Tag Archives: homesteader

Simple Living: A Stroll in the Forest, Foraging Mastic, Carob & Strawberry Tree Fruit

I experiment with using cardboard boxes as mulch in the orchard and touch on some frugal uses for September’s gifts from the forest: leaf mould compost to start seeds, and moss for rooting cuttings.

I also sample a hearty selection of wild Autumn fruits as I wander the woods. I even come across some tree-cured olives still hanging on their trees many months after ripening.

I stumble onto a strawberry tree that has ripe fruit already; an astounding mutation considering that all the other strawberry trees I’ve seen won’t ripen their fruits until December-January. Just another example of the diversity apparent in wild seedling trees.

Finally, I happen onto another naturally-occurring edible tree guild, and before I head back to the cabin, I take a look at four ancient olive trees that were planted in the same hole. Truly the epitome of efficiency.

Wild plants featured in this instalment:

Golden Oak Tree “Quercus alnifolia” – (Acorns edible after leeching)
Mastic Tree “Pistacia lentiscus” (Edible berries & gum)
Strawberry Tree “Arbutus adrachne” (Edible berries)
Olive Tree “Olea europaea” (Edible after processing)
Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Carob Tree “Ceratonia siliqua” (Edible pods)

Simple Living: Harvesting Heirloom Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Summer Apples, Foraging Wild Sumac

Wild plants featured in this instalment:

Sicilian Sumac / Sumach “Rhus Coriaria” (Edible / Drinkable)
Red Ink Plant / Poke Berry / Poke Weed “Phytolacca Pruinosa” (Not edible)
Iberian Milk Vetch “Astragalus lusitanicus ssp. orientalis” (Not edible)

Heirloom and open-pollinated tomatoes:

Tropic VFN (Heat tolerant variety)
Black Cherry (smoky tasting, my favourite cherry)
San Marzano (perfect plum tomato, good for sun drying)
German Orange Strawberry
Currant Sweet Pea
Principe Borghese (the nipple tomato – great for sun drying)
Roma
Ailsa Craig (shared with a mysterious tomato-eating creature)
Gardener’s Delight (a prolific red cherry tomato, makes up the majority of my harvest)

Cucumbers:

White Wonder / Bianco Lungo
Lungo Verde degli Ortolani
Mediterranean

From the orchard:

Anna Apple
Persimmon

Simple Living: Companion Planting Strawberries & Pine Trees, Making a Meal of What’s in the Garden

I make good use of some pine trees, and make some quick raw vegan cucumber spiral spaghetti using only things I picked from the garden (tomatoes, sweet peppers, mint, basil and cucumbers), as well a few of the olives I prepared in a previous video.

The tool I use to make the noodles is a Gefu Spirelli Spiral Slicer, but there are much better spiral slicers out there that won’t make your wrists sore. You can also use carrots to make this meal in the winter, or mix carrot and cucumber. Typically, zuccinis / courgettes are used, but they don’t agree with me, and cucumbers taste a whole lot better.

You’ll want to use cucumbers with small seeds, such as the Mediterranean cucumbers I use.

Simple Living: Wandering Around the Orchard and Garden in June, Eating What I Find

I take a stroll around the land in the summer heat and sample the delicious morsels I find. An unfortunate young hare had the same idea, but ran into my cat.

The wild edibles I find in this instalment are: lamb’s quarters, amaranth, prickly pear pads, purslane, wild kale, mallow, prickly lettuce and chamomile.

Sunflowers are featured as a green manure plant as well as a companion plant for shading cucumbers in the hot summer. Basil is used as a companion plant with tomatoes.

I also take a look at one of my second-year bell pepper plants, and munch on a couple of tomato varieties: Currant Sweet Pea, and an unknown cross between Black Cherry and something else.

You might notice the sparse foliage on some of my tomato plants. This land was a tomato plantation sometime before I bought it, and the soil still has disease in it, so I’m forced to strip any diseased leaves off each affected tomato plant to stop it from spreading and killing the plant.

Next year I’m going to have to plant my tomatoes on virgin land higher up on the mountain and work on curing the affected soil. My girlfriend told me she heard that old-timers planted onions and garlic to leech disease out of their soil, so I’m currently trying to find out more on that, if anyone has any information.

This is only my second year working this land, and I couldn’t be happier with it so far. There are more than 80 fruit trees (everything from apples to mulberries to mangoes), and they’re all thriving. Now that the annual green manures have reached the end of their lifecycle, it’s time to start planting perennial native green manures, but more on that later.

My goal is to guide this land into a sustainable Mediterranean food forest using adapted permaculture ideals.

Simple Living: Wild Salsola Soda / Saltwort / Agretti / Barilla Foraging

Salsola Soda is one of the most under-appreciated wild plants in the world, that sadly sits uneaten while people are hungry. Unfortunately, much of its native coastal habitat in Cyprus is currently being torn down by developers.