Donate any amount – http://bit.ly/2h0KfKw About Urban Farmer Curtis Stone: Curtis Stone runs a commercial urban farm called Green City Acres out of Kelowna, BC, Canada. His mission is to show others how they can grow a lot of food on small plots of land and make a living from it. Using DIY and simple infrastructure, one can earn a significant living from their own back yard or someone else’s.
Ginger root is an incredible addition to almost all styles of cuisine, and it’s surprisingly easy to grow. There are a few different methods you can use, all of which work well. Some people just cut pieces of ginger, making sure a few eyes are on each piece and plant directly. In this video, we are going to be growing ginger from the store by starting it off in bowls of water. Once new shoots and roots start developing from the growth nodes, we can either plant them directly in the soil, or snap them off and plant those pieces directly into the soil. Growing ginger in containers is easy, too – it loves a nutrient-rich, moist soil and plenty of sun. So long as you give it those two things, it’ll grow vigorously and will be ready to harvest about ~4 months from planting. In a perfect world, you’d plant ginger in the spring for a fall harvest, but depending on your climate you can get away with either a shorter or longer growing season. LEARN MORE Epic Gardening is much more than a YouTube channel. I have a website with 300+ gardening tutorials as well as a podcast where I release daily gardening tips in five minutes or less. There’s also a Facebook group with over 1,500 other gardeners sharing their tips. → Website: http://www.epicgardening.com/blog → Podcast: https://apple.co/2nkftuk → FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/epicg… DONATE If you like my videos, articles, or podcast episodes, please consider supporting on Patreon. For rewards, I’ll answer gardening questions and make videos! → https://www.patreon.com/epicgardening SOCIAL MEDIA → Steemit: https://steemit.com/@halcyondaze → Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/epicgardening/ → Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/epicgardening → Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/epicgardening → Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/epicgardening
Sure, you can buy turmeric powder from the spice department to whip up your own golden milk, turmeric lattes, turmeric smoothies, or turmeric tea, but aficionados swear by fresh turmeric for the best flavor and possible health benefits. And while you can find the fresh stuff in health food stores and even mainstream grocery stores, it isn’t cheap.
Luckily turmeric is easy to grow if you have a sunny spot to put a large pot or planter. Give it what it likes and it will grow like a weed and reward you with attractive tropical foliage and a generous harvest of fresh turmeric.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a tropical plant in the same family as ginger. Not a dainty plant, turmeric has large green leaves and grows 3 or more feet tall. As the plant matures each stem sends up a spike of greenish-white and occasionally pink flowers. Like ginger, turmeric thrives in warm, humid conditions and well-drained, neutral soil.
Preparing to Plant
In most parts of the U.S. turmeric will produce best if you plant it indoors in the late winter. Depending on your indoor and outdoor space you can either keep it inside as a houseplant all summer or move it outside once all chance of frost is past and the weather is warm enough to put out your pepper and eggplant seedlings. And if you live in Zones 8-11, you can grow it completely outdoors.
1. Calculate when to plant.
Turmeric takes seven to 10 months from planting to harvest. To figure out when you should plant, count back 10 months from when you usually get your first frost in the fall. My first frost is around mid-October, so I’d start my turmeric between mid-December and mid-March. If your growing season is longer, or you have a large and sunny indoor space to grow it, your timing is less critical, but you’re still likely to get the best results from planting in late winter through spring.
2. Source your rhizomes.
Turmeric is grown from rhizomes, fleshy root-like structures. My local supermarket and health food store both have fresh rhizomes for sale in the winter. Asian or Indian groceries are also likely to stock it, or may be able to order some for you. If you can’t find any locally, Jung Seed sells small potted plants, or you can buy fresh turmeric rhizomes from a number of sellers on Amazon or eBay. (Choose a seller in the U.S. to avoid possible customs issues). Select plump rhizomes with as many bumps (buds) along the sides as possible.
SWAPAN PHOTOGRAPHY/ SHUTTERSTOCK
You will need a 14- to 18-inch pot or planter for each 6 to 8 inches of rhizome, and enough potting soil to fill it. But to start, it’s more practical to sprout your rhizomes in smaller containers and then transplant them into the larger containers once they have a few leaves and are growing well. Here’s how:
1. Cut your rhizomes into sections, with two or three buds on each section.
3. Lay the rhizome sections flat on the soil, and cover with more potting soil.
4. Water well and slip the pots into clear plastic bags.
5. Place the pots or clamshells in the warmest place you can find (86 to 95 degrees is ideal). Sprouting at lower temperatures will be very slow and your rhizomes may even rot rather than sprout. No toasty location? You can make a great germination chamber with a heating pad or a small desk lamp, a picnic cooler, and a thermometer. Or you can buy a small germination chamber for home use. Light or no light is fine at this stage.
