Friday, July 29, 2011

Delicious Sprout Meals
Veggie Sub with Crimson & Clover Sprout Mix

Here are just a few of the numerous dishes I made with the variety of sprouts available! This sandwich was gobbled up quickly. The Crimson & Clover mix was fresh and crunchy but at the same time very light.

California Mungzuki Salad

The Mungzuki Mix combines Mung Bean and Adzuki sprouts, both substantial and robust. This mix is perfect when you want something a little more substantial. It's a good substitute for meat while at the same time light enough to use in salads. In addition to mixing it with feta and avacado as you see here, I've also made salads combining it with steamed asparagus.

Tex Mex Black Bean Soft Tacos with Sunflower Sprouts

If you love Mexican or Tex Mex style food then try the organic Black Sunflower Sprouts with corn tortillas and your favorite fixings! Sunflower Sprouts are thick and hearty and can be used in place of lettuce in any fresh dish. I would normally put Avacados in this too but ran out when the sprouts were ready to use.

These sprouts have a distinctive "green" flavor which is both refreshing and earthy. They have lots of chloraphyl in them, especially if you put them where they can get some light during the few days before harvest. When you eat them you can really tell you're eating something packed with nutrition!

I have even noticed my skin feeling more youthful since eating all these sprouts over the past few weeks!

Besides, I think I've grown about 2 pounds of this material and still have about half of the seeds left. It has saved me alot of money at the grocery store this month! I plan to continue this on a regular basis!

If you'd like to give this a try go to Moonlight Micro-farm and purchase some seeds for yourself.

She's currently offering a 15% discount to readers who enter the coupon code ALN15OFF at check-out! Be sure to try out her seeds and make use of this deal soon. You'll
be glad you did!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Woman Prosecuted (and Persecuted) for Growing Vegetables in Her Own Yard!
OMG! Tonight as I was looking for some tips to help my fruit trees on Youtube I was getting ready to sign off when I came upon the story of Julie Bass, a woman from Oak Park, Michigan who was in the National news recently because she's being taken to court by the City, and could even face jail time for growing a vegetable garden in her front yard. The City cites some vague policy that says plantings in the front yard in the City must be "suitable plant material" although there is nothing that actually states that vegetables are not suitable. They are interpreting "suitable" to mean that which is "common" in the area. As a fellow planter and supporter of DIY I could not go to bed without writing about this in my blog, as from what I understand, her court date is today.

There were several videos about this situation posted on Youtube, one of them from a man in California with a magnificent vegetable garden, producing enough fresh food probably to fully sustain him. More and more people have to resort to growing their own food (myself included).

I went to her blog; and also read some of her own postings, one of which really moved me. It was about the fact that the city had villified her and attempts to set her apart from those in her community but in reality she's not really any different from anyone else.

She lives in a neighborhood where most of her neighbors actually like what she's done with her yard and the neighborhood children enjoy helping with the gardening. She is somebody who was just going about the business of living and some busybody took it upon herself to turn her in (and that particular neighbor after turning her life upside down over what should have been a non-issue hid behind a disguised voice when interviewed by the TV news station, and wouldn't allow her face or identity to be revealed).

It occurred to me that not only was this mightily unfair that such a thing could have been so blown out of proportion based on one complaint but it could very possibly be unconstitutional; a violation of her property or other rights to live as a free citizen of the United States.

Would the city of Oak Park rather she seek government assistance to pay for food than for her to grow her own? Clearly they have not fully thought through the full ramifications of their position. And if they should prevail in court what is that going to do in other municipalities where other people have to rely on home grown food for their survival? Hunger in this country is very real and ever-present and right now with unemployment being at an all-time high (and many unemployed are not even officially counted), the citizens of this country cannot afford to lose any liberties.

Food prices are increasing yet salaries are not. Those who are not out and out laid off from their jobs are likely to have their salary cut and/or have their hours reduced. Many people still cannot afford health insurance. Governments all over this country are saying they cannot afford to operate and are cutting back needed and vital services.

Going after private citizens in their own homes to challenge what they choose to do with their own yards is not the answer and it will accomplish nothing but making both parties increasingly broke.

Before I get too long-winded with this I want to let you readers know what you can do to support Julie Bass in her good fight against this ludicrous ordinance. To reach somebody fastest

Please e-mail Kevin Rulkowski (Director/City Planner) at
and/or call (248) 691-7450
Fax: (248) 691-7165
Mon-Thurs. 8 AM - 5 PM

I just sent off this e-mail to Mr. Rulkowski;

Dear Director Rulkowski,

I have been hearing about the plight of Julie Bass on the news and on the web and would like to ask that you drop this case against her and allow her to continue to grow produce in her front yard. It is my understanding that only one neighbor disagreed with the vegetable garden and that the majority of the community is behind Ms. Bass in this use of her yard.

This one neighbor should not be allowed to blow such a thing so out of proportion and cause trouble for this woman who is only trying to live her life. This garden is doing nothing dangerous to anyone in her community and it sounds as though the root of the controversy is merely a matter of personal taste.

I think if you'd really think about this you'd realize that to legislate against something like this would set a very bad precedent and at a time when many branches of government are operating at a severe deficit and that persuing charges against someone for something like this really takes money away from much more serious matters.

Besides, would you rather people go for public assistance to pay for their food? Don't you think the alternative to growing your own food would be even more costly? Think about if you or someone in your own family were laid off or not making enough money to eat for the whole month. What would you do? Wouldn't you want to do everything in your power to remain independant and provide for your family? That is all this woman is trying to do. What she does with her own property should be her decision as long as it does not endanger anybody else, and this doesn't.

