Robin Katz

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since May 10, 2015
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Recent posts by Robin Katz

I've found that the key to regrowing celery is to take the outer stalks and leave the small inner ones intact, then planting that. When I cut off all the stalks and just planted the end in soil it rotted. The tiny inner stalks (3-4 inches max) wilt initially then start taking on a green color, then it starts to grow. As I said earlier, you won't get the big juicy stalks this way, but the thin stalks with lots of leaf has great flavor and is especially good in soups.

Here is a picture of five celery plants in a 8 inch pot. The three in front I added in the last week and you can see how they go from pale and wilted to green. The two in back are older and you can see how lush and leafy the growth is. When they get that size I snip the individual stalks with scissors at the bottom and let the plant keep growing. They don't seem to need a lot of room grown this way but I'm still experimenting with this process. I will likely transplant them this summer into the garden and they will probably go to seed, which is fine too.

Quick clarification: The inner stalks are still attached to the bottom of the celery bunch. They are not detached and planted.
Great input from everyone! I've been growing scallions and celery from the root ends this winter. The celery makes pencil sized stalks with a lot of leaf but this is great for soups since it provides a strong celery flavor.

I'll have to try the leek sprouting next time since I like them so much and they are very expensive. Onions sound good too since we go through a lot of them and the greens are just fine for a lot of recipes.
I find this thread to be very useful for not just the COVID-19 bug, but for all the corona viruses and influenza viruses that can make us sick. Saying "coronavirus" is like saying "toyotavehicle." There are a lot of variations within the description of this type of virus. Corona viruses can cause the common cold, SARS, and MERS for example so they can go from mild to lethal, depending on the strain.

All of the good ideas in this thread are applicable to influenza also, which can be lethal or relatively mild, although I've never had a mild case of influenza, so relative is just that.

I can see this thread being useful a few years down the road when the next virus goes around, hopefully not nearly as contagious or severe.
1 week ago
Paul, I'm glad to hear that you're keeping the nasty bug at bay. It's helpful to know what works to keep it from getting deeper into the body.

The long recovery and ease of relapse reminds me of a flu-type bug (probably a corona-type also since many respiratory viruses are) that was going around in 1990. Really bad flu symptoms with a tendency to relapse MUCH worse if the person who had it didn't rest and completely recover. I had it and being the type of person I am (part time idiot apparently), started doing too much too soon and started getting a massive relapse. Had to intervene with pharmaceuticals to keep from getting pneumonia. Overall, it took far longer to recover than if I'd just rested enough the first time around.

This is a great reminder to rest and recover fully even though it's spring and the need to seed the garden is strong.
1 week ago

Many of the herbs and foods that are typically good for viral infections work by stimulating cytokine release in our bodies. This is an inflammatory response that helps to kill viruses and bacteria and normally this is a good thing. With some viruses such as coronavirus, bird flu, swine flu, and others, the virus itself stimulates cytokine release to very high levels, causing huge amounts of inflammation that damage the cells in the lungs, causing cell death, fluids to be released, and allows the infection to spread into the blood (sepsis). This is a "cytokine storm" that is a big part of what's killing people with this virus. Others have posed links that are good and are probably more accurate.

From what I've read and understand, the foods and herbs that are typically good for us such as mushrooms, fermented foods, elderberry, astragalus, echinacea, spirulina, chlorella, and ginger also stimulate cytokine release. I intend to avoid them at all costs if I start to feel sick.

The foods and herbs that I plan to focus on that are supposed to help with viruses but either don't stimulate cytokines or actually reduce them are: fresh apples, garlic, fresh onions, green tea (antiviral yet reduces cytokine production), turmeric, quercetin (supplements and foods that contain it), resveratrol (supplements and foods that contain it such as red wine....), vitamin C, and zinc.

My Traditional Chinese Medicine teacher suggests that if we get sick it would be a good idea to stop eating meat, dairy, wheat or any other mucus containing foods and focus on vegetable soups, chicken, fish, fruit. That's a healthy diet to me no matter what so I'm good with that.

