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published 8/12/13

These are moon flowers, beautiful things for sure and the Bees of course doing their job ! Last few years I have pretty well spazzed on the Bees and taken many photos. These flowers and the plant parts can be used to enhance your dreams and open a window to your soul if you are aware of such ? Very much like Ayahuasca or Amanita muscara in small doses as a tea.  But use great caution as people have died messing with this plant. It was brought here by the Spaniards from Central America because they loved to eat the flowers and got very high, so they carried them north as well. They are very easy to grow and smell great and attract many bees. It is an alkaloid and acts some what like an opiate as a pain killer also. My garden gets more beautiful every year as the soil is building up microbes and bacteria from my compost.  

Let's not forget juicing !And far better to grow your own for this purpose for many reasons. Here are a few recipesfor some very good juice concoctions, but the only limit is your imagination and taste preferences ! MY favorite is beet, kale, cucumber, tomato, melon and elderberry. Incredibly powerful mixture  ! You can feel it within a few minutes hitting your body !

Recent photos of Stinky the cat getting caught pulling some Catnip thru the wire and the guilty look on his face, busted !  

Photos of the bees on the Arugula.That shaft of purple light is awesome ,Hey ? These photos were all taken May 2014, so Arugula comes on early. I am letting a patch go to seed and you can see the seed pods on the plant. I eat the flowers and the top of the stalks and the seed pods as well as the leaves. They are all very tasty . Arugula is very prolific and this 4' X 5' patch will generate millions of seeds . The seeds are tiny little guys and are easily gathered and they sprout early so you have lots of fresh arugula all growing season . I made a batch of Pesto out of Arugula and it is wonderful ! It also attracts bees like Bachelor buttons and Borage do.  Arugula is incredibly easy to grow and propagate from year to year and can also be plowed in for nitrogen fixer. I do this every year and just selectively keep the plants I want. I do the same with sunflowers and other plants . So you can keep them going with little effort.  And always have a lot of seeds. Great stuff.  Can ya tell I love the Bee's, so I attract them ! Also Arugula makes the nest Pesto !

Aloe Vera is a definite healing herb.Both for internal and external uses. It has very strong anti-cancer powers and many other uses internally. Mostly as an agent to enhance at the cellular level so it affects nearly every organ and mechanism within the body functions. It is highly antiseptic and antibacterial and can be used directly in an open wound to prevent infection and speed healing of the open wound. Yes, it is edible and can be taken in many forms. I usually eat some with tea or put it in tea after it cools a bit. It tastes bad , but it is good in a smoothie. Cut off the piece of leaf you want, determined by the size you think you will need ? You can extract the gel by removing the outer skin with a sharp knife and it will leave a piece of gel intact. Slice down the side of the cut leaf and pull back one layer of the thick skin. Then you can eat the gel directly or scrape or slice it off and put it where ever you want to use or put it in a drink or food. Of course it is well known as a skin soothing agent for burns and scrapes and abrasions and sunburn. It is also very effective with radiation burns and chemical burns. Aloe does NOT take much water or fertilizer ?  I water this one about every 7 to 10 days with my filtered water (they do not do well with chlorine water) and I only fertilize it maybe 4 times a year with very lite dose. It usually turns brown for a while, so be careful and don't over water or over fertilize. It can kill it. That is the most common mistake to failure ! This one is in very sandy, granular soil with little humus and it seems to love it. Lots of babies as you can see but I imagine it would do even better in a hotter climate year round ? Recently it has turned a bit cold and gotten down into the teens regularly, so there is no way to leave it outside. Thus the large container for indoors but still mobile for warmer months outside.

For whatever reason one of my cats likes to chew on the pointy ends and give herself a scratching around her ears with the serrated leaves. I get the scratching part and petting but not sure about the leaf gnawing ? Possible Julie the cat lady would have an answer ?