Caring for Growing Plants
KANCHANA TIPMONTIAN/ SHUTTERSTOCK
1. Keep things light and warm.
Check on your pots every few days and once the sprouts start to emerge, move the pots to a windowsill or under a grow light. Unless your house is really warm (optimal growing temperature at this stage is 77 to 86 degrees) you will want to put them on a heat mat set to the low 80s. As the plants outgrow their plastic covers, remove them.
2. Water as needed.
Once you open the mini greenhouses you will need to start watering your turmeric as needed; keep the soil moist, but not soggy, and mist the leaves once or twice a day with water to keep the humidity up. Allowing the soil to dry out at any point will reduce your final harvest.
3. Transplant to larger pots.
When your plants are 6 to 8 inches tall, carefully transplant them into larger pots (either the final ones or an intermediate size) full of potting soil. Begin turning the heat mat down several degrees each week until you hit 70 degrees. At this point, you can remove the heat mat as long as your indoor temperature averages at about 68 degrees.
Otherwise, continue using the heat mat. Plants in intermediate-sized pots are ready to go in their final pots or planters when they become top-heavy or start sending up more shoots.
4. Move plants outside.
Move your turmeric outside once all chance of frost is past, when the forecast shows only warm nights ahead. Provide partial shade for the first few days to keep tender leaves from getting sunburned. Continue to water as needed during the summer and fall to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Feed your growing plants by watering every couple of weeks with compost tea or applying a fertilizer recommended for potatoes or root crops.
SWAPAN PHOTOGRAPHY/ SHUTTERSTOCK
Your turmeric is ready to harvest when the leaves and stem start to turn brown and dry, about seven to 10 months after planting. Tip out the plants, soil and all, and shake the soil off your fresh turmeric. Cut the stems off an inch or so above the mass of rhizomes and wash the rhizomes well.
Storing and Eating
LILLI DAYGETTY IMAGES
Rhizomes will stay fresh in the fridge for up to six months in an airtight bag or container; toss them in the freezer to save them for longer. Be sure to set a few of the largest aside for replanting!
You can also make your own turmeric powder. Place the freshly cleaned rhizomes in a pot and cover them with water, bring them to a boil, and simmer until you can easily pierce them with a fork (depending on their size, this may take 45 to 60 minutes or longer).
Drain the cooked rhizomes, rub the skin off with your fingers (optional), and dry them in the sun or a food dehydrator set at 140 degrees until they are brittle and snap cleanly when you try to bend them. Grind dried rhizomes in a spice mill, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle to make turmeric powder for cooking. Pro tip: You may want to wear gloves when handling turmeric rhizomes as they will turn your fingers a bright orange that won’t wash off.
Reishi Mushrooms. You have probably heard them being touted as a great medicinal mushroom and a wonderful healer. Well, I’m not going to tell you anything different. Reishi is kind of a big deal.
Reishi is known as Ling Zhi, which means “spirit plant” or “tree of life mushroom” in Chinese spoken word, and the Chinese characters literally translate to “shaman praying for rain.” Those names should give you an idea of how truly powerful the reishi mushroom is. It was seen as such an important herb in ancient times that it can be found in art depicting Emperors and on temple walls in the hands of the gods and goddesses of old.
WHERE DO THEY GROW?
Reishi grows on decaying hardwood deciduous trees and is native to China. It’s pretty rare to find them in the wild, so people have taken to cultivating these magical friends. It comes in a whole variety of colors, but the red one is considered the most medicinal of them all.
Reishi is considered a three vital tonic. That means that it helps protect and build the Jing, raises the Qi, and deeply supports the Shen of our personal energies. These three aspects of our energy are the keys to life.
The Jing is the energy that we’re born with and the energy that we lose when we’re dying. The Qi takes care of the Jing and keeps it safe from the difficulties that we deal with in his life. The Shen is representative of the larger self and spiritual journey. Wow! No wonder our red mushroom friend is such a big deal.
Reishi is an adaptogen. That means it helps our bodies adjust to the environment that we’re in. It’s great for adrenal fatigue (stress) because it helps us to stay calm in stressful situations – the ancients say that it “calms the spirit.”