I hope this helps. We're all learning during these difficult times. I hope that as people recover and figure out what worked well for them that they will share that also. Every bit helps.

I forgot to add that I am currently eating mushrooms, fermented foods and ginger now to keep my immune system strong, but if I start to get sick and it goes beyond just the initial stages, I will take those out of my diet to reduce the potential for overstimulation of the immune system. This is what I've learned in my Chinese Medicine (TCM) courses also - treatment at the beginning of a disease can be very different later on in the progression of a disease. Pearl also mentioned this.
2 weeks ago
Definitely Type 1 but my TP stockpile is because I shop at Costco. There is no such thing as one roll. Of anything. I don't make fun of Types 2 and 3 because I don't want them to know that me and my Costco TP rolls exist.

I'm now looking forward to a nice big mullein crop this year. Maybe I could sell mullein leaves to all those people who don't have TP.
2 weeks ago
Fermenting garlic does make it less strong in my experience. I have a quart of garlic fermenting now because it's so good. I always add it to my dill pickles and the garlic stays nice and crunchy.

There are two other ways of getting more garlic that I use regularly. The first I learned in by Chinese Medicine training because garlic is used as an antiparisitic, among other things, and the dosage is one bulb (not clove) per day. The preparation is to steam the peeled and sliced garlic with a tiny amount of water for about 30 seconds. Taste it and if there is still a bite, steam a little longer. You want to remove the bite but not overcook. I have modified this by sauteing the garlic in some butter until the bite is gone, then spoon it all on a piece of bread. I have never had it upset my stomach this way and it tastes wonderful. I've found myself craving this "medicine" when I feel myself getting sick. It's great for head colds too.

The other thing I'm doing is taking garlic that's starting to sprout and planting each clove close together with about 1 inch spacing into a pot of soil and putting it on the window sill. It will put out nice green sprouts which I harvest, roots and all, and use in all kinds of foods. The green garlic is milder than the clove and has a nice green taste. If you let them get big then the clove disappears into the soil and it leaves just the sprout, like a green onion. They usually don't last that long in our house. I have a couple of 6" pots going at any one time.

2 months ago
Welcome to Permies John! I look forward to reading your book. I always like it when there is a one-stop reference for plants so that I don't have to research all over for the bits that I need for growing and using my food and medicine.
2 months ago
I use arrowroot powder with less than 5% by weight cocoa powder. Start at the low end and you can always add more. Make sure to blend it well (I use a coffee grinder) so that the little cocoa chunks are spread evenly through the powder. I've had some weird brown streaks on my face when I didn't do it right. Adjust the cocoa powder for your skin color. Unlike most commercial foundations, this keeps my skin from getting shiny for a long time.

I like Jocelyn's idea about the green clay. I may use a bit and see how it looks.

I personally stay away from titanium dioxide. I've read that it is safe, and that it isn't.  Go figure. The rule of thumb that if it isn't edible, I don't want to put it on my skin.

If you want to make some blush, add beet powder to some of the foundation powder. And maybe some turmeric so that it's not too red.
2 months ago
I love all the ferments going. I especially have olive-envy.

Right now we have the following going or stored:

sauerkraut (white and purple cabbage)
dill cucumber pickles with garlic and hot peppers
garlic by itself
chiles from the garden
rye levain for bread (I let this slow ferment in the fridge for a week. It's not very sour, but the flavor is good and it's active)
poolish pre-ferment for bread
cyser (apple juice and honey mead) with raisins. This ends up tasting a little like sherry when done.

We keep our house fairly cool (low to mid 60s F) so the ferments are slow but they still have a great flavor. I ferment the kimchi in the garage that's in the low to mid 50s F this time of year. I've read that before the days of refrigeration and air conditioning, kimchi used to be fermented in crocks buried in the ground because that gave good temperature control like a root cellar, so I thought that the colder temperatures are probably more traditional. I have no idea if this changes the fermentation process other than slowing it down, but the end result is always really good. I've always had more problems with ferments when it's too warm vs. when it's too cool.
3 months ago