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Quick Guide to food pH levels

Foods that create Alkaline and Acidic reactions in the body

Category: HealthPermaculture

Date: 6 July 2011

Description: To keep our bodies in good health, we need to maintain a balance of foods that help us sustain strong immune and digestive systems. Some foods form a more alkaline environment in your blood, others acidify the blood. The key is to offset acidifying foods with alkalising ones, while eating a broad range of oils, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars and proteins. Don't forget to excercise and go out in the sun. The sun activates over 200 enzymes in our body, assisting in digestion, as well as provide us with much needed phytonutrients.

A healthy body generally has a blood pH of 7.3

Help your body heal by routinely eating raw, organic fruits and vegetables.



Alkaline forming Food Chart

The following food items, and likely many others, help the body to maintain an alkaline environment in the blood.

VegetablesOriental VegetablesFruitsProteinsSweetenersSpices and SeasoningsMineralsOther
  • Alfalfa
  • Barley Grass
  • Beet Greens
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard Greens
  • Chlorella
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelions
  • Dulce
  • Edible Flowers
  • Eggplant
  • Fermented Veggies
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Green Peas
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Nightshade Veggies
  • Onions
  • Parsnips (high glycemic)
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Sea Veggies
  • Spinach, green
  • Spirulina
  • Sprouts
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watercress
  • Wheat Grass
  • Wild Greens
  • Daikon
  • Dandelion Root
  • Kombu
  • Maitake
  • Nori
  • Reishi
  • Shiitake
  • Umeboshi
  • Wakame
  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana (high glycemic)
  • Berries
  • Blackberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries, sour
  • Coconut, fresh
  • Currants
  • Dates, dried
  • Figs, dried
  • Grapes
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Muskmelons
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Pineapple
  • Raisins
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Tomato
  • Tropical Fruits
  • Umeboshi Plums
  • Watermelon
  • Almonds
  • Chestnuts
  • Millet
  • Tempeh (fermented)
  • Tofu (fermented)
  • Whey Protein Powder
  • Stevia
  • Chili Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Curry
  • Ginger
  • Herbs (all)
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Miso
  • Mustard
  • Sea Salt
  • Tamari
  • Calcium: pH 12
  • Cesium: pH 14
  • Magnesium: pH 9
  • Potassium: pH 14
  • Sodium: pH 14
  • Alkaline Antioxidant Water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Bee Pollen
  • Fresh Fruit Juice
  • Green Juices
  • Lecithin Granules
  • Mineral Water
  • Molasses, blackstrap
  • Probiotic Cultures
  • Soured Dairy Products
  • Veggie Juices


Companion Planting Guide with patterning

Transforming your garden with pattern

Category: AgriculturePermacultureBiologyPatterning

Date: 12 September 2011

Description: A guide to Companion Planting, the practice of combining mutually beneficial species of plants in a naturally harmonious pattern that would promote the best features of each plant's growth habits and yields, while accommodating for differences in environmental factors and seasonal fluctuations. Bluntly put, "The art of putting plants together".


Plant Guilds (Plants with Benefits)

Companion planting is used for mutual benefit between plant species, to maximise yields and provide a healthy living habitat. Companion planting can be used for pest control and distraction; windbreak; accumulation and distribution of nutrients, minerals and helpful bacteria and fungi; dividing needs for nutrients, water, sun and shade; attracting predatory insects and birds; attracting polinators; and also to exentuate natural growth cycles and patterns to build relilience and diversity in the landscape.

To have an productive garden you need to have a diverse mix of locally trialed species. Introducing foreign crops can often bring in new pests and change the biological and mineral balance of the soil. If you do want to plant something rare, be sure to surround it with companions that will defend it from harm and assist its growth.

There are many known combinations of plants that co-operate to produce healthy yields and reduce pests. These are known as Plant Guilds.

You will notice that some plants have a one-way benefit from their companions, and others will have a two-way relationship. When putting together a Plant Guild, we should try and maximise as many beneficial relationships as possible to create a diversity of healthy plant interactions and pest control mechanisms.

Sort by Plant Name | Sort by Pests repelled | Sort by Insects attracted

Plant NameLikesDislikesAttractsRepelsComments
Ageratum      Japanese Beetle;  
Alfalfa    Assassin Bug; Big-Eyed Bug; Damsel Bug; Lady Beetle; Parasitic Wasp;    

Perennial that roots deeply. Fixes the soil with nitrogen, accumulates iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Withstands droughts with it's long taproot and can improve just about any soil! Alfalfa has the ability to break up hard clay soil and can even send its' roots through rocks! Now that is a tenacious plant! Alfalfa is practically pest and disease free. It needs only natural rainfall to survive.

AmaranthSweet Corn;     Predatory Ground Beetles;     A tropical annual that needs hot conditions to flourish. It's leaves provide shade giving the corm a rich, moist root run. Host to predatory ground beetles. Eat the young leaves in salads. Spiky Amaranth repels Cutworm.
Angelica  Dill;      

Angelica should be started from seed. It does not propagate well by division or by cutting the offshoots. It prefers rich, moist, well drained soil and partial shade. The leaves can be harvested in the spring of the second year, the roots in the fall of the first year, and the seeds when ripe.

