Announcement!!!!


Breaking Urban Ground

is thrilled to announce our first issue of

Breaking Urban Ground magazine.

It is currently available on iPads everywhere in the Newsstand app. We have interviews from Paul Gautschi on his amazing Back to Eden garden. Larry Hall talks to us about the Rain Gutter Automatic Watering System he created. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds comes to you via the voice of Jere Gettle. A personality local to me, Gretchen Anderson answers some of our questions about starting backyard chickens. If chickens are not for you maybe our discussion with Vice President of Mann Lake Ltd may interest you. Jack Thomas gives us great advice on the topic of becoming a bee keeper. If you want to know anything about real world emergency preparedness then you will want to catch Steven Harris‘ interview. He tells us what every home can do to take a first (and easy) step toward counting on yourself in a power outage or if you lose a regular water supply. We even have a special article contributed to us from Pepper Miller. Her 3 part blog article “The Chicken Plan” is an example for you to see how one person put her wish to keep chickens into practice.

We are thrilled about the launch of the magazine but we are always looking forward to new issues. We are building June’s magazine right now and would love your participation. It can be as simple as a picture. You can send us pictures of your Breaking Urban Ground Projects. They can fall into these major categories.

Animals:

Show us your chickens, bees, rabbits, worms(worm compost projects) goats and others.

Alternate power:

Battery storage, home wind generator, solar projects, rain storage. Any utility you provide for yourself.

Food Production:

Canning successes, canning failures, dehydrated foods, cheese making, syrup, yogurt. What food did you make?

Gardening:

Your urban garden, community gardens you participate in, Veggies you grew or are growing, unusual crops, your first plant. If it is growing for food we want to see pictures.

Household Stuff:

Planter projects, a trellis you made, detergent, candles, beeswax lip balm, a bat house. This is the “construction zone”.

Preparedness:

This is more of an action than a “thing” so let’s see first aid kits, group pictures of your CPR certification class, your 72 hour kit. Send photos related to “being” ready for lives turbulent situations.

Storage:

How do you maximize your space. Lets see creative ways to manage what you have. Shelves you built, basement root cellars, serious spice cabinets.

Don’t forget to tell us about the picture. A picture of canned carrots is nice but information on who made them and a little background is better.

With all of this be sure to include the kids. Breaking Urban Ground includes all people learning to provide for themselves as they have interest. The entire family can be included. My kids don’t like gardening but love to make cheese. If your kids like doing something send pictures of their projects too.

We are all about learning. Learning includes mess-ups and failures. Send pictures of these and some info on what you learned from the experience and what you will do differently next time.

Sending your photos to Ideas@BreakingUrbanGround.com constitutes permission to use or not use the photos in future issue and articles and on the Breaking Urban Ground website and social media affiliations. Don’t send us pictures if they are not your own or you do not have authorization to distribute them.

Our first issue was so much fun to make. Lets make the next one better.

Joe Gore

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The Dandelion. If you hate them, maybe you misunderstand them.


WOOOHOOO! The Dandelion is here!!!!

We just came home from the store and I have 4 beautiful yellow flowers in my yard. Now many who read this might think I am out of my ever lovin’ mind. And 4 years ago I would have agreed with you.

They are a tenacious weed (term used loosely) that exist almost universally across the United States in the city and in the country and many other places around the world. In fact the name Dandelion comes from the  French “Dent de Lion” meaning teeth of the lion. If you view the edge of the flower petals very closely they resemble a row of teeth with canines and incisors.

Teeth of the lion.

Teeth of the lion.

I’m guessing that if you dislike Dandelions you don’t raise bees, you don’t have a garden, you don’t eat (or know how to eat) them or you are not fondly familiar with Dandelion wine.

This little plant is usually the first naturally occurring ground flower of spring and therefore is a very important source of nectar and pollen for our hungry bees coming out of the hives after consuming honey all winter. The food the Dandelions supply the bees is very important. We do have blossoming trees at this time but in areas with few flowering trees the Dandelion makes its annual appearance to save the season.

A happy bee feasting and gathering pollen.

A happy bee feasting and gathering pollen.

There are many culinary opportunities to consume the plant as well. Almost everyone has heard that Dandelion leaves are good in salad but very few people have tried it before forming an opinion on whether they like it or not. I found a rather extensive list of recipes that include Dandelion. I encourage you to peruse the list and pick one to try. See what you think about this free crop.

dandelion fritters pancakes

A word of caution: Roadside Dandelions are filthy from dirt and car exhaust and other debris. Dandelions in parks, schools and many privately owned areas get sprayed with herbicide. If you don’t know if they are clean and safe

DON’T EAT THEM.

I have never made or even tried Dandelion Wine or Dandelion Mead (honey wine) but it is something I am going to try if I can find a place or two to harvest a few pounds of Dandelion flowers in a one or two-day period. I am a big fan of homemade pear mead and I’m hoping to make a gallon of Dandelion mead to compare it with. I’m thinking for my first batch I am going to try a subtle flavor. If It proves tasty I will go for a stronger flavor next year.

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I’m hoping a few of you reading this will find a place in your heart for the durable little flower. We have come to dislike it by default because it wrecks our lawn. But really, when viewed objectively, it does way more than we give it credit for and it never asks for help. If by some chance you hate gardening but are reading this gardening blog, learn to use Dandelions and you will never have to plant, water, hoe, weed, cultivate, rake or shovel and you will always have a free springtime crop.

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Jerusalem Artichokes. If you can grow weeds you can grow these.


Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as Sunchokes  (or fartichokes) are not artichokes and they are not from Jerusalem. They are a root that tastes like an artichoke heart but they are in the sunflower family. The moniker “Jerusalem” has most likely evolved from the Italian word Girasol meaning flower of the sun. They are a very hearty plant growing in any soil with almost any amount of water in any level of sun. I know this because I tried it. I planted about 14 of the tubers in the part of my yard that gets the least sun. I made no amendments to the dirt that is there. I gave them no water other than some over spray from a near-by part of my lawn (keep in mind that this section of lawn is also shaded and gets little water as it is). I literally placed them in a 4 inch deep hole, packed dirt over them and let them be. For months. And months.

Buried alive in neglected dirt.

Buried alive in neglected dirt.

What I got was a long thin plant that grew like Jacks bean stalk up the side of my house. When it grew into the crux of my wall and roof I pulled them around the edge of the roof and let them continue up. They grew small (for a sunflower family plant) flowers and ended the season at about 12 feet tall. Then fall came and they turned brown. Then just before winter I cut them off about 1 foot tall and left them there through the snow and freezing weather. When I went out the other day and lifted one out of the dirt I was able to harvest what you see in the picture below. They are edible and quite tasty and recipes abound ranging from eating them raw to delicately prepared dishes that are fit for royalty. They are so easy to grow that there is no excuse not to if your typical excuse is time or skill. Even the most herbacidal maniac with a square foot of earth can grow one.

 

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