Aloe is a wonderful all purpose plant as a medicinal. It is very good for your intestinal tract and calms the entire lymphatic and all glandulars which help the endocrine system stay balanced. And yes they are all connected to the 7 centers or Chakras mentioned by Cayce. So this is a very good plant indeed !      

 Another great  way to grow food is SPROUTING  An excellent source for sure. Seeds are dry and easy to store for a long period of time and sprouts are full of nutrients and protein ! As you can see, I simply made my own sprout containers out of jars with a bunch of holes drilled in the lid for drainage and airation. A very simple and highly effective method. I cover the seed with water and let them soak over nite. Then drain off water and tip jar upside down for a half hour or so to get a good drain. The jar mouth fits inside most cups, so I tilt it to the side a bit so it won't create an airlock seal and drains into the cup. Then just lay jar on its side until the next day and do it again. By the third day, using the over nite soak method , I have sprouts and start eating them. I use mung beans, lintels, wheat, and radish seeds all mixed together and it is excellent. I simply put one tablespoon of mung bean and lintel as well as one teaspoon of wheat and radish and it makes a perfect mix. I eat them raw and put them in eggs and salads . I also make some humus and mix in sprouts and that makes an excellent sort of patte that is really good. I get my sprout seeds and humus mix at Winco grocery and many others carry the bulk products these days. There are also lots of wild plants that are edible and numerous books are available on the subject of foraging for such. I grow dandelions and eat the young leaves and let them grow rather tall, so I harvest the roots for my detox tea. I also gather Burdock root and wild Juniper berries, and Oregon grape, and all go into the detox tea. There are also an abundance of mushrooms that are an excellent food source. I have spent many years gathering shrooms and the best way to get started is to buy a book on identifying mushrooms or go with someone who might show you some tips as well. Shroom gatherers don't reveal there spots too often though, kinda like fishermen and hunters. I bought two books many years ago and they have served me well ! Where I now live there are not near as many shrooms, so climate and moisture have a lot to do with it . When I lived in Eugene, I had places I could go and gather 10 pounds of agaricus in 2 minutes, so in some places they are simply more abundant. We do get morrels and chantrels and inky caps here, but you have to drive a bit to find them. So get familiar with what wild foods and mushrooms are available in your local area. They are very seasonal and weather dependent. You will find it intriguing, fun and a source of food ! I imagine it is highly possible to grow your own mushrooms and that is interesting and something to look into as well.  I am very interested in all manner of wild sources of food like crawfish locally and maybe even some insects. Haven't gone to the bugs yet, but thinking about it. Maybe some grasshoppers to start with. If rolly pollys and earwigs are edible, I'm styling .

All my gardening is really just another experiment of what to grow and how to grow it .

Where I live in eastern Oregon is excellent farm and garden country, 300+ days of sunshine and long hot growing season makes for lots of potential food. There are some things that don't do well here, artichokes are one. It is too hot here and they require a mild coastal climate. I have raised a few, but  not enough, so I quit trying after about 3 years of mediocre results and some outright failures. The point is to stick with what grows well in your climate and soil and seasonal range of growing time. Some places can grow most anything and others have limits, so don't waste your time and effort trying to push a string like I did with artichokes. Focus on what you like to eat and also some basic staples like potatoes and onions and all manner of herbs to be dried, eaten fresh and cooked with. Most common herbs have many medicinal uses also. Tomatoes "can" well and "freeze" well when cooked down a bit to remove some of the moisture. I always manage to grow too many.

