June 2011

This recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides evidence that people have been doing selective breeding of plants–using evolutionary concepts of selection–as early as 10,000 years ago. This work continues today.

However, I post this research here with a warning. (more…)

aprium harvestI’m struggling with language here, so any advice is appreciated. An aprium is a new fruit variety, created by Zaiger Genetics. It’s 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum, just the reverse of a pluot, also developed by Zaiger Genetics. (Before rambling on about my garden, I should mention that the SF Chronicle had a nice article on the Zaiger family a few days ago. I visited their farm a few years ago while on a tasting tour and met them. They’re good people, and (more…)

Nicholas Kristof has a nice summary of one of the major problems we face as a culture, antibiotic resistance of dangerous bacteria, due to massive overuse of antibiotics in agriculture. Read his NY Times column on the topic. If you don’t know about this problem, or, even if you do, this is a must-read article. Our Federal government (we won’t get into state government problems here) no longer watches out for public health, but focuses instead on the health of large corporations. This is the tragedy of modern American politics and governance. His article describes just one instance of this in agriculture, which is just one industry where this is true.

Pepino dulce Solanum muricatumLast year I heard about another fruit I hadn’t tried, Pepino dulce. It’s a plant from South America that no longer is found in the wild, but is a domesticated fruit-bearing shrub. The fruit is reputed to taste like a kiwi fruit. Last summer, (more…)

My garden began about eight or nine years ago with a cutting from a blackberry, given to me by a guy in Berkeley. That was not only my first plant in my food garden, but it is also my first big harvest each year. It’s a well-established perennial that has produced over 50 pints in each of the past two years. I’ve had several 10-pint days of ripe berries and one blast of a day last year at 27 pints.

This year is going well. I’ve been getting a small but steady supply of raspberries and blueberries and (more…)