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LeRoy Martinez

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since Oct 21, 2014
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Recent posts by LeRoy Martinez

Interesting thread on tomatoes

I enjoy reading all these articles but it's too  disciplined for me.
My name should have been Hap Hazard because that's the way I garden.

I'm in SW Montana and last fall I was talking to my son who lives about 40 miles
away and he told me they started eating tomatoes the 15 th of June last year.
That got me digging for details from him and it turned out he took a couple of
tomato plants inside his house when cold weather hit. (Fall of 2015)
He said they kinda went dormant but they kept them watered enough to keep
them alive and when the plants "clock" went off they woke up started life all
over again.
So then I brought 3 plants that were about 3 foot tall into my shop last fall and
I kept them going and picked tomatoes Christmas day. There's one tomato left &
It's got a few days left to ripen and I'm thinking I'll  wait and pick it in February.
That plant has a new yellow blossom on it as well. Tomatoes are small but good.
The last 3 or 4 years my coffee crew members and I have discussed my big south
windows and maybe tomatoes could almost be grown year around in there?

So on October 11th and again on October 26 of 2016 I started 10 tomatoes from seed
and I gave one plant to my son and one to my grandson. Now I have 8 plants left and
they are about 19 inches tall. They seem to be doing well with the combination of
2 - 12" X 12" LED gro lights and window sunshine. Perfectly straight with no gangly
reaching for the sun. They are just starting to get some blossoms started or maybe
it's my wishful imagination seeing things.

Some background: They are planted in dirt and I have added amendments like rock dust,
Bio-Char etc. They are on wheeled carts so they can be rotated to follow the sun,
(when I think of it).
3 years ago
I use pinto beans, Anasazi's, black beans, small and large lima beans, and mayocoba Peruvian beans.
I have been eating beans for about 80 years. I cook them the same way my mom cooked pinto beans.

I cook about 2 cups at a time.
I dry sort the beans and remove any rocks, dirt whatever and then rinse well and drain.
Then in a heavy non aluminum pot I cover the beans with water and bring to boil. (Don't use cast iron
unless it's enameled as will probably rust the pan)..
Reduce heat to simmer them till done. Add water as necessary to prevent beans burning.
Salt to taste. If you wish to add red chile caribe or powder you can add it anytime during the cooking process.
I've never used any spices or add-ins with lima beans except for salt and pepper but maybe it would be alright?

To fry (refry) I add lard to a cast iron skillet and heat. I don't let the lard get hot enough to smoke.
I add beans a large spoonful at a time and mash according to the end use. Add in some of the bean juice
as necessary to thin. Don't discard any bean juice, use it. It tastes great.

I never soak beans or use any accelerated methods to cook them as the taste is better when they are slow
simmered. I have tried pressure cookers for dry beans but taste is sacrificed for speed.

If you choose to soak beans cook them in the soak water instead of throwing out the flavor.
Diana Kennedy the famous cookbook author said it best in at least one of her cookbooks....
"Instead of throwing out the flavor, throw out the cookbook that told you to"
Diana Kennedy spent all those years in Mexico and wrote many good cookbooks on Mexican cooking.
4 years ago
Here's something that recently occurred to me.
I typically plant 14 different varieties of tomatoes. I then slice the ripe tomatoes about 1/4" thick and just air dry them on a cheesecloth covered window screen. They dry very, very thin.They keep
for a long time. You can use them in stews or on pizzas or whatever.
What I am thinking is that since all the seeds are embedded in these slices why not just cut up a slice in small pieces and plant it?
Since the slices are air dried with no heat from a dehydrator they are no different than seeds you save except they are held together by the tomato slice.
I plan to try this next season.
An interesting book is called "Hopi Cookery" by Juanita Tiger Kavena 1980- The University Of Arizona Press
Has recipes, drying meat, peaches, melons etc. All stuff that's good to know.
You might find a copy on Amazon or eBay
Wait, I just looked and there are 16 copies on eBay from $3.77 up.
4 years ago
The thinner you cut the slices the quicker they will dry. And if you hang the meat over a wooden clothes drying rack
or a clothes line then you can drape some cheese cloth over it to keep flies and wasps etc away.