It’s anti-inflammatory, a heart and liver protective tonic, and a super antioxidant. Long term use of reishi is considered to promote longevity and keep a person’s agility intact into the later parts of life.
Because they have lots of bioavailable polysaccharides in them, Reishi mushrooms are great for immunity. Polysaccharides are long-chain sugar molecules that help function as building blocks for our bodies and serve as an energy reserve.
HOW DO THEY WORK?
Studies have shown that the polysaccharides in the reishi help build the immune system by activating our immune cells (T-lymphocytes) and increasing phagocytosis, a process where good cells in our body engulf pathogens that could make us sick.
A POWERFUL IMMUNE BUILDER
It also helps increase immune response and causes non-specific activation of the system under attack. Just to add a little bit of the “spirit plant” back into to all this science, that means that the reishi knows what part of your body is being affected, gets in there, brings reinforcements, heals your soldier cells and gives energy to your depleted system. I don’t know about you, but that’s the type of support we want.
All of this basically means that reishi builds and protects our immune systems with one hand tied behind its back (er.. mycelium?).
how to use reishi mushroom for immunity
Reishi isn’t delicious. While it is technically an edible mushroom, it’s almost impossible to eat because it’s tough like leathery wood. Don’t buy the whole mushroom unless you’re using it for decoration or you have some serious grinding tools.
I actually broke a coffee grinder and a pair of scissors trying to cut up a whole mushroom for medicine – that’s a personal problem, I know, but it’s good for you to know so that you don’t make the same mistake.
OPT FOR SLICES
Reishi slices on the other hand make beautiful medicine, and you can snap them apart with your bare hands.
Traditionally, reishi is used in tea or in tincture. I personally tincture it but a tea is perfectly fine too. The taste is very bitter and a lot like a common mushroom.
Take 1-2 large reishi slices and put them in about a quart of water on the stove. You can add other herbs too if you want; licorice root is great because it adds a sweet note to the bitterness.
Let the water boil for at least 15 minutes.
You can let it boil for a very long time, just make sure to add more water as it evaporates off. You can also do this in a crockpot on high for a few hours and it works wonderfully.
Strain it off and drink it when it’s cool!
You need to extract reishi in two different ways. It’s just so special that you need two different methods to pull out all of the bioavailable love. Traditionally, this is an alcohol extraction and a hot water extraction. I know this is a little advanced, but (at risk of being cheesy) if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!
Fill a pint or a quart mason jar with broken or ground reishi.
Pour 2-3 cups of the highest proof of alcohol over it that you have (whiskey or vodka is fine) and set it somewhere out of the way.
Let it sit for at least two weeks, shake it and give it love energy everyday.
Strain out your tincture and set the alcohol aside – DON’T THROW IT OUT, THIS IS YOUR TINCTURE!
Put the reishi mark (that’s what you have left over from the alcohol extraction) into a pot of water and boil it. It’s like making a tea, but you want the water to evaporate off this time. I start with about a quart of water and boil it down to about a cup but it can be up to 2 cups.
Strain the water into the jar that you want your tincture to stay in and compost the reishi (don’t forget to say thank you to your spent herb!).
When your reishi water is cool, slowly pour the reishi alcohol that you made into the water. Tip: Polysaccharides don’t like alcohol and they can come out of solution if you pour the water extraction into the alcohol extraction or if the overall alcohol content is higher than 40%
WHAT ARE THE SOLID FORMS IN MY TINCTURE?
If you see little solids form in your reishi when you combine the alcohol and water that’s okay. Those little guys are the polysaccharides reacting with the alcohol. Just shake it before you use it and you’ll still get all the benefits that reishi will give you!
Voila! A beautiful reishi tincture that will last forever! You can take a dropperful of this guy daily. It’s not an immediate fix to sickness because it’s not fast acting. This is something that you take small amounts of everyday and it helps you to not get sick in the first place (and it works!).
Sources: Rogers, R. (2011). The fungal pharmacy: The complete guide to medicinal mushrooms and lichens of North America. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books.
SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, Ariz. – Jacob Butler eyed a lemon tree—its bright yellow fruit nestled among thick green leaves and set against the blue Arizona sky—then checked on the tiny pomegranates and grapes in the garden as a black-striped lizard darted into the shade of a mesquite tree. In the distance, downtown Phoenix glittered under the rising sun.
