Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pungent, attractive, repulsive! Garlic!

Pungent, attractive, repulsive, garlic has an ability to to penetrate wether invited or not.  We have found garlic to be one of our most easy going friends in the Conucos.  Contrary to most vegetables, garlic is planted in the fall, endures the harsh winter with ease, and is harvested in the heat of summer.  We have not purchased garlic from the market in years, as a little sweat and attention on our part gives us more than enough garlic to use in the kitchen, in medicinal preparations, and for spiritual purposes.  The beauty of growing our own garlic is that we replant part of our harvest for next year's garlic.  We replant the best of our harvest, and so every year our garlic improves and becomes more in harmony with the soil, microorganisms, fungi and climate in our unique location.  In this way our garlic becomes more and more suited to our environment here!  
The main two events in the garlic year are planting (anytime from October to December) and harvesting (early July).   We plant 3 varieties, hard neck, soft neck, and elephant.  Each have their strengths. In the next few years we will be giving each variety their own names as they will have become selected specifically for our location here.  Every year we choose the best to replant.  The best being based on how well they store, the size of the garlic, and disease resistance.  
After harvest the garlic is hung to dry in our loft and later roots are trimmed off them.  They must be handled gently as any bruising will destroy their ability to store.
Once garlic is dry we take it down and store it in a relatively cool and dark place (not too cool or it will sprout (40-55 degrees F)).  
Some of the added benefits of growing our own garlic is that we have access to parts that are usually thrown away such as garlic scapes (garlic flowers), and the discarded garlic roots, which we patiently wait for all year, which then takes up its magical place in our Munanso.  

Sunday, August 16, 2015


The species form of Datura is everywhere in our fields and Conucos, but just for our enjoyment, we also sometimes grow an ornamental variety in the front garden because of its spectacular flowers.  It is incredible how willingly and dramatically flowers respond to human beings cultivating them to form cultivars!  Enjoy the photos below of this flamboyant descendant of the wild Datura!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Herbal Wisdom from Future Bohitu and Ngangulera!

Our child Anani (9 years) loves to be in the garden.  Whilst Anani was in the womb, her mother was creating a garden, which Anani soon claimed as "her garden".  It was the first place where she began to learn the various plants and herbs.  Her learning continued, as she developed her own unique relationship with the plants.  As she grew, she brought her herbal wisdom and experimentation into the kitchen, creating wonderful and unusual drinks and meals.  

Through her ongoing Earthschooling, she studies various medicinal plants, making tinctures, teas, decoctions, salves, infused oils, honeys and vinegars.  

Here she shares some of the medicinal herbs growing in the front garden.  There are three parts.

(Note:  The person behind the camera and the "editor" is a amateur, excuse the shakes and awkward cuts).