We had some neighbors close by and I'll never forget that they had a screen box on the north side of their house
and every year they had quarters of elk and/or deer hanging in that box and when they needed meat they just went out
and cut some off. There was no refrigeration but the nights through the winter were cold and the meat was always in the
shade during the day. By spring the meat was used up one way or another.

The hanging meat shrinks considerably over the course of a winter so the cuts of meat just keep getting smaller and smaller.
But the meat is well aged and tastes good.
4 years ago
I was a small boy growing up in what was called Garden Home and later
Westwood Colorado which was all annexed to Denver in later years. I was born

We did not have electricity and running water. We burned coal and wood.
(Don't let anyone tell you coal is clean).
We used coal oil lamps (kerosene) and pumped water from a well in the
backyard. Milk and butter were kept cool in a metal bucket which was lowered
into the cool water of the well. And of course we had an outhouse like
everyone else.

We had goats and chickens. So we had goat meat to eat fresh and dry for
later use and goat milk to drink and cook with. I never tasted cows milk
until my first day in school and they gave us each a small glass bottle of
cows milk. To me it tasted awful. To this day I am not a milk drinker and
only use a little for cooking. We had chickens for eggs and meat. We had a
large garden which was watered with well water pumped by hand into a tank
which fed a hose which was moved from row to row in the garden. Pumping
water for the garden was not my favorite chore as it took
away valuable time that I thought was better spent fishing but now I am glad
I had the experience.

We had an attic in the house but it could only be accessed from outside the
house with a ladder. I had to climb up on the kitchen roof and then open the
small door into the attic. Then I would hang thin strips of meat over a
clothes line (carne seca in Spanish, jerky in English) where it would dry.
Later when it was needed I again climbed back up the ladder and
retrieved however much meat my mom wanted. Me being small was the only one
in the family who could climb the ladder and get through the small attic
My mom canned a lot of the garden stuff but also dried many things such as
hot chiles both red and green and fruits apricots, apples, peaches etc which
were later made into pies, cobblers or whatever she could dream up.

I do not remember her ever drying tomatoes or sweet frying peppers but that
is one thing I do. Here's how I do it.
I use some nice clean old window screens and simply quarter inch slice ripe
tomatoes or sliced lengthwise sweet frying Nardello peppers and lay them on
there to dry. I do cover them with cheese cloth. I elevate the screen about
4 feet so I can place a fan underneath it to blow up from below. This can be
done with sawhorses
When dry they are about as thin as an onion skin but they puff up again when
you put them in a stew or whatever.
I store them in wide mouth jars and and I use the jar lids and rings but not
tight enough to seal them. Be sure they are thoroughly dry before you put
them in jars. Drying foods in this manner eliminates the purchase of a
dehydrator and of course this is the way it was done before dehydrators were
invented. If you can set this screen near a south facing window the sun will
help to dry things.

Drying foods is about as simple and foolproof as you can get. If the power
goes out you still have food you can eat that has not spoiled in the freezer
or refrigerator.

My mom had a part of an old monkey wrench (the hammer looking part)and
a chunk of steel about 6 X 6 inches square that she used to shred the dried meat
on. She would add that to a roux and cook it and use it as a gravy over mashed
potatoes or anything else. She was a very creative lady in the kitchen and
everywhere else.

Oh, and we had a rain barrel to catch rain water from the roof for washing
our hair.
But now a person can't collect rainwater legally in Colorado. How dumb is that?
4 years ago
Funny thing, I woke up early this morning. Well, earlier than the usual 4:00. So I lay in bed thinking about the 'angle of repose' on
the Hugel's and it dawned on me (slowly) that I could use pond weed to throw over the top and sides to hold things together and
hopefully keep the dirt from sliding down.
Then I get on Permies and Nicole Alderman has asked for ideas on holding dirt in place. I realize that not
everybody has a pond with weeds growing in it but maybe you can find someone who wants to get rid of some in their pond.
Craig's List maybe?

