b-box: Urban-friendly hive aims to encourage the bee population and a colony of home beekeepers

Life & Soul Magazine

b-box is encouraging people to help the bee population by becoming beekeepers with their compact plywood-enclosed colony – their first ever hive designed for home beekeeping on balconies or in backyards.

The b-box, designed by Italian company beeing, is made predominantly of wood that has been cut into panels and layered with polycarbonate to create a warm exterior. Together, these materials form the main structure, which encloses the hive, with a removable panel that allows home beekeepers to view the bees at work. The removable panel makes it easier and safer than lifting the lid on a regular hive, and is not disruptive to the colony.

bees enter via a 2.2 metre long chimney, which has an opening at the top so that the beekeeper can observe the hive without disturbing exit and entry. b-box has also been designed to require less than 1 metre square of space, so it…

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Sage Varieties: Growing Tips and Recipes

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The genus Salvia contains a staggering range of species suitable for every garden use under the sun—and in the shade. But for cooking, none can rival common garden sage (Salvia officinalis) and its cultivars. Sage has long been valued for its contributions to the cook’s palette of flavors. Its robust piney aroma and earthy flavor complement many ingredients. Sage is also an attractive garden plant, particularly in its fancy-leaved forms. Plus, it prospers under a wide range of conditions and adds striking bold texture to mixed plantings.

Growing Info For Sage

• Light: Full sun
• Height: 18 to 24 inches
• Width: 24 to 36 inches
• Bloom time: Late spring, although valued most for its evergreen foliage.
• Soil: Well-drained, tolerant of a wide range of soil types.

What’s the Difference Between Types of Sage?

S. officinalis vary widely in the size and shape of its leaves. Sharp-eyed herbalists…

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Strange Oysters & Other Summer Mushrooms (New Video!)

Greetings!

First, I want to say “thank you!” to every person who has attended one of my foraging programs this year.  One of the best parts of traveling to new areas is meeting and spending time with an incredible number of wonderful people who are thrilled to learn new plants and mushrooms.  I’ve had a blast so far this year hopping around different states and I certainly don’t plan on stopping any time soon!

As a reminder, I’ll be participating in the West Virginia Mushroom Foray from July 19th through the 21st at Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia.  While my Friday morning walk has already filled to max capacity, I’ll be offering a presentation on Saturday for all participants.

Additional instructors this year include such notable authors as Arleen Bessette, Walt Sturgeon, and John Plischke III.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here!

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

Fungally speaking, summer is off to a fruitful start. The ample rains and warmer temperatures have been very conducive to fungal activity here in the Northeast, and if similar conditions persist, 2019 could be a banner year for many summer mushroom species.

While on a recent walk through a local wooded area, I encountered quite an array of mushrooms — some edible, some not so edible, but all fascinating in their own right.

One species in particular caught my eye because of its close resemblance to oyster mushrooms, and upon closer inspection, its true identity was revealed to me.

Have you ever seen a mushroom that looks like this?  Would you consider it to be an oyster mushroom or something else?

Check out the new video to learn more!

Amongst thunderstorms, cloudy skies, and rainbows, this beautiful mushroom contributes significantly to the array of phenomena that characterize the early summer season. Few mushrooms are as photogenic as this one, and if you’d like to learn who this unique fungus is, check out the recent Instagram post!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Growing Edible Flowers in Your Garden

Good Witches Homestead

While gardeners love flowers for their beauty outdoors in the garden and indoors in a vase, few raise them to eat. That’s a shame because many flowers are edible and bring lively flavors, colors, and textures to salads, soups, casseroles, and other dishes. Eating flowers is not as exotic as it sounds. The use of flowers as a food dates back to the Stone Age with archeological evidence that early man ate flowers such as roses.

Of course, flowers have been used to make teas for centuries, but flower buds and petals also have been used from China to Morocco to Ecuador in soups, pies, and stir-fries. Rose flowers, dried day lily buds, and chrysanthemum petals are a few of the flowers that our ancestors used in cooking. In fact, many of the flowers we grow today were originally chosen for the garden based upon their attributes of aroma and flavor, not…

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Fresh Peas, Pasta and Feta

Wylde and Green

We are well on our way to July now, and the peas are ready to harvest. This is a really easy recipe using fresh peas, and garden mint, all you need to add is pasta, lemon juice and pepper.

