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Jun 152014
 

This year, I’ve decided to keep track of how much I harvest each month & see if it is enough or too much for a three-person heavy veg-eating family. My first planting was March 21.

Salad greens – 3+ kg

Here we have all sorts of lettuce including red leaf, oak leaf, green leaf, red romaine, plus nasturtium leaves and flowers, borage flowers, and spinach. For lettuce, I harvest the leaves, not the whole heads. I seem to be able to harvest leaves from a head of lettuce for about 4-6 weeks before it needs to be pulled and eaten. I have found that for a family of 3 heavy salad eaters, we need about 6 or so active heads of lettuce (that is, heads from which leaves can be harvested). So let’s say each human head needs two salad heads. As for spinach, about 5 plants per person every week seems about right. One can harvest a few leaves at first, but they mature so quickly, the whole plant must be picked within a week or so. My family seems to eat about 100 g of salad greens per day. During this time, even though I picked a lot of salad, I still had to buy one head of lettuce from the green market (ran out of garden lettuce). I also ran out of spinach — that’s to say, I didn’t plant enough.
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Snow Peas – 1.2 kg

I planted about 10 rows double rows of peas starting in late March and ending May 1. A double row means a trellis with peas planted on both sides of it. Since late May — about 2 weeks — I’ve harvested only from the first 3 double rows of snow peas. They are incredibly tasty. Three double rows equals about 100 plants and about 1m2. I estimate that each m2 (three double rows) will give about 2 kg of snow peas over about 3-4 weeks. I’d say a generous portion for one person is about 50g of peas. So 2 kg means about 40 individual servings of peas over about 20 or 30 days. So for 2 people — that’s peas every day; for 3 or 4 people — peas every other day. This is not a problem for me. If the peas keep going we will be eating peas every other day for the next 6 or 7 weeks. That might be too much…

In simple English: 100 pea plants produces 2 kg of snow peas harvested over 3 or 4 weeks.

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Strawberries 3.5 kg

I planted 15 plants last spring. These 15 plants became 30 plants. And then they became 45 plants or maybe more. Let’s say there are 50 plants. The mother plants give bigger strawberries than the daughter plants. There are still many more to be harvested. farm_0619_straw_IMG_1298

Asian brassicas / greens (savoy, tatsoi, hon tsai tai, pac choi, joi choi, bekana) – 750 g

Growing these tender little babies is a constant struggle as they are clearly the most favorite food of the SLUG. Even a good old Polish radish won’t distract them from these delicious greens. Picture shows 100g of greens. Not pictured is Savoy — a great green! These grow best in raised beds.

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Brassicas & chards (kale, collards, mustard greens, chard) – 2 kg

Quite early in the spring I was able to harvest quite a lot of chard and mustard greens which were planted last summer. I am pretty much the only person in my family who eats this stuff.  I love the brassica family! No picture yet…

May 302014
 

Today was Work Day or Open Day at the Common Garden in the Służewiecki Dom Kultury. The “Wspólne Ogród” is still in its infancy and it hasn’t been easy to attract local residents to participate. Today, however, a great guy who has been helping a lot lately, Wojtek, stopped by with a new part for the hose. He helped move some dirt and some giant rocks. Hurray!

There has been a big pile of muł (pronounced “moo”), that is to say silt, just sitting in the path for weeks. It came up from the bottom of the beds. Up until just now this very moment, I thought it was “ił” (pronounced “ew” as in yuck or gross) because someone told me so and I never looked it up. I looked it up. Muł is SILT. Ił is LOAM. But  “muł” also means “mule” and ił is just muł with sand…. This is it:

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After discussing with Wojtek what we could do with this pile of muł (throw it over the fence, spread it around a little here a little there) I suddenly got the idea to mix the silt (maybe about 60 liters) with the acid peat that was donated by Plantico. So that’s what we did: 180 liters of peat with 60 liters of silt. Starting to look like SILTY LOAM. Don’t ask me what THAT is in Polish. This is silt with peat (muł z torfem):

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I also made some beautiful balls:

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The garden is looking good. Each bed is its own universe of experimentation!

