a mini-tree and somehow the whole single "vertical branch" became covered with fruits the next fruiting season and died after season (with a new shoot coming out of the ground, so the plant is still thriving there.)

One "use" of jostaberry - as I heard from an old nursery lady here - is to make a "gooseberry tree" by grafting gooseberry onto it. I have not yet tried it myself. This could be useful since one of my favorite gooseberry is a very low spreader.
5 years ago
You might find this interesting about Bidens pilosa from AVRDC The World Vegetable Center:

http://avrdc.org/category/main-iv/
then,
http://avrdc.org/blackjack-bidens-pilosa/

"Blackjack (Bidens pilosa)

Often gathered while growing wild, blackjack can be cultivated as well.

Common Names
Blackjack, Spanish needles (En); sornet, bident hérissé, herbe aiguille (Fr); bidente piloso, mozote, margarita silvestre (Sp); 咸豐草 (Cn)

Plant Distribution
All tropical and subtropical areas

Edible Parts
Tender shoots are eaten boiled or stir-fried, or powdered and added to sauce.

Health Values
Beta-carotene: high; vitamin E: medium; ascorbic acid: high; calcium: low; iron: low; protein: 3.0%. Leaves contain also anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antigastrointestinal
bacterial coumarins, flavonols and stilbenoids (flavonoids), phytosterols, polyacetylenes, and triterpenes, as well as saponins."
5 years ago
(Greetings, I am a complete newbie here ...)

How about Pieris?

Don't know about it for butterflies since I don't see any in early spring here (western Oregon, z8).

In this bee document from OSU (http://extension.oregonstate.edu/lincoln/sites/default/files/documents/bee_comparisonchart.pdf), it lists Pieris japonica as among the favorite food of mason bees. Bumble bees seem to like it very much as I observed in my front yard. I plan to add this plant to my orchard.
6 years ago