This morning, a group of farmers and organic seed growers have gathered at a hearing in New York City to present oral arguments as the first phase in what could turn out to be an historic lawsuit brought against biotech giant Monsanto.
The suit, Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) et al v. Monsanto, was brought as a pre-emptive suit by a group of 83 co-plaintiffs that seeks, in part, to protect themselves against the alleged patent infringement suits that they fear they will face if their seed becomes contaminated by transgenic (aka GMO) genetics.
“According to the Public Patent Foundation, Monsanto has one of the most aggressive patent assertion agendas in history. Between 1997 and 2010, Monsanto admits to filing 144 lawsuits against America’s family farmers, while settling another 700 out of court for undisclosed amounts.“
Every year I try to buy at least one new amaryllis bulb. What seems like a needless expense in the fall when I am still coming down from a bright and plentiful growing season, is almost essential by the time the long grey days of winter kick in. That little boost of colour and life is worth every penny.
I bought this year’s amaryllis, Hippeastrum papillio aka Butterfly amaryllis back in late September while I was at a garden shop picking up spring flowering bulbs for the garden. I have been longing to acquire this beautiful variety for years, but the price — often over $25 per bulb — put me off. Ever driven by a deal, I threw caution to the wind when I found mine at a $3.00 discount. Hey, it was the last one in the bin!
This is an old project that I originally posted to this site back in the early 2000′s. It was lost when we switched over to a new design, but I’ve brought it back in time for holiday gift-making. (p.s. the photos are small due to the original page design)
You can expect a few more oldies, but goodies to appear here over the next week.
This is a simple, but satisfying gift to make using herbs grown in your own garden. I’ve been making them for years and can fire off a large batch in one night. It’s the perfect gift for those who bathe — which is just about everyone.
What You Need:
- Cotton muslin or pre-made resealable tea bags (large size).
- Ribbon or string
- An assortment of herbs (see recipes below)
- Essential oils (optional)
- Rolled oats, epsom salts, sea salt (see below).
- Cellophane bags, cellophane roll, other packaging.
To make the bags you will first require some unbleached cotton muslin. Other cotton fabrics can be used, but I prefer this kind the most because it is dirt cheap ($2.00 and change for a yard or cheaper if you buy scraps from the ends bin) and has an open weave that holds in herbs yet allows their goodness to leach out easily into bathwater. In the past I have purchased ribbon (I’ll explain its use later), but this year I found some nice seam binding tape in earth tones for a very good price (29 cents a yard).
If you don’t want to sew you can purchase special large-sized, sealable tea bags made especially for this purpose. They are relatively cheap to buy and can be sealed with an iron. However, I guarantee you that even the most inexperienced sewer can make this. Keep in mind that it is going to be used a few times and eventually tossed into the compost heap. Precision is not necessary.
Last weekend while preparing a medley of roasted root vegetables for lunch, I popped outside to collect fresh herbs, as I often do, a pair of scissors in hand.
Living in a place where I can see the garden from the kitchen and simply pop outside to pick herbs on a whim was the dream I had when we were looking for our next place to live. While there was a long list of criteria that superseded this small point, it was ultimately this vision that kept popping up in my mind as an ideal.
Prior to that there was always some barrier. In the apartment there was a separation between our living quarters and the rooftop garden. I was never able to look out at it fondly from indoors and popping out for herbs wasn’t really difficult, but it wasn’t accessible in the way our garden is now. Furthermore, a good portion of my herbs were grown in-ground at the community garden plot, which meant planning ahead and cooking with fresh herbs that weren’t minutes or even seconds off of the plant as they are now. It’s one of those small differences that makes me feel happy and grateful to have found this house, regardless of its many (MANY) faults. We’ve affectionately named it “Home of the Half-Assed” for a reason.
But I digress (as always). The real reason for this post wasn’t to tell you about the garden or my small dream. It was to say that while I was outside collecting herbs, I remembered the Jerusalem artichokes that have been waiting in the ground to be harvested. These chunky tubers taste best after they’ve been touched by the cold weather, but I will admit that the real reason I had put off harvesting them was that I was afraid to face the sheer quantity of tubers that are lurking below the surface, and the work I will need to do to preserve some of them. I’m still dealing with the tomatoes, believe it or not!
The forecast is calling for the year’s first snowfall today followed by a wet and rainy weekend. In order to beat the weather I spent two hours before dark yesterday hustling to get the remaining bulbs and transplants into the ground.
Today the anticipation of spring flowers reminded me of the clusters of white rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida) that were in bloom back in September at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.