Friday, April 12, 2013

Spring Review in Nevada: Planting Success and Failures on the Ranch

Spring has arrived in our part of Nevada. We have had some beautiful spring weather. We could still get a snow or freeze but overall nature says it is time.  This marks our first year anniversary in this house here in Stagecoach. All the trees are putting out leaves. The lilacs that were almost dead when we moved in last year, are doing well. One even has a few blooms on it. I love lilacs. My mother had two growing in my childhood home in Julian, CA. This was up in the mountains above San Diego. It had the most gorgeous blooms every spring. There were wild ones that bloomed as well.

Here is a review of what plants survived the winter here: 

My Goji Berries did amazingly well. They had been uprooted three times before moving here. They originally began as seeds in California.   I planted them in the front using the house as a wind break.  This was a good move. Goji berries are hard to get started but once grown, are very hardy.  Here is a picture of these guys. Last year with their rough move, they produced few berries. I am hoping that this year after fortifying the bed with manure and amendments, we will get a good crop of berries. There is room for several more plants.

The mint I planted at the end of the season last year, came up all on its own and has spread somewhat. I was not sure at all about the mint surviving. I also have planted two more kinds of mint in the bed. This bed is enriched with goat and rabbit manure from last year.   The bed is protected with a light fence made from bird netting, mainly to keep the dogs, quail, and barnyard critters out.  It is easy to take down when I need to get into the bed to weed or plant.  Two elderberries will be planted in this bed as well toward the one end that is not visible in this picture. 

The cold frames in the back did beautifully. They would not be featured in Better Homes and Gardens, but were practical. They performed their job well to keep the plants safe.  The Comfrey did die back when the temperatures got down to 5 degrees for a week but look at them now. The brick wall which lined the back of the bed helped to absorb heat and keep it warmer.  The 4 mil plastic really got beat up with the wind. Out here, it will only last a year. I used three sheets of 4 mil plastic that you buy in large rolls at Home Depot. It took huge cinder blocks to keep the plastic from blowing away with the winds. Overall, it passed the test. This years goal is a green house by the end of summer. These Comfrey beds under the cold frame will become permanent beds. This is Russian Block 14 comfrey which is grown for animal feed and is grown by root cuttings.  I will be planting a second kind of Comfrey grown for medicinal salves this year. It reseeds itself.  Both kinds can be fed to the animals too.

Here is the Swiss Chard that stayed alive all winter long under the cold frame. It didn't grow much for awhile but is coming back, along with new seeds I planted in the same container. There are some tomato seedlings coming from from last year's plants as well. I will move them to a new home soon. The worst problem I have had with the Swiss Chard is aphids. I have used Neem and water baths to kill them. The plants are doing well now. I feed the rabbits and chickens some of both.  I hope this year to grow enough greens, so that I don't have to buy them.  I am giving the Swiss Chard a new permanent home in a huge wood planter box that the original owner built and left here on the property.

My Dwarf Moringa trees in the house......with enough leaves now to use them in dishes.  The second picture below is this years seedlings from test germinating some seed.

So overall the cold frames worked, the Goji berries did well, the mint came back up. and the dwarf Moringa trees are doing well in our back room.  I am pleased with the progress in this climate despite the wind, cold, snow at times, and heat in the summer.  Persistence, Persistence, and God's blessings.   I am now in the middle of planting blackberry patches and Elderberries here on the property. I am working on a container garden as well and some straw bale gardening.  I feel very blessed that God has blessed the plants and given me some new inspiration for planting this property. I will be using pallets as windbreaks here on the back part of the property where the winds are fierce.  All of it practical methods to make things work.

Adding more animals to the farm but easy ones to take care of:

I will be adding some Californian meat rabbits, and more ducks to the farm here soon.  They are much cheaper than gardeners and more fun. The ducks at this point are out-laying the chickens.  One duck is sitting on eggs. She is really fun. She hisses at you when you come near her nest.  They just got a new kiddie pool. There old ones are on their last legs.   I do not have the goats.  I came to the realization that we do not have the set up here for them here. We really needed a barn this winter.  The land is not sectioned off making it difficult to protect the trees and plants from their eating binges.  They loved to jump on the cars as well. They got a good home with some people who were younger with kids, a barn, and a pasture all to themselves. I nearly broke my ankle around that time and it was rough getting the chores done.  So I am buying powdered goats milk online, which really does not taste bad when mixed in a blender. I will be 62 this July and the goats were just too much for me to deal with.

So all for now. I hope you all have a great weekend.  Blessings to all of you.
Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin 

Update on this article. We now have moved to Yuma, Co as of Aug 1st, 2020.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Is Moringa Guten Free?

I have had two readers ask this question.   

Moringa leaves taken straight off the tree,  without any added ingredients, are gluten free.  

Saying this, Moringa is being made into many different drinks and products now. So the question becomes more complicated. This blog will answer those questions. 

What is gluten? Many people are confused on this subject. 

It is a combination of natural proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten develops when you add water to flour derived from these grains.  When you mix the flour and water, then knead the flour, the gluten literally stretches out and binds the bread together into a loaf. The longer you knead the bread, the more gluten is formed in the process. 


So gluten is a binding agent that is created. Gluten allows baked cookies and breads to retain their shape. It hardens when baked in the stove. Gluten is also used as a agent to thicken a product such as in gravy. It is used as a binding agent in some foods

Many foods you would not think contain gluten do. Here is a partial list below:

Pasta; Salad dressings may be thickened with gluten; graham crackers; pie crusts; broth, sauces and gravies are often thickened with wheat flour; lunch meat, bacon products, imitation seafood products use a starch from grains; croutons, stuffing, bread crumbs; yogurt (some brands) use a stabilizer which contains gluten; soy sauce and marinades that come in a jar; energy bars; cereals that contain malt, wheat, rye, or barley; some beer, ale, and lager beverages; bulgur and couscous:

If you buy Moringa products that are made into drinks or a food, that product could contain gluten. Contact the company who makes the product to see if it is gluten free.   Moringa leaves do not contain gluten. It could be found in a Moringa product if gluten is later added to the product as a filler or binder by the company.

This is the two brands I trust because they test their imported products for contamination, E-Coli, and heavy metals in a US lab.  I have now been using a number of their products for over two years including Moringa powder. DO NOT buy Moringa products unless the company states that they test for heavy metals and contamination. If you do you are risking your health. Organic certified can still contain E-coli, dirt, bugs, weeds, filth and insects.  This is the way it is folks.
 My #1 choice is Banyan Botanicals Organic Moringa Powder here 


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Herbally Yours, Kate Freer, The Herbladyisin