AniseCoriander;   Carrot;      
Apple  Black Walnut Tree; Hawthorn;   Fruit Fly;    
Arbortivae      Japanese Beetle;  
Artemisia    Lady Beetle; Yellow Jacket; Wasps;   Black Flea Beetle; Cabbage Moth; Fleas; Japanese Beetle; Snails; Slugs;  
Ash      Japanese Beetle;  
AsparagusBasil; Parsley; Carrot; Tomato;        
Azalea  Black Walnut Tree;      
Barberry  Rye;      
Barley  Lettuce;      
BasilBeans; Broccoli; Brussel Sprouts; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Collard; Kale; Marigold; Pepper; Tomato;   Rue;   Butterflies;   Asparagus Beetle; Flies; Mosquitoes; Tomato Hornworm; Whitefly;   Opal Basil deters Tomato worms.
Beans, bushBorage; Broccoli; Cabbage; Carrot; Celery; Chinese Cabbage; Corn; Collard; Cucumber; Eggplant; Irish Potato; Larkspur; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Pea; Radish; Rosemary; Savory; Strawberry; Sunflower; Tansy;   Beet; Chive; Garlic; Onion; Pepper;     Colorado Potato Beetle;  
Beans, castor      Mole;  
Beans, poleBasil; Borage; Broccoli; Carrot; Chinese Cabbage; Corn; Collard; Cucumber; Eggplant; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Pea; Radish; Rosemary; Savory; Strawberry; Sunflower; Tansy;   Beet; Garlic; Onion; Kohlrabi;     Colorado Potato Beetle;  
Bee BalmTomato;        
BeetsBush Beans; Cabbage; Delphinium; Onion; Larkspur; Lettuce; Sage;   Pole Beans;      
Begonia      Japanese Beetle;  
BorageBeans; Squash; Strawberry; Tomato;     Honeybees;   Tomato Hornworm;   Said to deter tomato worm and improve tomato flavour and yield. Said to increase strawberry yield.
Boxwood      Japanese Beetle;  
BroccoliBasil; Beans; Cucumber; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Nasturtium; Onion; Potato; Radish; Rosemary; Sage; Thyme; Tomato;   Grapes; Lettuce; Rue;      
Brussels SproutsBasil; Beans; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Lettuce; Mint; Onion; Rosemary; Sage; Thyme;   Grapes; Rue;      
Buckwheat    Syrphid Fly;     Alkalises (reduces Ph) of soils it is grown in.
CabbageBasil; Beets; Bush Beans; Chamomile; Celery; Chard; Dill; Garlic; Grapes; Hyssop; Larkspur; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Nasturtium; Onion; Rosemary; Rue; Sage; Southernwood; Spinach; Thyme; Tomato;   Grapes; Rue;      
Caladium      Japanese Beetle;  
Calendula      Asparagus Beetle; Nematodes; Tomato Hornworm;  
Candytuft    Syrphid Fly;    
Caraway  Carrot; Dill;       Plant throughout garden to loosen soil
CarrotsBeans; Chive; Delphinium; Pea; Larkspur; Lettuce; Pepper; Radish; Rosemary; Onion; Pea; Sage; Tomato;   Caraway; Dill;   Assassin Bug; Big-Eyed Bug; Lacewing; Parasitic Wasp; Yellow Jacket; Wasps;    
CatnipEggplant;     Birds; Honeybees;   Ants; Aphids; Colorado Potato Beetle; Cucumber Beetle; Flea Beetle; Japanese Beetle; Squash Bug;  
CauliflowerBasil; Bean; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Onion; Rosemary; Sage; Thyme;   Grapes; Rue;      
CeleryBush Beans; Cabbage; Chinese Cabbage; Nasturtium; Onion; Spinach; Tomato;       Cabbage Worm;  
Chinese CabbageBasil; Beans; Celery; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Mint; Nasturtium; Onion; Potato; Rosemary; Thyme;   Grapes;      
ChamomileCabbage; Cucumber; Onion;        
ChivesApple; Carrot; Grape; Potato; Rose;   Beans; Peas;     Aphids; Japanese Beetle;  
Chrysanthemum      Aphids; Japanese Beetle; Leafhopper;  

Likes to be grown among other Chrysanthemums. C. coccineum kills root nematodes (the bad ones). It's flowers along with those of C. cineraruaefolium have been used as botanical pesticides for centuries. (i.e. pyrethrum) White flowering chrysanthemums repel Japanese beetles. Dried and crushed Chrysamthemum repels aphids and leafhoppers.