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1 – Veges and herbs (mostly brassicas)
2 – Veges and herbs (mostly tomatoes and peppers)
3 – Nothing yet. A dirt-holding bed
4 – Double dug, and then soil over a “Permaculture bed” (grass, straw, woodchips)
5 – Compost bed
6 – Double dug and planted with a couple of pumpkins so far
7 – Lupine and alfalfa (łubin, lucerne)8 – Lupine and alfalfa (łubin, lucerne) with 4 tomato plants planted into the green manure
9 – A woman planted some cilantro and radish here!
10 – Mustard and Lupin (Gorczyca, łubin) plus 2 fennel and some wild mint

 

 

Sep 182013
 

On Monday it was time to remove the Kompostowisko at the Copernicus Science Center. Hopefully soon the organizers will share some event photos.

Sep 152013
 

Yesterday on the way to Pixxe/Jadalnia Warszawa/Slow Food Youth’s Jam Session, Iza and I were unable to get into the Finskie Domki (Finnish Homes) neighborhood by car because there was a giant Soldariność protest blocking all entrances. The driver dropped us off on Ujazdowski above Trasa Lazienkowska. So there we stood with two enormous crates plus two other bags — easily 50 or 60 kg of fruit, sugar and kitchen equipment. The driver suggested we get Solidarity people to help. We tried asking people but they just streamed by; it didn’t seem to be working.

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Crowds make me nervous –  so I lifted may arms and started screaming, in English, “Please help us!” and also “Proszę mi pomóc” (Please help me! — at the moment I forgot how to say Please help us!) Finally four guys stopped, listened, picked up the boxes and carried them ,5km right to the house. HURRAH!

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JAM SESSION IN PICTURES

Sep 132013
 

Today we collected 20 kg of fruit for tomorrow’s JAM SESSION

  • 2 kg cornelian cherry (dereń)
  • 5 kg apples (jabłek)
  • 10 kg pears (gruszki)
  • 1 kg plums (śliwki)
  • 2 kg grapes (winogrona)
  • 1 kg aronia (aronia)
  • 2 kg elderberry (czarne bez)
  • 250 g blackberries (jeżyna), which were eaten on the spot

Click on the pics for a little story.

Sep 132013
 

For a few years now, I’ve been making tempeh because I couldn’t find it for sale in Poland. For the last month or so, I’ve been making it and selling it to the Kooperatwya Dobrze here in Warsaw. This week I documented the process to to show people how tempeh is produced, and also just to assess how much time and money it costs to make.

Making tempeh starts Monday night and ends Thursday morning.

MONDAY

Crack and soak the beans

Of course we start with organic, GMO-free soybeans. 1000 kg of soybeans makes about 1600 g of tempeh. Interesting, huh? That means that 37,5% of tempeh is — well, what is that white stuff exactly? It’s the mycelia of fungi Rhizopus oligosporus and Rhizopus oryzae! (I apologize for referring to then as bacteria and mold in the past.)

The first step is to separate the husks from the beans. The husks must be removed because Rhizopus oligosporus/oryzae cannot penetrate the husk. The husks are separated with a loosely-set grain mill, which cracks them and in so doing removes the husk.  If you don’t have a grain mill, you’ll have to remove them by hand after the beans have soaked or you could try to find soybeans that are already de-husked. I have not yet been able to find these in Poland (organic non-GMO de-hulled soybeans).

The beans are put into water. At this time, some of the husks float to the top and can be skimmed off.

The beans are left to soak overnight.

TUESDAY

Wash the beans

By morning, the beans have expanded and more husks have floated to the top. These husks are removed. The next step is to partially cook the beans — this means about 30 minutes. As they cook, a foam forms and yet more husks rise to the top and are removed. As you can see, removing the husks is he beans are placed in a colander.

Dry the beans

The beans are spread out on a flat surface on clean lint-free cotton material, such as pillowcases or sheets. It takes at least 4 hours for the beans to dry. Wet beans prohibit the growth of Rhizopus oligosporus/oryzae and encourage other kinds of growth — the kind we don’t want. So it is important for the beans to be completely dry.

Inoculate and pack the beans

By the evening, the beans are ready to be inoculated. All 1000g of beans are placed in a big pot or bowl. To this we add 2 Tablespoons of Rice Vinega and 2 teaspoons of Rhizopus oligosporus/oryzae starter. Any kind of vinegar can be used, just make sure the acidity is no greater than 5% acidity. I once used white Polish vinegar (acidity 10%) and killed the spores. Vinegar creates an acidic environment in which other fungi and bacteria cannot grow.
Next we pack about 500g of the beans into 1 gallon-sized / 3-liter-sized zip-locked bags. The bag has already been punctured with many tiny holes spaced about 1 cm / .5 inch apart. By using zip lock bags, the tempeh can be removed without destroying the bag, and so the bags can be reused many times.

