I want to be able to eat my front lawn
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Date: Jun 30, 2008 10:02 PM
----------------- Bulletin Message ----------------- From: Revolution (Restore The Republic) Date: Jun 30, 2008 6:50 PM
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The Edible Front Yard
..Submitted by SadInAmerica on 2008, June 29 - 9:22pm.
Clarence and Rudine Ridgley can feed their entire block with the produce from their "Edible Estate", a community garden and art project commissioned by the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore that seeks to bring the garden from the backyard to the front.. - Leslie Furlong photo
Clarence Ridgley is the most popular guy on his block, and it’s all thanks to his lawn. In April, Ridgley transformed his neatly trimmed yard into a garden of tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, lettuce, beets and herbs. And because the plot sits in front of his home in Baltimore, the bountiful harvest is visible — and available — to anyone who wanders by."People will come to my yard and pick up an onion sprout and start eating it on the spot," he says. "I’ve met more people in the past two months than I have the past 22 years of living here.."
Ridgley is one of five homeowners in the U.S.
to participate in the project known as "Edible Estates," in which homeowners trade their mowed and ornamental lawns for artistic arrangements of organic produce. Los Angeles-based architect Fritz Haeg launched the campaign in July 2005, after pundits and politicians had divided the country into Red and Blue states for the presidential election. Haeg says he was drawn to the lawn — that "iconic American space" — because it cut across social, political and economic boundaries. "The lawn really struck me as one of the few places that we all share," he says. "It represents what we’re all supposedly working so hard for — the American dream.."
The problem, as Haeg sees it, is that the "hyper-manicured lawn" is looking increasingly out of date. In the 1950s, when suburbia first began to sprawl, a perfectly trimmed front yard embodied the post-war prosperity Americans aspired to. Today, amid rising fuel costs, food safety scares and growing environmental awareness, a chemically treated and verdant but nutritionally barren lawn seems wasteful, he says..
The concept of tilling one’s front yard is not a new one. In 1942, as the U.S. emerged from the Great Depression and mobilized for World War II, Agriculture Secretary Claude R.
Wickard encouraged Americans to plant "Victory Gardens" to boost civic morale and relieve the war’s pressure on food supplies — an idea first introduced during The Great War and picked up by Canada, the U.S. and Great Britain. The slogan: "Have Your Garden, and Eat It Too." Soon gardens began popping up everywhere, and not just American lawns: the Chicago County Jail, a downtown parking lot in New Orleans, a zoo in Portland, Ore. In 1943, Americans planted 20.5 million Victory Gardens, and the harvest accounted for nearly one-third of all the vegetables consumed in the country that year..
Though Haeg’s approach to home-grown produce is unique; his enthusiasm for gardening is not. Twenty-five million U.S. households planted vegetable and fruit gardens in 2007, according to Bruce Butterfield of the National Gardener’s Association, and that number is expected to increase by several million this year. The waiting list for the USDA’s Master Gardener Program, which involves nearly 90,000 volunteers in all 50 states who educate and assist the public with horticulture projects, is getting longer every year, says Bill Hoffman, National Program Leader for Agriculture Homeland Security. Even urban dwellers are returning to the land; in Austin, Texas, for example, the wait for community gardens is three years..
"It comes as no surprise to me," Butterfield says. "Gas prices, food prices, salmonella — the world has gone absolutely crazy. And for a lot of people, that brings up this need to take control over what happens in their own yard. If all goes to hell, you can just lock the gate and stay at home.."
In fact, the average American garden has proven to be a surprisingly accurate social and economic barometer.
The upsurge in fuel prices in 1975 spawned a similar gardening boom, with nearly 49% of the population growing some sort of produce. Then, as the prosperity of the ’90s trickled down to American yards, the pendulum swung back toward aesthetics over sustenance..