That one neighbor might not like how it looks, but part of being neighbors is having tolerance for how others live their lives even if you wouldn't live that way, and it sends the wrong message to indulge somebody who has made a mountain out of a mole hill when there really isn't a vital reason for it. This is a difficult time in our country and instead of divisiveness our government officials should be encouraging communities to pull together and support one another, not to nitpick every tiny detail nor to abuse local ordinances and make others' lives that much harder.

There may come a time when growing a garden in one's front yard becomes a necessity for most people and that time may be sooner than you think. It is likely that this recession is going to continue for quite awhile and the worst may be yet to come.

Why not give this woman a break and consider this her personal decision and something the government should stay out of. There may be constitutional issues that supercede City ordinances on this issue anyhow. People have been gardening for food since the days of the early settlers and I think a case could be made that it is a well-accepted practice even in today's society.


Pippit Carlington
If any of you readers grow edible plants I hope you'll do the same because this affects all of us ultimately. We sure don't want other municipalities following this bad legislation/policy. Citizens should have the ultimate control over what they/we eat, and should be allowed to grow it where we live, and no government entity should have the right to place restrictions on that choice.
You can also post links and info on your blogs and Facebook page, forums, etc,  if you have them.
Ther's also a petition you can sign here;
I'll be posting part II about the sprout dishes soon, but this story was too important to put off another minute.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Moonlight Micro-Farm Helps People Eat Well 
Despite a Tough Economy

The cost of food has been steadily increasing in recent months so I had to think of a creative solution to make the most of the same amount of money I get each month, as I started to run out of food before the end of the month. Extreme times call for extreme measures although if one harkens back to simpler times it's not really so extreme to grow your own food. The concept of Micro-farming makes doing so relatively easy and user-friendly. My property is not the best for growing vegetables because it's covered by trees and doesn't get much direct sun. I have 2 Granny Smith apple trees and 1 Peach tree that I'd had high hopes for at the time I planted them but after several years have produced no harvestable fruit, and tomato and other seedling plants in recent years have had their roots eaten by in-ground bugs, attacked by aphids, or turned yellow and died before I could recover anything edible from them.

As I looked at various goodies on Etsy I came across some listings for seeds which could be sprouted for food, and this idea started to look more and more attractive and viable to me the more I looked into it. A search on Youtube yielded alot of videos made by people who were benefitting greatly from this approach; people even in areas of the country where fresh vegetables were unavailable in their local grocery stores during Winter months! Did you know that sprouts pack about 10 times the nutrition of their resulting fully-grown plants? They are full of anti-oxidants and natural fiber!

I convoed Chandra Hartman at Moonlight Micro-Farm, an Etsy shop offering such  harvestable seeds and asked her how much seed I'd need to last me the summer and she helped me to come up with a nice array of varieties that would last me, and I'm so glad I did because even after a few weeks the box of seeds has already paid for itself! Rather than needing to go to the grocery store each week to replace my perishable vegetation I have only had to go maybe twice, and that has been mainly to replace other foods like dairy and meat products!

All Chandra's seeds are grown organically and in addition to the sprouting varieties she also offers everything from mini Watermelon to Artichoke and Brussels Sprout seeds in addition to the more common vegetable and herb seeds.

I bought the Crimson and Clover , Mungzuki , and the Organic Black Sunflower Seeds and I created some recipes especially for each type of sprout.

The Mungzuki

and Crimson and Clover

sprouted easily without incident, but the black sunflower seeds were a little more finnicky.

After soaking 8-12 hours, then rinsing the seeds twice a day for 3-4 days in a row I got this jarfull of big, fat, juicy sprouts!

Please do try this at home;

You'll need:

* A flat container; preferably with small drainage holes in the bottom
* Something to place underneath for excess water to drain into
* A spray bottle
* Potting soil
* A cover (optional but not absolutely necessary)

I got a flat at Walmart but they didn't have the kind I really needed with small drain holes, so I had to get the one that included peat pellets with a little insert that had square nitches and holes about the size of a nickel.

I removed the peat pellets and decided to try to put a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom of the tray so that dirt wouldn't just fall through the holes.

Then I put a 1 inch layer of Jiffy brand seed-starting potting soil in the tray on top of the packing peanuts.

Then I poured out the sunflower sprouts in the tray on top of the dirt, spread them out evenly,

and then covered them with about 1/4 inch more of dirt. I sprayed the dirt with the spray bottle so that all the dirt was moist but not too saturated.

Then I covered it and put it in the bathroom in the dark to let the seeds form roots and start to grow.

Well the planting results of my first batch were not as good as they were when the seeds were in the jar.

I think it was the packing peanuts or else they were too crowded. These didn't ultimately make it. I noticed that some people who had videos on Youtube just planted theirs without drainage and theirs came out just fine, so this time I planted a smaller batch in a glass container. Here were the results step by step;

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

At day 6 I noticed that the sprouts had two leaves but were only 2 inches long and they were beginning to go in wild directions rather than growing upright. I figured I better cut them and eat them the next day for lunch jut in case they might be in the dirt too long. This seemed to help and as a result the ones that were not as far along that had been lying down grew longer and more upright again! It was like when you prune rose bushes or trees. It seemed to free them up so that they could make full use of their resources.

Day 8

Some of the seed casings are stubborn and don't want to come off by themselves, so after this picture was taken I picked off the persistant ones.

Meanwhile as I'm waiting to get another batch of edible sprouts from this container I started another one. It's a good idea to time them so that you can have sprouts ready to eat at all times by staggering the preparation and planting.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this story where I'll show you some of the delicious meals I prepared with my sprouts!

In the meantime, grow some yourself and see just how delicious home-grown can be!

To get started on your own indoor micro-gardening adventure go to Moonlight Micro-Farm now!