In this indispensable guide, Farm City author Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal share their experience as successful urban farmers and provide practical blueprints-complete with rich visual material-for novice and experienced growers looking to bring the principles of ethical food to the city streets. The Essential Urban Farmer guides readers from day one to market day, advising on how to find the perfect site, design a landscape, and cultivate crops. For anyone who has ever grown herbs on windowsills, or tomatoes on fire escapes, this is an invaluable volume with the potential to change our menus, our health, and our cities forever.
Isabell Shipard recommends growing hardy vegetables for self-sufficiency and survival. Here are the ones that store well:
African cucumber – will store for over 12 months
Pumpkin – Australian Ironbark, Baby Blue, Jack Be Little, Jack O’Lantern, Jarrahdale, Marina di Chioggia, Musque de Provence, Queensland Blue, Red Kuri
Squash – Blue Hubbard, Golden Hubbard, Green Hubbard
When pumpkin vines die down, pick mature fruit with plenty of stem. Make sure they’re well coloured and the stem has cracked. Cure the fruit for 10 days in the sun outdoors, or on a verandah in poor weather, to harden the skin so that they keep.
Store under cover on straw or shredded paper – in a cool, mouse-proof place.
Hay box cooking was popular during World War II when fuel was rationed. It is a way to save energy by turning off the oven or burner just before the food is completely cooked, and the allowing your food to continue cooking in a hay box. The lid of your pot needs to fit tightly to keep the heat in.
You will need a box made from plastic or metal. Fill it with dry hay
Cook your food in the usual way until it is hot but not completely cooked.
Turn off the heat, then quickly place the pot or pan into a hay box on a layer of straw. Make sure you cover the pot with more hay and seal the lid.
Leave for a few hours while your food continues to cook in your insulated homemade oven. Plan well ahead – the normal cooking time for this method is 4-5 hours, though it varies greatly depending on what you’re cooking. Experiment, but make very sure that any meat is fully cooked through.
Conventional oven sprays contain some of the nastiest chemicals. Many are corrosive lye-based (sodium hydroxide) solutions that are dangerous to inhale.
Our green cleaner put the oven parts into the outside sink (which is larger and deeper then our kitchen sink) and soaked them for several hours. I wish I knew what she put in the water to soak off the grime.
I’ve had lots of success with using bicarb soda and vinegar for cleaning the top of stove and around the hot plates. The only problem was that I accidentally blocked up the gas hole and then one plate didn’t work properly until I gave it another more thorough clean.
Mix bicarb soda with water and leave the paste on for half an hour to loosen the grime, then wipe it off with a sponge or rag.