A few things I have learned about watering and weeding might be helpful for you also.I always plant each plant in a shallow mote with a small mound around it . This accomplishes two very important issues for me. One, it lets me water directly to the plant as I always water by hand , never with a sprinkler, ever ! And the reason is that you will cut your weeding by about 75-80% by doing so and water only where the plants you want will grow and benefit from the water. Same applies to your fertilizer/mulch. So killing two birds with one stone and I like that part. Another thing I do is to make my own fertilizer tea ? Simply take a plastic 5 gallon bucket and add some dry manure, enough to cover bottom slightly and add water. It will steep in the sun and get a bit funky and that is when it is ready to use, when it smells like a septic tank ! Usually I also add a tablespoon of Alaska fish liquid also. Any flavor manure, it doesn't much matter ? I have horse on hand now and have used cow and bird. Each is a bit different and some hotter than others, but you will figure that out by watching the plants respond and make the ratio accordingly. Start out fertilizing a bit lean and richen as you go. The plants will show you what is OK and what isn't .

And I never use any pesticides ever.I plant a lot of marigolds and that helps. But the best way to avoid bugs and such is to figure out their life cycle and habits and kill them and control them naturally. I have lots of earwigs and rolley polleys and they always live together in my Bachelor buttons by the thousands. I keep the bachelors and other flowers because they attract bees very well. So I figured out that they love a moist dark spot and I went to those spots and killed scads in just minutes and by doing that several times a week and shaking them out of the bachelor buttons they were easy to kill off and control the population with little or no damage to my plants and no pesticides. I mix about 1/4 teaspoon dish soap and a teaspoon vinegar in a quart spray bottle filled with water. Then go out where I already know they are at and kill a bunch off by simply spraying a stream on them or mist depending on how any are present, until I see no more. This puts a huge dent in the population and you have then gained control and............. done deal ! Most bugs breath thru their skeleton frame/shell and that makes them really easy to kill  ? Another good point is that you are being selective and not killing off all the good bugs and critters like worms, lady bugs, bees etc . Pesticides cannot do that, but you can. And it works perfectly every time and your cats and dogs won't be ingesting it or rolling in it and bringing it in the house or even eating it, as they both sometimes eat grass. Most places have different varying bugs so you will figure out what you are dealing with and act accordingly. The solution/ratio mentioned will kill nearly all bugs so figure out their habits, lay a trap and control them.

 I always add compost/humus to my garden areas every fall. Mostly chopped leaves and well cured and dried manures. Rake up your leaves with your lawn mower ? Raise your lawnmower up to about the 3rd notch on the front wheels and put catcher on and slowly eat up the leaves with mower. I also do this with all garden and yard trimmings and waste to include twigs and branches. You will have bags full of excellent mulch material that can be tilled into soil easily and will breakdown faster than whole leaves. Again two birds with one stone, leaves get raked up and mulch created and dumped exactly where you want it with less effort than simply raking up the leaves. I also make my own mulch in a bin. Our soils here need all the humus you can put on because it is very granular and sandy. So I came up with this method so you don't really need to have a mulcher. The mower does a great job, fast and easy. And the material breaks down much faster this way. I like to get a lot accomplished with the least amount of effort and I have gotten to a point that I actually do think about gardening as though MY FOOD does actually depend on it. If you start thinking of gardening in those terms and living it to some degree, you will be a much better and more efficient food producer and you will discover a very important point ? It takes a lot of effort and time to actually grow much of your own food or any for that matter. And it is also fun and quite intriguing to watch it all come together ! 

Once you start thinking in terms of being dependent on that food for survival, all of a sudden it gets far more important and urgent, so it is a good perspective to try and stay in touch with, especially for preparedness or survival types. This year was the first year that I decided to sprout all my own plants from seed and I had about 50% failure. So I learned another very important lesson  Always plant more seed for transplants to account for failures. You can get many more seeds at the end of the season if you make that happen so you will never run short of seed. Lots of little insights learned from getting your hands dirty and experimenting. Who knows, one day the ability and savvy to grow much of your own food may be worth more than gold ? Stranger things have happened to be sure. So all manner of skills acquired are very important going forward and food production stands at the top of the list IMO. Besides I really enjoy being outside and watching stuff grow and watching the bees and birds and such critters. Very relaxing for me in many ways as well as a pleasant learning experience and mild exercise.

Gardening for food and learning !