Clover, White    Parasitic Wasp; Tachinid Fly; Yellow Jacket; Wasps;    
Cocscomb      Japanese Beetle;  
CollardBasil; Bean; Cucumber; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Nasturtium; Onion; Potato; Radish; Rosemary; Sage; Thyme;   Grapes; Rue; Tansy;      
CorianderAnise; Potato;   Fennel;   Tachinid Fly;   Aphids; Colorado Potato Beetle; Spider Mite;  
CornBeans; Cucumber; Dill; Peas; Potato; Melons; Pumpkin; Soybeans; Squash; Sunflower;        
Cosmos      Corn Earworm;  
CucumberBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Carrot; Cauliflower; Chamomile; Collard; Corn; Kale; Lettuce; Marigold; Nasturtium; Onion; Pea; Radish; Savory; Sunflowers; Tomato;        
Currants  White Pine;      
Dead NettlePotato;       Potato Bug;  
DelphiniumBean; Cabbage; Oats;   Beet; Carrot; Chard; Parsnip; Turnip;      
DillBroccoli; Cabbage; Chinese Cabbage; Collard; Cauliflower; Lettuce; Onion;   Angelica; Caraway; Carrot; Lavender; Tomato;   Honeybees;   Cabbage Looper; Imported Cabbageworm; Tomato Hornworm;  
EgglplantBeans; Garlic; Marigold; Peas; Spinach; Tarragon; Thyme;   Apricot;      
Eucalyptus      Aphids; Cabbage Looper; Colorado Potato Beetle;  
Fava Bean  Lettuce;      
FennelBasil; Dill;   Bean; Coriander; Pepper; Tomato;   Syrphid Fly; Tachinid Fly;   Aphids; Snails; Slugs;  
FlaxCarrot; Potato;       Potato Bug;  
GarlicCollard; Raspberry; Rose;   Beans; Peas;     Aphids; Cabbage Looper; Cabbage Maggot; Flea Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm; Japanese Beetle; Mosquitoes; Onion Fly; Peach Borer; Rabbits; Snails; Slugs; Ticks;  
GeraniumRose;       Corn Earworm; Imported Cabbageworm; Leafhopper; Mosquitoes;   White flowered scented Geranium attracts Japanese Beetle.
Goldenrod  Black Locust Tree; Sugar Maple;   Assassin Bug; Big-Eyed Bug; Lady Beetle; Parasitic Wasp;    
Gooseberry  White Pine;      
Grapes  Cabbage; Beans; Brussels Sprouts; Broccoli; Cauliflower; Chives; Collard; Kale; Radish; Peas; Blackberry; Peach;      
HorehoundTomato;     Honeybees; Parasitic Wasp; Syrphid Fly;    
HorseradishPotato;       Potato Bug;  
Hydrangea      Japanese Beetle;  
HyssopBroccoli; Brussels Sprouts; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collard; Grape; Kale;   Radish;   Butterflies; Honeybees; Hummingbirds;   Cabbage Looper; Cabbage Moth; Imported Cabbageworm;  
Ivy    Tachinid Fly; Yellow Jacket; Wasps;    
Juniper      Japanese Beetle;  
KaleBasil; Beans; Dill; Garlic; Hyssop; Lettuce; Marigold; Mint; Onion; Radish; Rosemary; Sage; Thyme; Tomato;   Grapes; Rue;      
KohlrabiBeets;   Pepper;      
LarkspurBeans; Beets; Cabbage; Oats;   Beets; Carrot; Parsnips; Turnips;     Aphids;  
Lavender      Moths;   Combine with Southernwood to repel Moths.
LeekCarrot;       Carrot Fly;  
LettuceBeans; Carrot; Cauliflower; Chrysanthemum; Collard; Cucumber; Onion; Radish; Strawberry;   Broccoli; Barley; Fava Beans; Rye; Wheat;     Carrot Fly;  
Lilac  Black Walnut Tree;      
MarjoramPepper; Sage;        
MarigoldBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Collards; Cucumber; Kale; Pepper; Rose; Tomato;       Aphids; Cabbage Maggot; Colorado Potato Beetle; Corn Earworm; Cucumber Beetle; Mexican Bean Beetle; Nematodes; Rabbits; Tomato Hornworm; Whitefly;  
MelonsCorn; Nasturtium; Radish;        
MintBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collards; Tomato;       Aphids; Cabbage Moth; Flea Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm; Squash Bug;  
Morning Glory  Apricot;   Lady Beetle; Syrphid Fly;    
Mustard  Turnip;     Aphids;  
Narcissus      Mole;  
NasturtiumBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collard; Radish; Fruit Trees;       Aphids; Asparagus Beetle; Cabbage Looper; Colorado Potato Beetle; Cucumber Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm; Squash Bug; Striped Pumpkin Beetle;  
Nicotania  Apricot;      
OnionBeets; Broccoli; Brussels Sprouts; Cabbage; Carrot; Cauliflower; Celery; Cabbage; Chinese Cabbage; Chamomile; Collard; Cucumber; Dill; Kale; Lettuce; Pepper; Potato; Radish; Rose; Savory; Squash; Strawberry; Tomato;   Bush Beans; Pole Beans; English Pea; Rue; Sage;     Aphids; Cabbage Looper; Carrot Fly; Colorado Potato Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm; Rabbits;  
OreganoPepper;       Aphids; Whitefly;  
Pansy      Japanese Beetle;  
ParsleyAsparagus; Tomato; Rose;       Asparagus Beetle;   Said to improve flavour of asparagus and tomato.
Parsnip  Delphinium; Larkspur;      
PeaBeans; Carrot; Chives; Corn; Cucumber; Eggplant; Lettuce; Radish; Spinach; Tomato; Turnip;   Black Walnut Tree; Chives; Garlic; Grapes; Onion; Gladiolus; Irish Potato;      
PeachGrape; Garlic; Onion; Asparagus;   Potato; Tomato; Raspberry;      
Pear  Potato;      
PennyroyalRose;       Cabbage Looper; Fleas; Flies; Imported Cabbageworm; Mosquitoes;  
PeonyBlack Walnut Tree;        
PepperBean; Carrot; Horehound; Marigold; Marjoram; Onion; Tansy;   Black Walnut Tree;      
Peppermint      Cabbage Looper; Whitefly;  
PetuniaBeans; Potato;   Apricot;     Aphids; Asparagus Beetle; Leafhopper; Mexican Bean Beetle; Squash Bug; Tomato Hornworm;  
Plum  Apricot;      
Plumbago    Butterflies; Honeybees;    
PotatoBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collard; Coriander; Dead Nettle; Horehound; Horseradish; Lettuce; Marigold; Onion; Petunia; Tansy;   Apple; Apricot; Black Walnut Tree; Pear; Sunflower;      
RadishBeans; Beets; Broccoli; Cabbage; Carrot; Cauliflower; Chervil; Collard Cucumber; Cucumber; Grapes; Lettuce; Melon; Nasturtium; Onion; Parsnip; Pea; Radish; Spinach; Squash;   Hyssop;     Cabbage Maggot; Corn Earworm; Cucumber Beetle; Squash Bug; Squash Vine Borer;   Repels Corn Earworms after going to seed.
Rhododendron  Black Walnut Tree;      
RhubarbBroccoli; Cabbage; Garlic; Onion; Rose;        