"Back in the 1990s, when things were booming, the gardening movement was all about Martha Stewart — spending lots of money hiring people to make these beautiful, ornamental spaces," says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association. Nowadays, "growing your own food can be a political statement that you have a personal connection with your food and where it’s coming from, versus going to a grocery store and grabbing whatever is on the shelf.."
But while some gardeners might be trying to save a few bucks or avoid commercially farmed produce, many horticulturists believe the gardening boom is more about lifestyle than economics. And unlike the concept of government-sponsored, "top-down" Victory Gardens, Edible Estates is a grassroots effort. Ridgley, for one, says his garden is as much about community and beauty as it is about food. "This is an art exhibit that just happens to be in my front yard," he says..
Haeg, meanwhile, hopes his project will prompt more Americans to rethink their yards, and where they plant their gardens. He hopes to plant two more Edible Estates next year. "This is a wonderful opportunity to reconsider how we’re living, which I don’t think is so great anyway." And with 80% of Americans living in homes with access to a yard, the potential for growth is enormous. As Haeg says, "the front lawns are there waiting.."
Food Riots Will Come ...How to Grow Your Own Food!
Some of us are ready to hear this and some aren't. I am..
Mel Bartholomew, Originator and Author of Square Foot Garden
Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew's Official Site
What is Square Foot Gardening?
Square foot gardening Intro
Square foot gardening - picking plants
Square foot gardening - Less weeding
Square foot gardening - what materials are needed
Square foot gardening - How to assemble pt 1
Square foot gardening - How to assemble pt 2
Square foot gardening - Layout Tips
Square foot gardening - How to Make Grids for Square Foot Gardens
Square foot gardening - What soil to use
Square foot gardening - How to layer soil
Square foot gardening - How to Add Compost to Square Foot Gardens
Build a Square Foot Garden
When you think of growing your own food, you probably think of endless rows of corn, the middle of nowhere, people in overalls and dial-up internet You're also probably thinking about hours spent planting seeds, mulching leaves and plowing soil
But there's a better way to harvest your own crops that works especially well for those of use living in urban areas (with high-speed internet and no room to drive a tractor) It's known as square foot gardening
Square foot gardening is a variation on what's known as the French Intensive or Biointensive method of farming Mel Bartholomew helped popularize the "square foot" name and even has a book on the subject
The concept is pretty simple, and you don't need a book or a change of national status to get a highly productive garden going We'll walk you through the basic steps to getting started on your own tiny plot of land
1 - Square Foot Gardening in a Nutshell
The square foot concept is simple. First we'll build a raised bed..
That way there's no need to worry about poor soil (or total lack of soil -- you can even build a raised bed atop a concrete patio) We'll use our own soil mixture
Next, you divide your bed into sections of one square foot each -- hence the name -- and then plant vegetables in just the amount of space they need For instance, while you might only be able to fit one tomato plant in a square, it isn't hard to stuff in a whole bunch of carrots, onions or other smaller vegetables
The main advantages of the square foot system are less watering (great for drought areas), easier weeding (no long rows to wander down), and a greatly reduced workload
On the downside, you won't be able to create a corn maze come October
But with a little work, you should have fresh veggies on the table well through the end of summer
2 - How to Proceed
The first step is to pick a decent section of your yard for gardening Look for an area that gets enough sunlight for all the plants you'd like to grow
Once you've selected an area you can dig down for an added bit of depth if you like (you can even double dig the soil if you're looking for a workout)
You can achieve a perfectly healthy garden without digging
3 - Get Your Wood
The next thing to do is construct your beds. You can make the beds whatever size you'd like, but for beginner we recommend a 4' x 4' plot..
It's small enough that you won't feel overwhelmed and big enough to yield a decent crop It also just so happens that most lumber comes in 8' lengths, so you only need to buy two boards and have your local hardware shop saw them in half for you
Tip: Since your garden will be out in the elements all summer, you might think about getting pressure treated wood which is better at repelling water -- You may want reconsider..
