Thursday, 29 November 2012

Sprouting Chickpeas (or Garbanzo Beans)

How To Sprout Chickpeas

A Bag Of Dried Chickpeas

Chickpeas make delicious nutritious snacks and additions to your salads and other savory dishes. They are also very convenient as you can grow them from the comfort of your own home so there is no need to take the curlers out of your hair or to change out of that dressing gown.

Soak Your Chickpeas In A Jar Overnight

One of the many benefits of eating these beans freshly sprouted is that none of the nutrients are lost from being shipped, stored handled and cooked, so they are mini power houses, full of healthy goodness.

When sprouted Chickpeas are a good source of protein, and complex carbohydrates so they will help you to fill fuller longer. They have also been known to benefit your hair, skin and nails, and they have a generous amount of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin c, magnesium iron and zinc.

Another good reason for eating these sprouted little fellas, is that they are much easier for your system to digest, so the repercussions on your gastric tract should be minimal :)

Heres how I sprout my chickpeas and it seems to work quite well.

I prefer to use organic chickpeas.

1. Rinse the beans well.

2. Place in container in filtered water (1 part beans, 4 parts water).

3. Leave to soak overnight, with just a cover or loose lid on top.

4. In the morning drain and rinse well.

5. Place in jar without water (leaving room for sprouts).

6. Cover with a dry washcloth and rubberband (do not used a lid, because the peas need to breath).

7. Rinse at least 3 times a day.

8. After 2 days rinse and eat.

9. Refrigerate any unused sprouts and eat within a week.

*Note: The chickpeas are only meant to be in water at the beginning soaking stage, after that they are placed in a jar without water to begin the sprouting stage.

Also here is a nice recipe for Sprouted Chickpea Hummus (yummus)

Your Finished Sprouted Chickpeas

I hope you enjoy eating your delicious sprouted chick peas, any questions feel free to leave a comment!

Monday, 26 November 2012

How To Create Self-Watering Containers For Your Garden

 Creating Your Own Self-Watering Gardening Containers

There are lots of benefits to growing your own food. You can pick the type of vegetables and fruit you want in abundance. You can choose the seed varieties, such as heirloom or organic, and use organic methods if desired. And you can plan food around your growing season so you always have fresh produce available. All of this, however, is a lot of work. Planting, weeding, watering and harvesting are all time-consuming tasks.

You can save some time and energy by making self-watering containers. These containers are set above ground so the soil is warmer and they don"t get as many weeds as other gardens. They also need very little watering -- although the name "self-watering" is a misnomer since some watering is needed.

A self-watering container is easily made from a large storage container with lids. A large Rubbermaid-style container or 5-gallon bucket with fitting lid will work well. Whatever container you choose, be sure that it was not used for anything toxic in its previous life.

Find 6 to 8 little containers that will fit neatly in the bottom of your large container. Coffee cans, yogurt containers or empty plastic plant pots work well. They should be about 4 to 6 inches deep and line up in the bottom of the container. Eight 1-gallon flowerpots will fit neatly inside a 32-gallon plastic bin.

Cut a piece of PVC pipe so that it is taller than your container. Drill holes in the bottom third of the pipe.

Scale the container lid so that it sits snugly on top of the small interior containers. Use a sharp pair of scissors, nippers or a small handsaw to cut the lid to fit. Cut a hole in one corner of the lid. Use one of the small, interior pots to gauge the size of the hole. The hole should open up over the corner pot underneath it. Cut another hole on the opposite corner of the first.

Add a second hole that is wide enough for the PVC pipe to slide through. The location of this hole is not critical, but it works best along the center-edge of one length.

Drill drain holes around the outside edge of the large container, six inches from the bottom.

Set the lid onto of the small interior containers. Slide the PVC pipe through its allotted slot.

Fill the container with potting soil so that the soil sits on the lid. Plant your seeds in the top of the soil. Pour water into through the PVC pipe to fill the reservoir below it. The water will wick up into the soil but the plants' roots will not sit in water. To further preserve moisture, add mulch around the base of the plants once they are established.

Refill the container"s reservoir as needed. This will vary depending on the weather conditions.

You can reuse this self-watering container each year or plant perennials in it for continuous growth.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Growing Organic Strawberries

How To Grow Delicious Organic Strawberries

Gardening can scare some people away because you cannot rely on traditional methods used in the home garden such as ready to use fertilizers and herbicides. However organic gardening can be easier and more economical for these reasons, you don't have to spend time applying chemicals every couple of weeks or worrying about how to apply them. Growing organic strawberries is not only very simple but produces the absolute most delicious strawberries you can find anywhere.

Starting Your Organic Strawberry Garden
A Strawberry Plant in the Garden
As a basis for your new strawberry garden you will want three things, a well-draining soil base, a nutrient rich organic additive like compost or natural manures and finally a raised bed to put your new soil materials into. If you don't compost, don't worry almost all nurseries carry generic compost and often high quality natural fertilizers such as bat guano.

You should begin by constructing your raised bed so that you have an idea of how much soil you will need, for strawberries I would suggest an 8 inch high bed with an adequate length and width to plant at least 25 strawberry plants.

The reason you want at least 25 strawberries is because you should assume each plant will only make around 3 - 4 berries during the growing season. While they may make more, you will likely lose some berries to pests and there is nothing more disappointing than working hard on a strawberry garden that produces only a few berries.

Preparing Your Soil and Planting

Now you want to fill in your bed, you can use soil from your yard but if it does not drain well you should add perlite or a drainage additive into it before putting it in your bed. You will also want to put a layer of compost starting about 2 inches below the soil surface and be sure to make it a generous layer as it will feed your plants throughout the whole season.

After you finish filling in your raised bed it's time to plant your  strawberries, you can either use a flat of berries that you buy or plant seeds according to their package's instructions. If you plant mature plants you should consider applying a layer of mulch to help keep a higher soil temperature and increase water retention; if you planted seeds you should wait till your plants develop some to apply this layer of mulch.

This article was brought to you by Lucas, who loves gardening and writing about the cultivation of plants; read more at Plantdex.

Image source - Wikimedia