”Our garden is a platform to perpetuate our culture.“
“We try to grow what’s been here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years,” says Butler, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community garden coordinator, as he surveyed the land and the plants growing on it. “For the past 13 years we’ve been doing this, so it’s in the minds of the people now.”
Traditionally, Pima and Maricopa tribal members grew lima beans, squash, corn, and other vegetables; used mesquite trees for food, medicine, and other practical purposes; and relied on wild game for food. Today, about 12,000 acres of their reservation are used for industrial farming—cotton, alfalfa, potatoes, and other commercial crops—but, in the garden where Butler works, agriculture isn’t a financial boon: It’s a way to strengthen and cultivate culture.
“What are the stories that go along with this tree? What’s the story we tell that says when squash came to the people or corn came to the people? What are the songs that go with those things?” says Butler. “That’s what we incorporate here: Our garden is a platform to perpetuate our culture.”
According to Butler, tribal members once cultivated myriad varieties of beans, squash, and melons. Now, many of those crops have become extinct and their stories lost, and losing other heirloom foods would have irreversible effects on cultural practices.
Indigenous communities have been sustained by thousands of years of food knowledge. But recent federal food safety rules could cripple those traditional systems and prevent the growth of agricultural economies in Indian Country, according to advocates and attorneys. Of the 567 tribal nations in the United States, only a handful have adopted laws that address food production and processing. Without functioning laws around food, tribes engaged in anything from farming to food handling and animal health are ceding power to state and federal authorities.
To protect tribal food systems, those advocates and attorneys are taking the law into their own hands, literally, by writing comprehensive food codes that can be adopted by tribes and used to effectively circumvent federal food safety codes. Because tribes retain sovereignty—complicated and sometimes limited though it may be—they can assert an equal right with the federal government to establish regulations for food handling.
Recent federal food safety rules could cripple those traditional systems.
“Tribal sovereignty is food sovereignty, and how do you assert food sovereignty?” says A-dae Romero-Briones, a consultant with the First Nations Development Institute, an economic development organization. “You do that through a tribal code.”
Food codes and laws are basic legislation governing agriculture and food processing. Food codes are good things: They are designed to protect consumers from products that could make them sick or even kill them, as with a national salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter in 2008, and, more recently, E. Coli outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants in 11 states.
Since 2011, food laws have become tougher, thanks to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major rewrite of U.S. food-safety laws in more than 50 years. Under FSMA, producers must take into account everything from the packaging and refrigeration of products to how crops are grown, all in the name of safety. These safety controls raise interesting questions in Indian Country.
In many Native communities, for example, access to certified kitchens and state-of-the-art facilities is slim to nonexistent. That means producers often must rely on traditional knowledge to make foods that are safe for consumption. One example, says Romero-Briones, is blue corn products.
“That’s an industry that has existed for generations,” she says. “But if you want to produce it or process it in traditional fashions, you’re probably not going to be able to do that because you’re going to have to do it in a certified kitchen.”
Under FSMA, tribal food economies face two options: Assimilate by complying with federal law or keep tribal food products confined to the reservation.
“It’s one thing to say that we have to develop food and process food in certain ways, but it’s another thing to recognize that tribes have their own versions of food safety,” says Romero-Briones. “Tribes have been developing food economies for thousands of years.”
Another example of how traditional foods are impacted is buffalo slaughter. Dozens of tribes from the Dakotas to Oklahoma are engaged in buffalo management and harvesting. But those hoping to get buffalo products into markets outside of tribal communities often face big hurdles.
”Tribes have been developing food economies for thousands of years.“
Buffalo, for example, is considered an exotic animal under federal guidelines, says Dan Cornelius, with the Intertribal Agriculture Council. And that has repercussions when it comes to what the federal government will support.
“For domestic animals, USDA will pay for the cost of that inspector. For exotics, they don’t,” Cornelius says.
Inspections can run as high as $70 an animal, and all buffalo products must be processed in an FDA-approved facility. By implementing food codes, tribes could find alternative ways to getting buffalo meat inspected and processed. Cornelius says building an infrastructure that lowers costs would allow buffalo meat to get to market faster.
“Ultimately, is it a safe process? If it is, then how can you develop a tribally specific provision that still is ensuring a safe and healthy food but is addressing that barrier where there is a conflict?” he says.
So how do 567 different tribes with 567 different traditions, needs, and goals go about writing food codes specific to their cultural heritages? They call a lawyer. Specifically, Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, a legal think tank at the University of Arkansas.