Not only is pressure treated wood much more expensive, it has a number of chemicals in it that can leech into your soil It is possible that a small quantity can leach into your vegetables (see this study for more information)
Make sure you get something thick enough A couple of 10 x 2 x 8' boards should do the trick
TIP You can buy a small roll of strap metal that is about 1/2" wide with holes in it (to nail through)..
Nail about a 1' section around each corner of your box This is what holds my garden box together after several years' of heavy use
4 - Put It Together
Screw your boards together and build the box. You'll just need a drill and some good size screws..
Sink at least three screws at each end When soil gets wet, it's quite heavy and you don't want your garden to burst at the seams
Next, fill your new box with soil. Mel Bartholomew sells a special mix of soil tailored to square foot gardening. His mixture is 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite..
With the exception of vermiculite, it's pretty easy get the other ingredients on your own In fact, even regular old potting soil will work though you may need to fertilize a bit more
Tip: Many organic markets like Earth Fare compost their leftover and unsold vegetables..
Try asking your local market if they have some compost you could buy on the cheap Or start your own compost
The next step is to mark off your grid. You might be able to find a wooden grid at the lumbar yard, or you can make your own..
If you're lazy, you can use string, which works just as well Just make some marks at one-foot intervals along each side of the garden
Then use either some small screws or nails to hold your string in place and stretch them across your garden, creating one foot squares
5 - Planting
Now the fun part..
If you're starting from seed, make sure you start early enough -- just after the last frost Check with your local nursery if you're unsure when to plant in your area
Planting a square foot garden properly depends on what you're planting. Consult the directions on your seed packets to see how far apart the plants need to be in order to thrive..
Generally you should plant in a grid of either 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot If you feel like you've packed the plants too close, you can always thin them as they grow
As for what you should grow, that's up to you Plant things you like and don't limit yourself just the vegetables -- herbs and flowers will work as well
Then just sit back and wait for nature to take it's course..
Water your garden by hand with a watering can You probably won't need to fertilize since we used such rich soil to begin with
When you harvest a particular crop, go ahead and dig out that square foot and replenish the soil
Plant again if there's still time left in your growing season
5 - Tips and Tricks
Stuck in an upstairs apartment which no space at all? All is not lost. It won't offer as much space, but you can check out container options, which work something like a square foot garden..
You can get good results from plants grown in large self-watering pots on a patio or balcony Check out this Guide to Container Gardening for more info
If you want to get really fancy with your garden (or if you happen to travel a lot) you can hook up an automated drip watering system..
It isn't too hard to do, and some hardware stores even sell complete kits that contain everything you need Check out this photo series on Flickr, which covers the essentials to setting up a small drip irrigation system
And there you have it. Sit back and enjoy a summer full of fresh vegetables, herbs and flowers without the back-breaking work. Once you've done it for a while, you may want to expand your garden..
Perhaps next year do two plots or even three Just remember to leave some room between then so you can get to your plants easily for watering and harvesting
Why food prices will go through the roof in coming months
By F William Engdahl
Online Journal Guest Writer
Apr 4, 2008, 00:40
A deadly fungus, known as Ug99, which kills wheat, has likely spread to Pakistan from Africa, according to reports..
If true, that threatens the vital Asian Bread Basket including the Punjab region
The spread of the deadly virus, stem rust, against which an effective fungicide does not exist, comes as world grain stocks reach the lowest in four decades and government subsidized bio-ethanol production, especially in the USA, Brazil and EU are taking land out of food production at alarming rates..
The deadly fungus is being used by Monsanto and the US Government to spread patented GMO seeds
Stem rust is the worst of three rusts that afflict wheat plants. The fungus grows primarily in the stems, plugging the vascular system so carbohydrates can't get from the leaves to the grain, which shrivels. Ug99 is a race of stem rust that blocks the vascular tissues in cereal grains including wheat, oats and barley..
