Friday, June 27, 2014

A Plethora of Costata Romnesco and a Dearth of sense!


High Mowing seeds variety write up:  Organic Non-GMO Costata Romanesco Zucchini - HEIRLOOM This Italian zucchini wins every taste test based on its unique, slightly nutty flavor and exceptional texture. Tender, gray-green skin and prominent ribbing also give this Italian variety a distinctive appearance. Great picked at 6" or smaller with the flower still attached and fried whole. (Cucurbita pepo)

Now who could resist that glowing report of Nutty Flavor and exceptional Texture! 

Johnny's Seeds  writes another glowing review!
Costata Romanesco Zucchini
Traditional Italian heirloom with the best flavor.
This distinctive zucchini is medium gray-green, with pale green flecks and prominent ribs. Big, large-leafed bush with only about half the yield of hybrids, but much better flavor; clearly better textured, nutty, and delicious, raw or cooked. Also a good producer of heavy male blossom buds for cooking.

Everywhere we look wonderful praises and superb photos of this lovely Green striped and ribbed Italian heirloom Zucchini! 

We find pretty artwork featuring Costata Romanesco, even the name sounds marvelous, it rolls off your tongue like you can actually speak Italian! OOOOO Costata Romanesco!

We have to try it of course  since we have not one gram of sense when it comes to pretty vegetables that use the word nutty.

We planted a short row with plans to thin the poorer quality plants as they germinated.  Sounds like a plan! Funny thing is the plants are so uniform and all beautiful and vigorous!  We keep putting off thinning them and marvel at how nice they are. 

This is the start of our dilemma to be!


 I love new seedlings! How can you choose?

Now today I took new photos......yes you can see where this cautionary tale is going!

Normal Zucchini

Costata Romanesco

Are they not lovely?  Seriously.......we are doomed!

What kind of idiots are we...well obviously anyone who can send recipes for summer squash please do, we will try all of them and I know we will have enough Nutty and well textured, ribbed and beautiful dusky green striped Costata Romanesco to try them all!

Oh did I tell you they have beautiful leaves with frilly edges!

They have not started to blossom yet but any day now the harvest will waiting for them to develop just chowing down on tender nutty tiny Zucchini with a beautiful golden yellow blossom. Very gourmet!

Does anyone know how to cook Zucchini blossoms? 

There is nothing like a good tale of the lack of common sense even experienced gardeners have when it comes to pretty pictures and good write ups in seed catalog's! 

Happy gardening to you all and to all a free Costata Romanesco!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


What do you think of when you hear the word extinction? The Dinosaurs, The Dodo or perhaps The Quagga?

The extinction of wildlife is always at the forefront of any discussion of what humans are doing to this world. However there is another extinction threat...the extinction of domestic breeds of livestock, fowl and plants.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports there are over 4000 breeds of domestic livestock and birds in the world today and  1/3 of these are in danger of disappearing. Statistics report that over 1000 domestic breeds have become extinct in the past 100 years.  Modern agriculture has lost 190 breeds in the past 15 years.

40% of American Sheep are just one Breed...Suffolk!

 Google Image

85% of dairy cattle in the USA are Holstein and the use of Artificial Insemination to top milking Sires  narrows the gene pool of the commercial Dairy herd to even more dangerous levels.

96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available in 1903 are now extinct.

 Google Image

99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are Broad-Breasted Whites, a single turkey breed specially developed to have a meaty breast.  These turkey's are such extreme meat producer's they cannot breed naturally and have to be Artificially Insemination to lay fertile eggs.

(Photo credit: INSADCO Photography/Alamy)

 60% of beef cattle are made up of just three breeds, Angus, Simmental and Hereford.

This fact is misleading by the breeding of "Black Simmental" get black Simmental you have to crossbreed them with Angus.

The marketing of Angus beef as the best of all beef has encouraged the narrowing of the Beef gene pool in ways we have not fully realized.....cross breeding to upgrade other "PURE" breeds has given rise to Black Cattle in all breeds.

 Charolais are a White breed Imported from France...often marketed as "The Great White Way" they now come in....BLACK! To get this black Charolais there is an infusion of Angus genetics.

[Google Image]

Mono culture is unhealthy and limiting food production to such a low number of breeds is a ticking time bomb, some of which is being seen in the Industrial Swine industry as I type, modern pork is raised in close housing and when disease sweeps through a modern hog barn it is catastrophic. The narrow genetic pool means an incredibly high percentage of modern swine has the same weakness for disease. This is evident with the current outbreak of PEDv  [Porcine epidemic Diarrhea virus] that has killed 10% of the US pork supply.

Ideal Market Swine

The recent interest in rare breeds promoted by organizations like The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy is helping save some of the genetic treasures of bio diversity 'OLD' agriculture has produced and used. 

I hope I have given the term extinction a new face, one that is right there in the local countryside. We can all do our part....from heirloom vegetables to Mulefoot hogs, Pineywoods cattle to Royal Palm turkey's. Choose the old and rare, keep Agricultural extinction at bay!


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Watching things grow.

It is a wonderful time of year. Things are growing everywhere. I have been taking photo's of things as they grow in the garden this year and I  have a few "Favorite" Plants.

First is  an Orange Oxheart Tomato. There are two of these in the garden. It was all the seed we had and we were so lucky they both germinated.

Photo 1: First day in the garden.

We planted them on the 29th of May. The trellis wire seems way to high! 

Photo 2:  June the 9th  The Oxheart has settled in and is doing well.

You can see the Oxheart is getting down to some serious growing. That trellis still looks a long way up though!

Photo 2: June 13th    Now its getting busy and the roots have got a good start so the plant itself can get growing.

You can see how thick the stem of this plant is and that it is a vigorous tomato. They are an old Heirloom variety and of course are Indeterminate. It will be interesting to see how big it gets.

Photo 4: June 17th   This change amazed was only 4 days since the last photo and has reached the trellis!

I am enjoying this tomato plant a great deal and will keep you posted as it continues to grow.

My other favorite plant is going to be an adventure. Candyroaster Squash. I love squash and this one is huge. It can grow up to 50 pounds. What was I thinking when I said I would like to try to grow them.

The seed comes from Sustainable Mountain seed and  we planted 3 seeds and got three vigorous and large seedlings. They are planted on the corner edge of a smal garden plot and we hope to train the vines as they grow.

Photo 1: We planted them May 29th and this was taken on June 5th

They look innocent enough...nice leaves not noticeably larger than any other squash? Hummmnn

Photo 2: This was taken  on June the 9th

They are looking good. I have always liked squash plants for some reason!

Photo 3: Taken on the 13th of June.  

Well now they are showing signs of being bigger. Sometimes it is just fun to try something "silly",  I  mean who needs a 50 pound squash to  make pie with? This squash has a history!

Many people growing up in the mountains of North Georgia, Western North Carolina, and East Tennessee never ate pumpkin pies.  Their families grew pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns or for animal feed, but they themselves ate candyroasters.  Candyroasters are an excellent winter squash most likely from the Cherokee Indians.  Many people consider Candyroasters a delicacy. They can weigh up to fifty pounds and more and can be over four feet long.

They just sound like something everyone should grow at least once! I am looking forward to seeing how they do and better yet making that first Candyroaster Pumpkin Pie.....or should I say PIES!

Yes growing things is such a marvel and you learn so much too. I am going to continue to follow these plants and see what the end result is! My pet plants will be back soon!  Bigger and better!