A good companion to all brassicas. Try planting cabbage and broccoli plants in your rhubarb patch and watch them thrive. Rhubarb protects beans against black fly. It helps deter red spider mites from the columbines. A spray made from boiled rhubarb leaves, which contain the poison oxalic acid may be used to prevent blackspot on roses and as an aphicide.

RoseChive; Feverfew; Garlic; Geranium; Marigold; Onion; Parsley;        
RosemaryBeans; Broccoli; Cabbage; Carrot; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collard; Sage;       Cabbage Moth; Carrot Fly; Mexican Bean Beetle; Moths; Snails; Slugs;  
RueBroccoli; Rose; Raspberry;   Basil; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Sage;     Cucumber Beetle; Flea Beetle; Flies; Japanese Beetle;   Repels Japanese Beatles when planted with Roses and Raspberries.
Rye  Barberry; Lettuce;      
SageBroccoli; Cabbage; Carrot; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collards; Marjoram; Rosemary; Strawberry;   Cucumber; Onion; Rue;   Cabbage Butterfly; Honeybees;   Carrot Fly; Beetles; Black Flea Beetle; Cabbage Looper; Cabbage Maggot; Cabbage Moth; Flea Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm; Slugs;  

Allowing sage to flower will also attract many beneficial insects and the flowers are pretty. There are some very striking varieties of sage with variegated foliage that can be used for their ornamental as well as practical qualities.

Salvia    Butterflies; Honeybees;    
Savory      Cabbage Moth; Mexican Bean Beetle;  
SouthernwoodCabbage;       Flea Beetle; Imported Cabbageworm;  

Plant with cabbage and around the garden. Wonderful lemony scent when crushed or brushed in passing. Roots easily from cuttings. Does not like fertilizer! It is a perennial that can get quite bushy. A delightful plant that is virtually pest free.

SowthistleCorn; Onion; Tomato;        
SoybeanCorn;         Fixes nitrogen into the soil. Soybeans also repel chinch bugs and Japanese beetles.
Spearmint      Cabbage Looper;  
SpinachCelery; Cauliflower; Eggplant; Pea; Strawberry;        
SquashBeans; Corn; Mint; Nasturtium; Onion; Radish; Sunflower; Tansy;   Potato;      
StrawberryBorage; Beans; Lettuce; Onion; Sage; Spinach;   Cabbage;      
Summer SavoryBeans; Onion;     Honeybees;   Cabbage Moth; Mexican Bean Beetle; Sweet Potato Weevil; Black Aphids;  
SunflowerBeans; Corn; Squash;   Potato;     Aphids;  
Sweet PotatoAlyssum; Beans; Beets; Dill; Oregano; Parsnip; Potato; Thyme; Salsify; Savory;   Squash;      

Sweet potatoes are not the same as regular potatoes. They are a member of the morning glory family. "Regular" potatoes are a member of the Solanaceae family which is the same as tomatoes, peppers etc. Aromatic herbs make good companion plants. Summer savory helps to confuse and perhaps repel the Sweet potato weevil. Sweet potato does well with root crops. Alyssum makes a perfect living mulch for them. A problem with sweet potatoes and squash is they will compete with each other as they both like to spread out. In fact that is the general problem with sweet potatoes - they take up so much room and need full sun. Another idea is to grow them in a container.

Sweet William    Butterflies; Honeybees;    
TansyFruit Trees; Pepper; Raspberry; Rose;   Collard;     Asparagus Beetle; Colorado Potato Beetle; Cucumber Beetle; Flea Beetle; Flies; Imported Cabbageworm; Japanese Beetle; Mice; Squash Bug; Striped Cucumber Beetle;  
Tarragon        Enhances most vegetables when planted among them.
ThymeBroccoli; Cabbage; Cauliflower; Chinese Cabbage; Collard;       Cabbage Looper; Cabbage Moth; Cabbage Worm; Imported Cabbageworm; Whitefly;  
Tobacco      Carrot Fly; Flea Beetle;  
TomatoBorage; Broccoli; Cabbage; Calendula; Carrot; Cauliflower; Celery; Chive; Horehound; Marigold; Onion; Parsley; Pea; Petunia; Mint; Sage;   Apricot; Dill; Black Walnut Tree; Corn; Fennel;     Asparagus Beetle; Cabbage Worm;  
Turnip  Delphinium; Larkspur; Mustard;      
Wheat  Barberry; Lettuce;      
Wormwood      Cabbage Looper; Cabbage Maggot; Carrot Fly; Flea Beetle; Mice; Moths; Whitefly;   Improves growth of most vegetables.
Yarrow    Lady Beetle; Parasitic Wasp; Syrphid Fly;     Plant near aromatic herbs to enhance production of essential oils.
Yew      Japanese Beetle;  