Unlike other rusts that may reduce crop yields, Ug99-infected plants may suffer up to 100 percent loss
In the 1950s, the last major outbreak destroyed 40 percent of the spring wheat crop in North America. At that time governments started a major effort to breed resistant wheat plants, led by Norman Borlaug of the Rockefeller Foundation. That was the misnamed Green Revolution..
The result today is far fewer varieties of wheat that might resist such a new fungus outbreak
The first strains of Ug99 were detected in 1999 in Uganda. It spread to Kenya by 2001, to Ethiopia by 2003 and to Yemen when the cyclone Gonu spread its spores in 2007..
Now the deadly fungus has been found in Iran and according to British scientists may already be as far as Pakistan
Pakistan and India account for 20 percent of the annual world wheat production. It is possible as the fungus spreads that large movements could take place almost overnight if certain wind conditions prevail at the right time. In 2007, a three-day wind event recorded by Mexico’s CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), had strong wind currents moving from Yemen, where Ug99 is present, across Pakistan and India, going all the way to China. CIMMYT estimates that from two-thirds to three-quarters of the wheat now planted in India and Pakistan are highly susceptible to this new strain of stem rust..
One billion people live in this region and they are highly dependent on wheat for their food supply
These are all areas where the agricultural infrastructure to contain such problems is either extremely weak or non-existent..
It threatens to spread into other wheat producing regions of Asia and eventually the entire world if not checked
FAO world grain forecast
The 2007 World Agriculture Forecast of the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome projects an alarming trend in world food supply even in the absence of any devastation from Ug99. The report states, “Countries in the non-OECD region are expected to continue to experience a much stronger increase in consumption of agricultural products than countries in the OECD area. This trend is driven by population and, above all, income growth -- underpinned by rural migration to higher income urban areas . . . OECD countries as a group are projected to lose production and export shares in many commodities . . . Growth in the use of agricultural commodities as feedstock to a rapidly increasing biofuel industry is one of the main drivers in the outlook and one of the reasons for international commodity prices to attain a significantly higher plateau over the outlook period than has been reported in the previous reports.” [my emphasis -- w..
The FAO warns that the explosive growth in acreage used to grow fuels and not food in the past three years is dramatically changing the outlook for food supply globally and forcing food prices sharply higher for all foods, from cereals to sugar to meat and dairy products. The use of cereals, sugar, oilseeds and vegetable oils to satisfy the needs of a rapidly increasing biofuel industry, is one of the main drivers, most especially the large volumes of maize in the US, wheat and rapeseed in the EU and sugar in Brazil for ethanol and bio-diesel production..
This is already causing dramatically higher crop prices, higher feed costs and sharply higher prices for livestock products
Ironically, the current bio-ethanol industry is being driven by US government subsidies and a scientifically false argument in the EU and USA that bio-ethanol is less harmful to the environment than petroleum fuels and can reduce C02 emissions. The arguments have been demonstrated in every respect to be false. The huge expansion of global acreage now planted to produce biofuels is creating ecological problems and demanding use of far heavier pesticide spraying while use of biofuels in autos releases even deadlier emissions than imagined. The political effect, however, has been a catastrophic shift down in world grain stocks at the same time the EU and USA have enacted policies which drastically cut traditional emergency grain reserves. In short, it is a scenario preprogrammed for catastrophe, one which has been clear to policymakers in the EU and USA for several years..
That can only suggest that such a dramatic crisis in global food supply is intentional
A plan to spread GMO?
One of the consequences of the spread of Ug99 is a campaign by Monsanto Corporation and other major producers of genetically manipulated plant seeds to promote wholesale introduction of GMO wheat varieties said to be resistant to the Ug99 fungus..