To Benefit from a Medicinal Mushroom, You Need to Know What You’re Getting
Not all fungi products are equal. You should know what you’re getting when you purchase supplements to reap medicinal mushroom benefits. And with so many products on the market making claims about ingredients and efficacy, it can be challenging to understand what really offers the most benefit to your health.
Read on to learn the myths and facts about medicinal mushroom supplements to get the most functional health support from fungi.
Mushroom Parts & Marketing Hype
The way many supplement brands market and sell their fungi products is cause for concern. If consumers don’t know what to look for when buying a medicinal mushroom supplement, they may easily be misled by the packaging, naming, and labeling of the vast products available.
It can be difficult to distinguish a real mushroom extract made of the mushroom (fruiting body) from one made of the mushroom’s “root” structure, mycelium. Reading a supplement’s packaging and nutritional labels won’t necessarily tell you the whole story either.
Mushroom product labeling requirements from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tell manufacturers to clearly distinguish whether the product contains actual mushroom (the fruiting body) or just the mycelium in any food or supplement product. But not everyone follows these rules and this is low on the FDA’s enforcement priorities.
In 2017, The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) released labelling guidance for Fungi Dietary Ingredients. This is not enforceable but gives recommendations on how Fungal based products should be accurately labelled to clearly inform the consumer on what is in the product.
Too often, brands disguise the true nature of their products and misdirect consumers who want to buy effective medicinal mushroom products. Here we will separate the myths from the facts about mushroom terminology, their active compounds, and the marketing hype, to give you the information you need to buy a supplement with the most medicinal mushroom benefits.
To reap these benefits, you need a supplement with high concentrations of the parts of the fungi that offer the most therapeutic compounds. This article gives you the knowledge you need to make informed purchasing decisions, so you can truly experience the adaptive health benefits of medicinal mushroom supplementation.
Mushroom vs. Mycelium
The Difference between Fungal Parts
A mushroom is the “fruiting body” of a fungal organism called a basidiomycete (except in the case of the cordyceps mushroom — they are an organism called an ascomycete). Basidiomycetes have three distinct parts that develop throughout its lifecycle: spore, mycelium, and mushroom.
The spores are in the surrounding air all around us, and under favorable conditions, these will germinate and begin to grow branching filaments called hyphae. As the hyphae continue to grow, they will fuse together to form mycelium.
Mycelium is an underground network that expands and feeds off of organic plant matter. This phase of the basidiomycetes’ life cycle is the vegetative stage. During this time, the mycelium produces enzymes that break down the plant material in its growth radius and recycles it into beneficial compounds that return to the soil.
In nature, this typically means that mycelium will form large networks of fungal matter by breaking down wood, logs, leaves, and other plant matter. The plant matter on which fungi feed is commonly referred to as the substrate. The mycelium becomes entwined in whatever substrate it’s in, making an inseparable mass of substrate and mycelium.
If environmental conditions are right, the mycelium will produce a mushroom, a.k.a. the fruiting body. The mushroom is actually the reproductive structure of this organism. When fully mature, it produces spores that, when distributed across plant matter, will allow for the creation of new mycelial networks, and ultimately the spread of the fungus.
Mycelial networks can live for hundreds, if not thousands of years and spread across vast distances. In fact, the largest organism on earth is a mycelial mat of a honey mushroom in eastern Oregon that is 890 hectares in size and over 2,000 years old!
It is important to reiterate that just as a mushroom is not mycelium, mycelium is also not a mushroom. These terms are not synonymous and should be accurately differentiated.
Identifying Fillers in Your Supplement
Read the ingredients on the mushroom or mycelium supplement package to see which part of these fungi the producer used. Based on the labelling, many times it is unclear. The product could be any combination of mycelium, mushroom, sclerotium, spore, and substrate matter, dried, ground into a powder and then potentially extracted.
Using all the parts of the fungi might seem like an effective way to reap the most benefits. However, there are parts of the basidiomycete, like the mushroom (fruiting body), that contain more active beneficial compounds than others. The mycelium, on the other hand, when grown on a solid substrate will also contains compounds of whatever substrate material it has been grown on.
The majority of commercial mycelium producers grow it on grains like rice, oats, or sorghum. Therefore, all that grain becomes inseparable from the mycelium and remains in the final product, leading to high amounts of starch.
When myceliated grain forms the bulk of a supplement, the grain acts as a fillerand“dilutes” the product because it doesn’t contain any active compounds. Myceliated grain dramatically reduces how much beneficial compounds are in each serving of your supplement.