Forest Ecology

Layers of the Food Forest

Category: EcologyPermaculture

There are generally 8 identifyable layers to the forest ecology:
  1. Canopy (tall trees, large fruit & nut trees)
  2. Understorey (smaller fruit trees)
  3. Shrubs and Bushes (currants & berries)
  4. Herbaceous (herbs and flowers)
  5. Groundcovers (plants that live close to the ground)
  6. Climbers and Vines
  7. Rhyzosphere (Root) layer (storage root plants)
  8. Fungal and Bacterial layer
Other possible layers:
  • Emergent layer (very tall palms found in the wet tropics)
  • Sub-Canopy layer (understorey palms in sub-tropics and tropics)
  • Clumping layer (plants that clump together in bunches)
  • Small Herbs layer (in a temperate climate)

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Don't fridge those vegies!

Category: HealthPermaculture

Date: 5 March 2011

Description: Think before you fridge... refrigeration won't help ripen your vegetables, and it certainly doesn't improve their taste.


Stop! Don't put those vegies in the fridge.

It's automatic, isn't it? You get home, back from the supermarket or the store, and pop that pack of tomatoes in the fridge. Maybe it's not tomatoes and its strawberries instead. When you go to eat them later, supposedly fresh from the fridge, they just don't taste right. That's the fridge effect for you.

Because so much of what we buy is kept in giant fridges in the supermarkets, and because the labels say "best stored in a refridgerator", we just shove it in there, no questions asked. Try reading the label closer; best stored in a refridgerator. Well, it's kind of right. If you want strawberries or nectarines to last longer, stick them in the fridge. If you want them to taste better, don't.

Thing is, storing things in the fridge won't ripen them, and certainly won't make them taste any better. Think of the ideal situation; walking out to a nectarine tree or a strawberry plant in your back garden, choosing a perfectly ripe fruit, picking it, then eating it right there - it tastes absolutely delicious and guess what - no fridge in sight.

It is unfortunate however that if you don't store many types of fruit in a fridge, they won't last as long, but there's an easy way around this - eat it! Supermarkets have gotten us into the habit of the large once weekly shop, when in fact there isn't much fresh fruit and veg that you should be buying in quantities large enough to store and use for a week. Fruit is so much better when it's fresh, and loses taste and nutritional value the longer it is stored. Some fruit and vegetables, such as peas or sweetcorn, should be eaten so quickly after harvesting (because the sugars start converting into starches) that they'll never taste as good as they can from a supermarket. Other fruit, such as pears, can actually never be harvested when perfectly ripe because they are just too perishable, but that's another feature on its own.

Tomatoes really shouldn't be stored in the fridge - if they're fresh, they'll last for up to a week in the fruit bowl, and they shouldn't be kept any longer than that. The tart taste of tomatoes is due to a chemical called Linolenic Acid converting to Z-3-Hexenel, and this reaction is disrupted by cold. If you must store tomatoes, bring them out of the fridge for at least an hour before eating to let them warm to room temperature. Tomatoes are disadvantaged to begin with, since they are picked long before they are ripe, when they are still green all over, and then ripened in large ripening rooms using ethylene gas. Even vine ripened tomatoes are treated in this manner.

Some types of citrus fruit in particular suffer from chill damage, including mandarins and lemons and limes. When fruit is chill damaged, the internal structure of the fruit is damaged to the extent that metabolic reactions necessary for ripening can no longer take place, and in citrus fruit at least is typically shown by a dulling of the skin and a drying out of the fruit inside.

Stone fruit are a funny bunch. Some of the best tasting fruit are in this category, yet they aren't treated properly. Chilling injury can occur in soft fruit very easily, when the fruit is subjected to cold temperatures for as little as ten days, and by cold temperatures, about 9°C (50°F), which is warmer than the average home fridge. Storing stone fruit below this temperature when they are near ripe encourages breakdown of the fruit, and results in a nasty, dry, mealy tasting fruit.

Let's not go too far the other way though - some produce benefits from being stored in the refrigerator. Carrots, for example, will not last long at all outside of a fridge; they lose moisture and go wrinkly and dry, and eventually soft (take it from someone who ran a produce department only half chilled and lost a lot of carrots!), and fortunately, not much of the taste is lost in carrots during refrigeration. Potatoes are easy too and you've probably been storing those right for years - a cool room (10-15°C) away from light benefits them the most; don't put salad potatoes in the fridge! It encourages the conversion of starches to sugars, and gives them a very sweet taste; indeed, they can even be part caramelised during cooking because there is so much sugar present, and that's not good for potatoes.

So what causes the ripening process in fruit, and how can we control it to our advantage? Fruit ripening is largely due to a gas, a plant hormone called ethylene. The ripening effects of ethylene have been known for millennia; the ancient Egyptians would gas figs to stimulate their ripening, and the ancient Chinese would burn incense in closed rooms to promote ripening of pears. It wasn't until the turn of the last century, in 1901, that a Russian scientist called Dimitry Nelijubow isolated ethylene as the active ripening agent, and it took until 1934 for it to be discovered that plants produced ethylene.