Biologists at Monsanto and at the various GMO laboratories around the world are working to patent such strains
Norman Borlaug, the former Rockefeller Foundation head of the Green Revolution, is active in funding the research to develop a fungus resistant variety against Ug99, working with his former center in Mexico, the CIMMYT and ICARDA in Kenya, where the pathogen is now endemic. So far, about 90 percent of the 12,000 lines tested are susceptible to Ug99. That includes all the major wheat cultivars of the Middle East and west Asia. At least 80 percent of the 200 varieties sent from the United States can't cope with infection..
The situation is even more dire for Egypt, Iran, and other countries in immediate peril
Even if a new resistant variety were ready to be released today, it would take two or three years' seed increase in order to have just enough wheat seed for 20 percent of the acres planted to wheat in the world
Work is also being done by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the same agency which co-developed Monsanto’s Terminator seed technology. In my book, Seeds of Destruction, I document the insidious role of Borlaug and the Rockefeller Foundation in promoting the misnamed Green Revolution, as well as patents on food seeds to ultimately control food supplies as a potential political lever..
The spreading alarm over the Ug99 fungus is being used by Monsanto and other GMO agribusiness companies to demand that the current ban on GMO wheat be lifted to allow spread of GMO patented wheat seeds on the argument they are Ug99 stem rust resistant
William Engdahl is a geopolitical risk consultant and the author of "Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation" (www.globalresearch.ca) and "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" (Pluto Press)..
He may be contacted at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net
Growing Organic Food Inside Your Home Year-Round
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From: BOBBY ELECTRIC(ANTI-NWO-HIPHOP)
Date: Jun 1, 2008 9:13 PM
*REPOST THIS BULLETIN*(to repost hit reply then copy code then paste code onto new bulletiN) Growing Organic Food Inside Your Home Year-Round Windowsill Gardening By Pauline Lloyd Growing Green International 9, 2/22/2008 Straight to the Source
Don't worry if you haven't got a garden or allotment! For a surprising amount of food can be produced indoors, vegan organically, either on your windowsill or on a well-lit kitchen surface.
The following plants will all do well indoors:
Salad greens are easy to grow and can be produced all the year round indoors, ever so cheaply. So, the next time you buy fruit and vegetables, save any empty plastic punnets as these are ideal for this purpose. You will need to line the base of the punnet with several layers of paper kitchen towel and this should be dampened with water before sprinkling on the seeds. Try using rape, mustard or cress seeds which should all grow well..
After sowing the seeds, place the punnet in a brown paper bag and keep it in a dark cupboard, perhaps underneath the sink, until the seeds have germinated and the seedlings are an inch or so high. Then it can be brought out into the daylight and the bag removed. But don't place it on a very sunny windowsill, or the seedlings will dry out too rapidly and become stressed..
You should check the seedlings regularly to make sure that the paper is still damp and water or spray if necessary. When they are about 2-3 inches high, the seedlings can be cut off with scissors, rinsed and used as a tasty garnish for salads or sandwiches. Alternatively, buckwheat and sunflower greens make an excellent substitute for lettuce. These grow well in small plastic trays and the sorts of trays that can sometimes buy mushrooms in are ideal..
Soak the seeds (which should still have their shells on) in a jam jar for 12 hours, then drain off the water and leave the seeds to sprout for a day before sowing. To sow: Place a layer of soil (or potting compost) in the plastic tray and distribute the seeds evenly on the surface, covering them with a thin layer of soil. Dampen the soil daily. The greens should be ready for harvesting in about 7 days and are also easily harvested with scissors..
Wheatgrass also grows well in trays and can be grown either on soil or on dampened kitchen towels. However, wheatgrass is usually juiced in a special juicer, rather than eaten, although you can also chew it like gum! Wheatgrass juice has many amazing curative properties and it is full of vitamins, minerals and enzymes and of course chlorophyll. I would recommend that you read Ann Wigmore's book, The Wheatgrass Book, if you want to find out more about how to grow it and about its medicinal properties. Sprouts Many grains, pulses, nuts and seeds can be sprouted and are easily grown indoors on a windowsill, either in trays or in special sprouting jars. And sprouts are truly amazing! They are full of vitamins, enzymes and minerals and have many features, which make them far superior to other foods For example they are inexpensive to grow, need little preparation, can usually be eaten raw and some even have anti-cancer properties.
