Monday, March 7, 2016

A Home that grows its own food



A view of a Jamun (black berry tree), Morinda and grape wine in author's home

To produce all of one’s own food one would have to live on a farm. However, even the smallest apartment, even a small studio apartment can produce some of its own food and it is a pity if a home does not.

Mung bean sprouts, a power house of nutrients can be grown right on a kitchen shelf. Just soak half a cupful of them for eight hours, drain and leave in a covered pot for two or three days while sprinkling with a little water every time you enter the kitchen.In three days it will fill up the pot with delicious mung bean sprouts.

Many useful herbs such as celery, cilantro, parsley and basil are lovely in flower pots by a window. There is even a small pretty tree – the curry leaf tree – that looks lovely in a flower pot and its leaves are a delight when added to vegetarian preparations. Even nicer is a long rectangular container in which they may all grow together as a collage, your indoor micro herbal garden for a delightful new ultra fresh ultra organic garnish to your dinner daily. Please use a sharp scissor to cut off a few leaves at a time and do not pluck so as not to hurt the plant. The difference is similar to a hair cut or pulling hair out from someone's scalp.

Those with a small garden can do much more. Begin with grape wines that need no more than a little place to dig in its roots and a wall to climb on. It helps to provide climate control for the building because it sheds leaves in winter letting the wall warm with sunshine and brings out leaves in spring keeping walls cool from summer heat. Depending on the size of the home, one could have just one or four on four corners of the home. Choose the white grape seedless varieties that make excellent deserts, wine or raisins. The young new leaves are edible and make lovely meat, rice or vegetable wraps called dolma.

The spinach patch in the author's home

Those with a small garden must consider leafy green vegetables too such as spinach and goosefoot weed (lamb’s quarter). The leaves can be consumed fresh in season and dried for winter use.

Freshly plucked Goosefoot leaves on the kitchen table

Then there are trees such as apples, mangoes, almonds, coconut, morinda, white mulberry, pistachio, olives and basswood that have fruit and some have edible leaves. Morinda leaves, flowers and fruits are all edible and basswood leaves it seems make a crisper, sweeter and healthier salad than lettuce. Not all grow in all climates but there is enough to choose from in most any climatic region with the grace of Mother Earth. Those who live in desert like area must especially grow some trees directing their kitchen wash water to the tree. A clever desert dweller may even have two places to bathe on alternate days, a day without soap when water is directed to a few more trees to keep a home delightfully green and cool.

Aside from food such plantations at home provide a sense of peace, security and joy while contributing in bits to improve the planet as a whole, the least one can give back to mother earth that provides food, water and air to breathe every moment of every life that dwells upon it without asking for anything in return.

A view of author's home at night through leaves of a custard apple tree

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