Ethylene is actually responsible for multiple processes within plants, but we're just interested in ripening. Ethylene is produced from a chemical called ACC; what it stands for isn't really important to us, but what we do need to know is that the reaction increases in the presence of oxygen, hence the use of Controlled Atmosphere for storage which we'll touch on in a moment. The other important thing to remember is, as many biological reactions, this one increases in speed with temperature; therefore, keeping fruit cold, in a fridge for example, slows down the production of ethylene gas, which in turn slows down ripening. Hence why we should store things in a fridge to keep them longer.

So fruit produce ethylene gas, which causes them to ripen, right? Well, kind of - fruit ideally need an external source of ethylene to ripen, that is, they don't really ripen from what they produce themselves. Bananas are good producers of ethylene, which is why it's commonly recommended to place any fruit you want ripening in a paper bag with some bananas.

All types of fruit produce different amounts of ethylene, and all types of fruit are sensitive to it and affected by it in different amounts. Some good ethylene producers are apples, bananas, melons, peaches, pears and tomatoes, whilst some sensitive items are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and lettuce.

Unless we understood the process of ripening, we wouldn't have perfected our supply chain of bananas; there are stories that early shipments of bananas came ashore on ships along with shipments of citrus fruit. The bananas had produced large quantities of ethylene during the voyage, and were ripening naturally, while the citrus, a fruit sensitive to ethylene, had ripened and decayed into a squidgy mess. Nowadays, controlled atmosphere is typically used for shipment of fruit. Fortunately, it doesn't noticeably damage the quality of the fruit, but then again, how many of you have grown and eaten your own bananas?

-- member comments --
2011-06-10  15:27:13
I have always fridged my tomatoes... guess it's time for a change.

Plant Hardiness Zones

for Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A, and Europe

Category: PermaculturePatterning

Date: 05 April 2011

Author: Arseny Peisakhov


Inoculating Cover Crop

with Bacterial and Fungal solutions

Category: AgriculturePermacultureBiology

Date: 08 March 2011

Description: A guide to cover crop inoculation.


Inoculation Methods

All plants require nitrogen for growth and although this is freely available in the atmosphere it is not in a form that plants can utilise.

Legume plants have the unique ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen by means of bacteria which live in symbiosis on the nodules of their roots.

There are numerous species of these bacteria and each has the ability to nodulate different host plants. These bacteria have been isolated and separate cultures prepared in a peat medium which can be used to distribute the bacteria over the surface of the seed prior to sowing. This distribution over the seed will ensure effective nodulation and thus the process of nitrogen fixation by the host plant.

The use of these peat cultures is always advisable when the legume crop or plant is introduced to new land for the first time. In virgin soils the response to inoculant is not spectacular since such soils rarely contain the appropriate Rhizobia. There is evidence that inoculant hastens establishment of the pasture and in most cases more nodules are formed on neutral rather than on acid soils.

In some cases, the soil may already contain adequate numbers of effective bacteria from previous sowings of similar legumes. The conditions may also be adverse for bacteria and the host plant, for example, acid soils, waterlogged conditions, soil too dry or from various deficiencies.

It should therefore be recognised that with so many variables, the use of commercial cultures will help to ensure effective nodulation and that the correct stain of Rhizobium is available in the soil for the host plant. In the early 1930's little more than the maintenance of a small range of mostly imported strains of Rhizobium was attempted. With the advent of the tropical pasture revolution there was a need to accumulate knowledge and to rethink the philosophy and development of the legume-Rhizobium symbosis. Today, there exists very specific strains of bacteria, particularly among the tropical species.

It should be recognised that mixing of inoculated seed with superphosphate for even one hour before sowing will significantly reduce establishment and prolonged contact will completely eliminate the bacteria. Exposure of the inoculated seed to sunlight, high temperatures, dry conditions and many chemicals will also be detrimental to the bacteria and special precautions need to be taken.

Methods of Peat Inoculation

There are many procedures for inoculating seed available and the method chosen depends on a number of factors, such as the expected response to inoculation, the trouble the farmer is prepared to go to, the acidity of the soil and the contact between the seed and the fertiliser etc.

The methods include:

  • Slurry Inoculation: Prepare a slurry by mixing the contents of the packet with 1000mls of cool, clean water. Pour this slurry mixture over the correct weight of seed and mix thoroughly making sure that all the seeds are evenly coated.
  • Dusting: The peat culture is mixed with the seed and may be carried out in the drill or combine. The seed may be pre-moistened with water.
  • Lime pelleting: An adhesive material is used and there are many grades of Methyl Cellulose on the market, some of which are required to be dissolved in boiling water and other in cold water.

Inoculant Preparation

  1. Calculate the quantities of materials needed for different legumes. The quantities required will vary with the size of the seed.
  2. Mix the peat culture with pre-prepared adhesive making sure the solution has been cooled first.
  3. Pour this mixture over the seed and stir until all the seeds are wet.
  4. Add immediately the required amount of finely ground limestone and mix until the seeds are evenly coated and well pelleted. Cease mixing as soon as the pellet has been formed.

The adhesive used in pelleting provides some protection for the bacteria from the harmful effects of high temperatures and the drying associated with storage and dry sowing. However, it is best to inoculate seed as close as possible to sowing. Ideally, it should be sown into moist soil immediately.