And what could be fresher, than a handful of sprouts removed from a jar in your kitchen, rinsed, then eaten straight away?
If you want quick results, then try sprouting some soaked, hulled, organic sunflower seeds. These can be ready in a day or two and green lentil sprouts also grow very quickly. Alfalfa is one of the most nutritious sprouts to grow and makes an excellent garnish, but I actually prefer the taste of red clover, which is supposed to be especially good if you are menopausal. I also really like the taste of broccoli sprouts, but these seeds are very expensive to buy and not always easy to find and so I usually grow my own..
If you would like to try this, then leave some purple sprouting broccoli to go seed in a corner of your garden. You need to leave at least two plants next to one another to be sure of producing seed and you may need to protect the ripening seedpods from birds. When the pods are dry shell out the seeds. It's fiddly, but well worth the effort, as you will save a fortune! Legumes are also worth sprouting. Try chick peas, peas and aduki beans. Wheat can also be sprouted and is used to make the refreshing drink known as Rejuvelac, which is supposed to be good for the intestinal flora. And of course wheat sprouts are also used to make sprouted wheat bread..
When growing sprouts, if you are short of space, then try one of the tiered tray systems such as the Beingfare Salad Sprouter, which allows you to grow several varieties of sprouts on top of one another. It is also possible to buy special sprouting jars with mesh lids, which allow easy rinsing and draining of your sprouts. Of course if you are hard up for cash you can simply use clean jam jars, covered with a piece of cheesecloth (muslin) and held in place with an elastic band. It is possible to buy nylon sprouting bags from the Fresh Network, which are more portable than most sprouting systems and are useful for taking on holiday. Herbs and Other Plants Many herbs will grow well on a windowsill and are useful for adding extra flavour to food. Parsley is rich in vitamins and will grow well in a pot or small trough indoors. I use the variety Champion Moss Curled and make sowings in March and August for an all year round supply.
Germination seems to be more reliable than from an outdoor sowing and it is especially useful to have a small pot of parsley growing indoors in the winter as it saves going out in the garden and getting the feet wet!
Bush Basil also grows well in containers and so does Winter Savoury and both of these can be sown indoors in April or May. Chives is also an excellent indoor container plant and so is Pennyroyal and you could even try growing your own Cayenne peppers on a sunny windowsill! Also watercress does not necessarily need running water.
The Organic Gardening Catalogue offers a type of watercress that does well in a well-watered pot and if you grow it indoors, you should hopefully escape the caterpillars which can quickly strip the plant bare!
My indoor garden started with a Royal Flush: During a poker game with friends, I was halving an avocado for guacamole when I realized, to my complete shock, that I had a good hand. Instead of pausing the game to throw the pit in the trash, I poked a hole in the soil of the nearest houseplant, dropped in the pit and forgot about it. I was reminded a month later when the fast-growing avocado plant took over the pot. You, too, can grow an indoor garden with kitchen scraps usually thrown onto the compost heap.
Garlic: 1. Plant a few garlic cloves with pointed tip facing up in a pot with loamy organic soil.
2. Place the pot on a sunny windowsill and water regularly like a houseplant.
3. Green garlicky shoots emerge in a week or so. Harvest with a scissors to using in cooking or as a tasty garnish for soups, salads and baked potatoes.
Green Onions: 1. Use green onions with healthy, white roots attached to the bulb. Snip off green tops for cooking with a scissors. Leave a little green top on the onion bulb..
2. Plant the entire onion while leaving the short top above ground in a small pot filled with a loamy, organic potting soil. Make sure your container has drainage holes. Put in a sunny windowsill and water once a week or when soil feels dry to the touch..