Just yesterday I was scattering the pond weed over the garden spot but never gave a thought to the Hugel.
Maybe today I can get some before and after pictures of what I'm doing and hopefully post them here.
Since I don't have a boat that floats I'll have to devise some sort of pond weed rake to drag this stuff in.
More later,
LeRoy in Montana
4 years ago

mike mclellan wrote:Miles,
I collected the seeds at exactly this time of year. Seems like those were Pinus monophylla, the one needled pinyon. Seeds were pretty good size, cones small with maybe three or four whorls of scales. Check underneath the trees as those seeds are heavy and won't blow too far away, even in those Cheyenne land hurricanes. People think I exaggerate but little do they know!!

Leroy, Good info there. Those would be the seeds to collect to try to establish them farther north and east. Like so many things, this is one species that would benefit many if we found adapted varieties for farther north. If you come across seeds from this population, I'd love to trade you for a few! Bet I've got something here you might be able to use.

I just found this article by a local guy. Well semi-local, he lived here in Silver Star and recently moved back to Pony. It sounds as though they found quite a few of them on this side of the Tobacco Roots.
If you get over this way (I'm in Twin Bridges) look me up.
5 years ago

Miles Flansburg wrote:Hey Mike, thanks for the heads up on the Pinyon pines there in Cheyenne, I will have to make a rest stop there and collect a few to plant at my place.
When are they usually ready to harvest?

Mike and Miles,
As a kid 70 some years ago I spent quite a bit of time in southern Colorado and recall fondly family members spreading
blankets under the pinyon trees and the tree climbers in the family shaking the trees to drop the seeds. Then they were
gathered up in big flour sacks, pillow cases or the big lard buckets and taken home to roast in the oven.

Here in Montana we and others I know have found them up in the Tobacco Root Mountains but only a few trees. This may
be about the northern limit for pinyon but then again there may be some more growing in protected pockets in Montana?
5 years ago

elle sagenev wrote:I have planted a large variety of fruit and nuts trees already. So far so good though I'm noticing an awful lot of black walnut tree death. Fruit trees seem fine so far though. Anyway, everyone I talk to about growing fruit in Wyoming believes it to be impossible. They say that for my trees to be alive I must live in a much warmer part of the state than they are or have special something or other. We have really been brainwashed to believe we can't do anything but cows and wheat here. I ache to prove them all wrong. My husband is even a doubter. He is not sure that I can make money doing this. I say that if I do this I'll be an attraction state wide, even our neighboring states of NE and CO will come to see this. Never mind the value of our property if I manage to do the impossible and grow fruit trees here. Re-sale value will sky rocket.

So how do you all manage to be freaks where you are? To have everyone believe you are crazy and doomed to failure? I must admit that the more people who state it is impossible the more I doubt whether it is. Encouragement please!!!

I'm north of you in Montana (they call it zone 4 but when I buy trees I'm looking for zone 3 trees) We have various apple, pear, Evans cherry, and plum trees.
There are people here that have apricot trees and have had them for years. I would really like to find a variety of peach that would do well here.

I lived in Casper for several years and the wind here is just as bad. We had a tornado here a year and a half ago and it did a lot of damage to buildings and trees.
We had real old cottonwood trees over 3 foot in diameter that got blown over. They are cut up and split and getting slowly buried in my first attempt at HugelKultur.

An old river channel runs along one side of our property so any trees we plant we have to wrap the lower 3 foot or more with wire to keep the beavers from logging them off.
Then we have the deer that can be a real nuisance. And we have to beat the birds to the cherries. We have a greenhouse mostly for melons and tomatoes.
Worst of all is the wind and 35 and 40 below.
I think you should do well with the fruit trees. I have not known of anyone planting nut trees in our areas so I hope that does good for you.

Oh, and then there is the Sea Berry bush. A very tough bush in more ways than one. BIG THORNS, very invasive, bjrd's love the berries. I read where they have roadside stands in Russia or Siberia (or both) where they sell the juice. Juice tastes as good as orange juice or better. I also read where they just cut the branches off and that makes it easier to harvest the berries.
Anyway good luck with your trees.
5 years ago