Inoculation groups:

ALLucerne Lucerne, Strand Medic, Disc Medic
AMAnnual Medics Barrel Medic, Burr Medic, Snail Medic, Sphere Medic, Gama Medic, Murex Medic
BClover White Clover, Red Clover, Strawberry Clover, Alsike Clover, Berseem (Egyptian) Clover, Cluster or Ball Clover, Suckling Clover
CSub Clover Crimson Clover, Cupped Clover, Helmet Clover, Purple Clover, Rose Clover, Sub Clover; Arrowleaf Clover, Balansa Clover, Gland Clover, Persian (Shaftal) Clover
EPea Field Pea, Grass Pea, Common Vetch or Tare, Narbon Bean, Bitter Vetch, Lathyrus, Purple Vetch, Pea, Woolly Pod Vetch
FFaba Faba, Tick or Broad Bean; Lentil
GLupin All Lupin
HSoy Soybean
IMung Bean Cowpea, Mung Bean, Moth Bean, Dune Bean, Rice Bean, Snake Bean, Creeping Vigna
JLab Lab Dolichos Lablab, Pigeon Pea, Hyacinth Bean; Perennial Horse Gram (Macrotyloma axillare)
MSiratro Butterfly Pea, Atro, Tropical Kudzu, Puero; Glycine, Siratro, Jack Bean, Calopo, Gambia Pea, Phasey Bean, Velvet Bean, Banana Bean, Wing Bean or Goa, Wynn Cassia, Kudzu
NChickpea All Chickpea
OPersian Clover Persian or Shaftal Clover
PPeanut Peanut or Groundnut
SSerradella All Serradella

Lemons: the Healing Wonder fruit

A superfood for multiple ailments and catalyst for sustainability of general health and vitality

Category: HealthSciencePermaculture

Date: 10 September 2011

Author: Summarised by Arseny Peisakhov

Description: A truly wonderful creation of nature, Lemons posess invaluable healing properties. They are also one of the only known predominantly anionic foods on the planet. Read on...


Healing properties of Lemons

An extract from the book Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss.

"The medicinal value of the lemon is as follows: It is an antiseptic, or is an agent that prevents sepsis [the presence of pathogenic bacteria] or putrefaction [decomposition of tissue]. It is also anti-scorbutic, a term meaning a remedy which will prevent disease and assist in cleansing the system of impurities."

Due to the digestive qualities of lemon juice, symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, bloating and belching are relieved. By drinking lemon juice regularly, the bowels are aided in eliminating waste more efficiently thus controlling constipation and diarrhea.

The lemon is a wonderful stimulant to the liver and is a dissolvent of uric acid and other poisons, liquefies the bile, and is very good in cases of malaria. Sufferers of chronic rheumatism and gout will benefit by taking lemon juice, also those who have a tendency to bleed, uterine hemorrhages, etc.; rickets and tuberculosis. In pregnancy, it will help to build bone in the child. We find that the lemon contains certain elements which will go to build up a healthy system and keep that system healthy and well. As a food, we find, owing to its potassium content, it will nourish the brain and nerve cells. Its calcium builds up the bony structure and makes healthy teeth.

Its magnesium, in conjunction with calcium, has an important part to play in the formation of albumen in the blood. The lemon contains potassium 48.3, calcium 29.9, phosphorus 11.1, magnesium 4.4. Lemons are useful in treating asthma, biliousness, colds, coughs, sore throat, diphtheria, la grippe [flu or influenza], heartburn, liver complaint[s], scurvy, fevers and rheumatism.

Why Lemons work so well

In A.F. Beddoe's book Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition , he states that: "Man does not live off the food he eats but off of the energy that is produced from the food he eats."

The energy you get from your food comes from the atoms and molecules of energy in your food. A reaction takes place as cationic food enters the digestive tract and encounters anionic digestive enzymes.

To explain further, an ion is part of a molecule con-atom or a group of atoms that carry an electrical charge. An "anion" is an ion with a negative charge and a "cation" is an ion with a positive charge. Lemons are considered to be anionic, having more anions (negatively charged ions) of energy as compared to cations (positively charged ions) in their atomic structure. Saliva, hydrochloric acid, bile and the stomach's other digestive juices are also anionic.

How is energy created from the food we eat? As explained in the Biological Theory of Ionization, the process of ionization is the LAW OF PUTTING THINGS TOGETHER AND TAKING THEM APART, ION BY ION. The electrons in the outer orbit of an anion move in a different manner from the electrons in the outer orbit of a cation. In the human body, the clash of anionic and cationic foods gives off energy; that is, the resistance between these orbiting anionic and cationic molecules in the human body actually creates the necessary energy for good health.

Lemon is one of the only foods on the planet that has more anions than cations in its atomic structure.

When considering the electromagnetic properties of food Dr. Beddoe points out that all foods are considered cationic with the exception of fresh, raw lemon juice. Some have suggested that the reason fresh lemon juice is similar to digestive enzymes is due to the low amount of sulfur in lemons. It should be noted that pasteurized and packaged lemon juice is cationic and, therefore, ineffective as a health remedy.