3. Harvest new green shoots with scissors to use for cooking or as a tasty garnish. Continue to leave the onion in the soil. With each new growth the onion will taste more potent. After each harvest of onion tops, dress the topsoil with organic compost.
Enjoy green onion tops in stir-fries, omelets, and in sandwiches all winter long
Pineapple: 1. Indoor pineapple plants rarely produce flowers and fruit, but their striking foliage adds a touch of exotic to any houseplant collection. All you need to grow one is the green top you cut off when you eat the pineapple. For best results, use a pineapple that has fresh center leaves at the crown. Lob off the top, right where the crown meets the fruit. Peel off the bottom leaves and clean off the leftover fruit. Let the top rest a day before planting..
2. Fill a shallow pot with rich, loamy organic soil mixed with a few tablespoons of well-rinsed coffee grounds. Pineapple grows best in an acidic soil. Plant the pineapple top so the soil is even with the bottom of the crown..
3. Water well and mist the leaves and crown with a diluted, organic liquid fertilizer. As a member of the Bromeliaceae family, which also includes air plants, pineapple plants take much of their nourishment not from the soil but from nutrients in the moist air..
Avocado: 1. For best results use only a ripe avocado. Carefully halve the fruit and rinse the pit. Pat dry and let sit overnight in a warm, dry spot. The next day, peel off any of the parchment-like skin from the pit.
2. Place the pit with the base (the wider end) toward the bottom in a 7-inch pot full of loamy, rich organic soil. Make sure the tip is above the soil, exposed to light for proper germination. Water thoroughly.
3. If your apartment is dry, place a clear plastic cup over the exposed seed tip to serve as a mini-greenhouse. Though the plant does not need direct light to germinate, placing the pot on a sunny windowsill will speed growth..
4. Continue to water every week and make sure the soil doesn't dry out completely. The pit may take over a month to germinate so be patient..
5. When the sprout emerges and grows to about 4 inches, add another layer of organic soil to cover the pit completely. This not only protects the seed, but also any roots that may poke through the soil in search of nourishment..
6. Once the plant starts growing, it may remind you of the story "Jack and the Beanstalk." You can watch the plant grow tall for a year (supported with a wooden rod) and let it branch on its own, or make a decision to prune it and force it to branch, making a sturdier plant. If you choose to prune, it's best to trim with a diagonal cut 2 inches from the top. Be careful as you prune not to cut the main stem more than 1/3 of its height..
7. Continue to add organic compost to fertilize the soil with each pruning and water as you would a houseplant. Only repot the fast-growing plant when it is 6 times taller than the diameter of the pot..
8. Though avocado plants do not bear fruit if grown indoors, you can plant multiple avocado pits at various times in the same pot for a more interesting arrangement..
The Sprouter's Handbook by Edward Cairney (Argyll Publishing, 1997).
Sprout For the Love of Everybody by Viktoras Kulvinskas.
The Sproutman's Kitchen Garden Cookbook by Steve Meyerowitz..
The Organic Gardening Catalogue, Riverdene Business Park, Molesey Rd, Hersham, Surrey. KT12 4RG. (Tel: 01932 253666.) Sells a good selection of seeds for sprouting and also stocks the Beingfare Salad Sprouter, sprouting jars, a manual wheatgrass juicer and books.
John Chambers, 15 Westleigh Rd, Barton Seagrave, Kettering, Northants, NN15 5AJ. (Tel: 01933 652562.) Offers a selection of seeds for sprouting.
The FRESH Network, PO Box 71, Ely. Cambs. CB7 4GU. (Tel: 0870 800 7070). Sells sprouting jars and nylon sprouting bags, plus a number of books on sprouting.
Suffolk Herbs, Monks Farm, Coggeshall Road, Kelvedon, Essex CO5 9PG. (Tel: 01376 572456.) Sells seeds for sprouting, sprouting equipment and books on herbs.
Note: all of the seeds mentioned in this article can be obtained from The Organic Gardening Catalogue.