This step takes about 30 minutes.

Incubate the beans

The bags are placed on some sort of rack that has holes or space to create airflow. I use a shelf from Ikea and a rack for drying cookies. These are placed in a box, or some other insulated space with a light bulb — approximatey 40-60 watts usually generates enough heat. We need a fairly constant temperature of between 26-30 C. Lately, I have been using a cabinet in my desk. It’s painted black and does an excellent job holding the heat. The tempeh goes on the top shelf and the light on the bottom. The tempeh is not placed directly under the bulb where it is very hot.

WEDNESDAY

The beans must “cook” for 24-36 hours between 26-30 C. The temperature should be monitored during this time. I no longer use a thermometer (because mine is broken) so I had to develop my Temperature Sense. In this case,  the door is nearly closed the first 8 hours and open the rest of the time. It is better to err on the cool side. If the temperature is too high, the spores are killed and the tempeh is ruined. It’s important to have air flow around the tempeh.

THURSDAY

The tempeh is done. Each 500g bag of soybeans yields about 820g of tempeh. Removing and sectioning the tempeh takes about 30 minutes. The tempeh is then delivered to the co-op Thursday afternoon.

 

Sep 102013
 
JAM SESSION - Jam from Wild Fruit

JAM SESSION – Jam from Wild Fruit

JAM SESSION : Niech będzie dżem (english below)

Zrób dżem z dzikich owoców!

Pixxe i SFY Warszawa zapraszają na wspólne dżemowanie!

Wydarzenie będzie miało bardzo lokalny wymiar, ponieważ będziemy przetwarzać wyłącznie owoce zebrane na terenie Warszawy.

Warsztat poprowadzi Jodie Baltazar, artystka i animatorka, zajmująca się różnorodnymi projektami z pogranicza jedzenia/sztuki/miejskiego ogrodnictwa.

KIEDY:sobota, 14.09 12.00
GDZIE: Osiedle Jazdów, Jazdów 10/6 (za ambasadą niemiecką, przy przedszkolu) Finskie Domki
WSTĘP: Nie ma opłaty za wstęp, za to każdy będzie mógł wykupić swój słoik dżemu za 4 złote (czy ile możesz)

Wydarzenie odbędzie się w ramach inicjatywy Otwarty Jazdów: https://www.facebook.com/events/390770171051502/, zaś pod adresem Jazdów 10/6 mieści się “Ogród na pTAK!”, który prowadzą Ptaki Polskie i Sie-Je w mieście.

JAM SESSION! LET THERE BE JAM!

Make jam from ‘wild’ fruit

Pixxe and Slow Food Youth Warsaw invite you to collaborate jam-making!

This jam will be superlocal — all of the fruit will be collected from trees and bushes growing right here in Warsaw.

WHEN: Saturday, September 14, 12 noon
WHERE: Jazdów 10/6 – next to the German embassy in the Finnish Homes
There’s no cost to join, but we ask a small donation for each jar of jam to cover the cost of the event. (4 PLN or what you can afford)
The event is held as part of the Open Jazdów initiative, in the space run by “Polish Birds” (Ptaki Polskie) and Sow it in the City (Sie-je w mieście) at Jazdów 10/6
Aug 312013
 
Aug 292013
 

Jadalnia Warszawa 10 MapWe kindly invite you to the final walk in association with the Center of Contemporary Art in Warsaw.

On Sunday, September 1 we will explore the actual terrain of the Zielony Jazdów event, as well as take a peek at the north end of the Scarp, which we didn’t manage to cover in the last walk.

Once again we plan to EAT, so bring something to share — some dressing for salad, bread, jam, cheese, nuts, whatever you like. This time we’ll pull the table out onto the terrain of Zielony Jazdów and perhaps convince some passersby to taste the wildness of the castle.

Aug 272013
 

Kompostowisko KopernikaSome of us grow food. Some of us cook it. But all of us eat it! (and all of us waste it!)

Growing, cooking, and eating generates A LOT of organic waste. On September 8 at the Przemiany Festival there will be a Breakfast at the River picnic at The Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw, Poland. There you can learn how to deal with all of that waste — by composting it back into fertile soil!