  1. Jethro Kloss 'Back to Eden', ISBN: 978-094098-509-4
  2. Dr. Alexander F. Beddoe 'Biological Ionization in Human Nutrition', ISBN: 978-188120-101-4
  3. Weston A. Price 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration', Keats Publishing, Inc. ISBN: 978-087983-816-4
2012-05-06  18:12:52
A daily intake of Lemon Water works wonders on the immune system. I personally like to make Honey, Lemon, Ginger tea - Honey for sweetness and Ginger for a light spicy effect. Don't use boiling water.
The Mandelbrot Universe

Mandelbrot Set fractal

The Mandelbrot Set and its Meaning

Category: ScienceMathematicsSacred GeometryComputer GraphicsComputer Aided DesignPatterning

Date: 15 May 2011


The Mandelbrot Set

In mathematics the Mandelbrot set, named after Benoît Mandelbrot, is a set of points in the complex plane, the boundary of which forms a fractal. Mathematically the Mandelbrot set can be defined as the set of complex values of c for which the orbit of 0 under iteration of the complex quadratic polynomial zn+1 = zn2 + c remains bounded. That is, a complex number, c, is in the Mandelbrot set if, when starting with z0=0 and applying the iteration repeatedly, the absolute value of zn never exceeds a certain number (that number depends on c) however large n gets.

For example, letting c = 1 gives the sequence 0, 1, 2, 5, 26, ..., which tends to infinity. As this sequence is unbounded, 1 is not an element of the Mandelbrot set.

On the other hand, c = i (where i is the square root of -1) gives the sequence 0, i, (−1 + i), −i, (−1 + i), −i..., which is bounded and so i belongs to the Mandelbrot set.

When computed and graphed on the complex plane the Mandelbrot Set is seen to have an elaborate boundary which does not simplify at any given magnification. This qualifies the boundary as a fractal.


Mineral Interactions and Absorption fact sheet

How minerals are absorbed in the human body

Category: ScienceHealth

Date: 17 October 2009

Author: Dr. Steven E. Whiting, PhD

Description: Discussing factors that affect mineral uptake and absorption in the human body, and outlines our direct relationship to the mineral depleted soils we grow our crops in, and the general degradation in human health since the pharmaceutical age began.


Soil Mineral Depletion

Of all the nutritional supplements consumed, both past and present, there remains more confusion about minerals than any other. This is specifically true with regard to trace minerals. When you talk about vitamins you have either natural or synthetic and in many cases they are very similar with the exception of the fat soluble ones.

Minerals on the other hand have many factors about them which will not only affect their absorption but can make a difference as to whether or not they could build up to potentially toxic levels in the blood and soft tissues. In order to fully understand what type of trace mineral product you should be taking, a discussion of these many factors is necessary.

Firstly it is important to establish that the need for trace mineral supplementation is very real. Factors such as soil mineral depletion & soil erosion are well documented. These factors have reduced the available minerals in farmlands to less than 20% of what they were even 100 years ago.

The concept of re-fertilizing with NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potash or potassium) has been in vogue for decades yet there is overwhelming evidence to show that while this nutrient combination produces higher yield per acre the plants grown on those soils are weak and subject to attack by varieties of pests which then have to be controlled with potentially harmful chemicals.

Dr. Weston A. Price in his pioneer work entitled Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, discussed the issue of NPK fertilization and the dangers to higher forms of animals, including man, that must live of plants produced by such limited nutrients. He established the differences between truly healthy plants and NPK plants way back in the 1940's!

Yet despite this long span of time nothing has been done to address the gross deficiencies of both our soils and the crops raised upon them. Until the mid 1980's most people considered good nutrition to be a multiple vitamin with the major minerals and a few isolated trace elements thrown in for good measure.

Even though liquid minerals have been produced in limited amounts since the 1920's it wasn't until about 1985 or 1986 that they became popular through the marketing efforts of a very few select companies. Naturally as the popularity of these liquid minerals caught on more and more companies came out with so-called 'colloidal minerals' in an attempt to try and capture some of what was rapidly becoming 'the latest craze.'

And understandably so for the results that users of these liquid minerals were experiencing was nothing less than amazing. It seemed that with the addition of the mineral product people were getting better usage from the other nutrients they were taking.

Further it appeared that when these liquid minerals were present the entire biochemistry of the user improved and many aches, pains, and other maladies slowly disappeared. We will explore some of the possible reasons for this phenomenal response shortly but suffice it to say that with this kind of response, every company in the business has tried to jump on the bandwagon with a mineral product.

Unfortunately not all of these products are the same nor to they begin to have the same level of efficacy within the human biochemistry. Many of them have been adulterated in a variety of ways and as we are about to illustrate, this adulteration hampers or destroys the very 'life essence' that makes these minerals so valuable to your biochemistry.

  1. Price, Weston A. 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration', Keats Publishing, Inc.
  2. Schwarz, K. 1977 J American Medical Assoc. 288: 226.
  3. Passwater, Richard A. PhD et al 'Trace Elements, Hair Analysis and Nutrition', 1983 Keats Publishing Inc.
  4. Schroeder, HA. 1965. J. Chronic Dis. 18: 647.
  5. Todd, Gary P., MD. unpublished observations
  6. Popp, Fritz Albert. 'Bioelectronic Respons of Cellular Stimulation'
  7. Mervyn, Len PhD. 'Minerals And Your Health', Keats Publishing, Inc.
  8. Bland, Jeffrey, PhD. 'Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition', Keats Publishing, Inc.

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