Ingredients;


350g penne pasta (I used spaghetti as this was all I had in the house)
150g fresh peas
100g fresh broad beans if you have them
2tbsp olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
150g baby spinach if you have any ready to harvest – or you can add a sprinkle of fresh mint
200g feta cheese, crumbled

What you need to do:

  1. Cook the penne in a large pan of boiling water for 5 mins. Add the peas and broad beans and cook for a further 5 mins until the penne is just tender. Drain and return to the pan.
  2. Add the olive oil, lemon zest and juice…

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Sonoran Sweetness: A Gathering

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The cherished time of year in the Sonoran desert is now upon us.  While the desert heats up to temperatures above 110 F, many run for cooler, moister climes and foreign visitors are scorched in a short time.  This heat is necessary, it is a natural process inherent in our desert’s ecology.  To eliminate it in some way would be to lose one of the greatest gifts this desert has to offer us.  Without the intense heat, the fruit of our Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) would not mature properly.  Not many people today know the characteristic sweet taste of the fruit of the Saguaro cactus, known as bahidaj in the Tohono O’odham (native peoples of the Sonoran desert region) language.  It is the O’odham people (often referred to as Papago) who have preserved the knowledge on how to prepare such things as Saguaro syrup (bahidaj sitol), Saguaro jelly…

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Trap Garden: One man’s vision for food secure communities in Nashville and beyond

Life & Soul Magazine

Nashville-based Trap Garden is helping to put fresh foods on to plates for low-income communities living in food deserts by assisting in the creation of community gardens and the promotion of healthy eating.

The Trap Garden seeks to motivate and inspire others to be self-sufficient – to not depend on a major grocery store or business to provide them with their daily needs.

The social enterprise was set up by Robert “Rob Veggies” Horton, whose motivation stems from his own experiences growing up in a St. Louis, Missouri neighborhood with few fresh, healthy food items. Moving to Nashville to attend Tennessee State University (TSU), Robert Horton was frustrated with having to drive miles away from home for a grocery store that supplied quality, fresh products.

The then student set out to solve the issue by getting involved in the community garden at TSU, where he could learn about gardening from people…

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And The Award For June’s Most Bizarre Fungus Goes To…

Greetings!

Before I share a brand new video with you, I wanted to let you know that I’ll be presenting and leading a foraging walk at the annual West Virginia Mushroom Foray.

This upcoming event will take place from July 19th through the 21st at the beautiful Blackwater Falls State Park in Davis, West Virginia, and the lineup of instructors this year includes such notable mycophiles as Arleen Bessette, Walt Sturgeon, and John Plischke III.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here!

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

It’s not every day that you get to see a fungus that appears once every 17 years in your neck of the woods.  Such is the case with a fungal species that targets periodical cicadas.

Over the past few weeks, periodical cicadas have been emerging in parts of western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.  Associated with the appearance of these cicadas is an incredibly fascinating fungus that destroys the genitals and alters the behaviors of these ephemeral insects.

Needless to say, this pathogenic species is highly deserving of the title “June’s Most Bizarre Fungus,” and if you’re interested in learning more about its relationship with our beloved cicadas, check out the brand new video!

Thanks for reading and watching… and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Wine Cap Mushroom Cultivation: Wood Chips, Garden Beds, Recipes, and More

The Druid's Garden

How many times have you seen your neighbors getting tree work done or had tree work done yourself? The landscape company often comes with the big wood chipper and truck and then, after cutting up the wood, hauls that beautiful pile of chips off to some unknown location. Last year, our electric company came through and was doing tree work along our driveway and road to prune and cut trees too close to the power lines. We asked them to dump the wood chips on our property, and they were happy to do so. A lot of times, companies have to pay or go far out of their way to dump wood chips, and they see them as a “waste”; they will almost always dump them for free if you ask!  But a pile of wood chips are harldy a waste–they can offer you multiple yields over a period of…

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Apricot Sponge Recipe

A Hundred Years Ago

apricot sponge

Apricots are my favorite June fruit. Around here, they are only available a few weeks, and each year I eagerly look forward to their appearance at the store. I recently bought some apricots, so was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Apricot Sponge.

Apricot Sponge is a smooth, silky dessert that is served with whipped cream.

My daughter ate some Apricot Sponge, and said, “A top-five recipe.”  In her opinion, this is one of the top five hundred-year-old recipes that I’ve served her. She thinks that it tastes like a luscious dessert that she ate at a fancy restaurant.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

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