Organic waste makes up more than 50% of all the waste in Warsaw’s wastestream. The vast majority of it is dumped in the landfill, where it has terrible environmental consequences through the production and release of methane gas (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere—two notorious global warming gases. What’s tragic is that organic waste can easily be turned into humus ( the living, organic part of soil). This humus can be used to grow food, feed plants, and heal damaged land – even land damaged by landfills.

This year Warsaw is implementing new waste disposal laws and fees, putting our waste and its dirty secrets into the spotlight. The new laws impose a 40% fee for not segregating waste (that is, recycling). However it appears there is little incentive to actually reduce the quantity of waste or indeed to do anything at all about organic waste.

At the we are going to do something about it! We are going to compost all of the organic waste generated at the Festiwal’s picnic and show how we could safely compost our own waste on a local level. From 11-15.30 we will be collecting and composting all of the organic waste from the picnic on site. Come and learn how to compost organic waste by actually doing it!

Schedule
11-12 COMPOSTING BASICS / GETTING STARTED
We will discuss composting basics and what you can do right now with your own waste at home. We will also prepare the bin to accept the waste.

12-13.30 WASTE PICKUP AND COMPOSTING WORKSHOP
We will make the first rounds to collect the waste from the picnic vendors and participants, take it back to the composting site and compost it. Through this activity you will learn how to build a compost pile.

14-15.30 WASTE PICKUP AND COMPOSTING WORKSHOP
We will make the last rounds to collect the waste from the picnic vendors and participants, take it back to the composting site and compost it. Through this activity you will learn how to build a compost pile.

Thorughout the event you will be able to see compost in various states of decomposition, and see what a vermicomposting bin looks like (worm composting!)

KOMPOSTOWISKO KOPERNIKA
This project exposes the connection between consumption, eating, waste, and land not only by showing the consequences of waste, but also by demonstrating in a positive way that waste is really just fertility in disguise — and with a little bit of effort it can be recaptured and redirected, ultimately back into our own bodies.

PIXXE
Since 2011, Pixxe has been exploring and modifying public space and the use of land to create a more ecological, humane habitat for the life it supports. Activities include urban/community farming, community composting, foraging, eko-art projects, and DIY maker arts such as upcycling, crafting, citizen science, cooking and food preservation. See http://www.pixxe.org

JODIE BALTAZAR
Jodie is an American artist living in Warsaw since 2010. Her activities encompass numerous disciplines such as film and animation, craft, and social engagement. Her work explores how entities in an environment, living and otherwise, affect and control each other. At the heart of her concerns is the nature of Nature — our relation to it and place in it. She has been growing food organically since 1996 and composting waste since 2007. In 2011, in her Soil Garden Project, she composted over 20,000 liters of waste from the green market. She currently composts the waste of one hotel and about six families on her allotment garden in Rakowiec.

Aug 202013
 

Syrop z mirabelką / Mirabelka syrop

The first day at the Now Port Festival at CSW Łaźnia in Gdansk, we made some drinks — Sumac-ade (Sumakiada), Blackberry juice, Mulberry juice, and we also used some Mirabella plums to make a syrup.

Mirabella can be yellow, orange or red. I’ve never been to place in Poland where I haven’t seen dozens and dozens of this tree. The fruit ripens all through August and sometimes even into September. They can also be rather tart so it’s best to pick them when the fruits are quite ripe, perhaps even those that have fallen on the ground are best! In Gdańsk, there were lots of red plums, so that’s what we used.

In the end we decided to add in the leftover blackberries and mulberries leftover from our juice-making. We combined this mixture with agar to make a sort of jello! It tasted FANTASTIC)

INGREDIENTS / SKŁADNIKI
mirabella plums / mirabelki – 1000 g before pitting
sugar or honey / cukier lub miód — 500 ml sugar or slightly less honey or to taste
maple syrup / syrop klonowy – 1/4 cup
vanilla / wanilia prawdziwa – 1 tsp
balsalmic vinegar / ocet balsaliczny – ½ tsp
lemon / limonka – a few squeezes

Cut plums and put into the pot.

Pour the sweetener over the fruit.

Add maple syrup. vanilla, vinegar
Add 240 ml clean water

Cook on high, crushing the plums, about 10-30 minutes.

Strain and cool. What falls through is the syrup.

Remove the pits from what’s left behind –– > from this you have jam!