Archives for the month of: March, 2011

This past Sunday Binikou made a visit to the big barn-shaped center at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) headquarters in Unity, Maine for the annual seed and scion swap. The event is a grand exchange of potential for growth, in the form of gardeners and orchardists freely sharing their own abundance of nature’s seeds and tree branches!

Binikou offered our brand new thank you gifts of seed packets, using the abundance of seeds that we grew in last year’s very, very small garden in Somerville, Massachusetts, as well as some other seeds we had a plethora of. Binikou’s seeds were snapped up faster than anyone else’s seeds! (Maybe it was the appealing artwork that we put on the packets. :-)

We met friends, shared wisdom about growing and harvesting all sorts of amazing plants and mushrooms, and came home with a bag brimming with heirloom, wild, and cultivated seeds, as well as some fruit tree scions (scions are bits of branches from trees which can be rooted or grafted onto other trees and which will grow into clones of the original tree). Binikou will offer many of these seeds as thank you gifts to contributors to the project, and many of the seeds, along with the trees, will also go into an educational heritage garden at the Palermo Community Library for it’s “Living Library” project which Binikou is creating on the land surrounding the library. (An offical announcement about this will be coming soon!)

Today, you can enjoy some photos from the seed and scion swap, which was very well attended, and which featured 8 full length tables of about 100 different apple tree scions, mostly contributed by the illustrious John Bunker from Fedco Seeds and MOFGA. John might be called the modern-day Johnny Appleseed, promoting a wide heritage of apple tree clone lineages, and preserving the most delightful apple tree cultivars from all over the world. Apple trees are a unique agricultural oddity, in that each type of apple you hear about, such as Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious, is from a single original tree that has been cloned by grafting a small branch of the original tree onto another tree (often a “crab” apple tree). This is because when trees are grown from seeds, the flavor, color, size, and texture of the apples that the tree makes varies wildly, and most people only want the sweetest apples, rather than what are often called “crab” apples. Before humans started doing this cloning/grafting, apples were often very bitter, and were mostly used to make hard cider (alcohol). Nowadays we have the option of growing more wild trees from seed, and enjoying the creativity and surprise of nature’s approach to making apples, or we can clone the ones we really like. Using both approaches keeps both apple trees and humans happy!

All kinds of seeds for free!

just a few of the thousands of apple tree twigs for grafting

who knew twigs were so valuable!

grow your own heirloom popcorn!

a few of binikou's offerings

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Coming soon, Binikou seed packets as thank you gifts to anyone who contributes to Binikou, either materially or with a solution on the wiki.

Hopefully we’ll also be able to get a monetary online contribution link set up too, to make things simple for everyone.

Seeds to get excited about seeing include: Kale! Stevia! Lettuce and greens mixes! Fennel! The miraculous Ground Cherries! And more!

We’re getting bulk seeds and putting them into custom made Binikou seed packets, with hand colored artwork on them. We’re also using some seeds that we’ve saved from last year’s crops, and getting some from seed swapping events (tomorrow we’ll be at the MOFGA seed swap at the Common Ground Fairgrounds, yay!). Most of the seeds are organic, and all of the seeds are untreated (no synthetic chemicals added). We’re focusing on greens, and easy to grow stuff, so that you can enjoy the most awesome foods possible for your gardening efforts!

So, what are you most excited about growing this year?

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Now that Binikou’s website is up and running and slowly, and steadily growing, we are looking for a home in meat-space. We want some land to build the first model of a “school for humanity” that focuses on researching, testing, and sharing knowledge about how to help everyone get more of the basic needs – nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s excess solids, liquids, gases, and energy. We’re tentatively calling these spaces for hosting Binikou type programs Community Growing Spaces. (Or possibly living Resource Centers. If you really prefer one or the other name, let us know!) Here is a brief introduction to our current goal for creating a space somewhere around Augusta, or Belfast, Maine:

Community Growing Spaces are publicly owned places for sharing resources to help increase everyone’s access to basic needs for a healthy life.

Would you like to see this area with it’s own public growing space, where everyone could come to share physical, emotional, intellectual and philosophical resources for increasing the basic health of the whole community. A place to learn about, grow, prepare, and share exceptionally nutritious and delicious local food. A place to exchange your own excess resources for resources that you can use right now to improve your life. And a place to bring your stories, ideas, problems, and solutions for improving the quality of life for your family, friends, and world.

Community Growing Spaces are just that, and a whole lot more!

The first goal is to secure a location on community owned property that will host a variety of public amenities open to all, unconditionally. Our own growing space could include such amazing things as a public garden, farm, tool workshop, kitchen, library, community center, classroom, food pantry, playground, campground, event space, organic and inorganic recycling center, and nature preserve, depending on the growing needs of our community members. The space will be highly adaptable to the changing needs of the community, so that the space itself grows as the community grows. The space will be independently owned and/or run by the community itself – a public “commons” that everyone is freely encouraged to use for their needs for health and wellness.

The long term goal is to increase the availability of high quality nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s excess solids, liquids, gases, and energy for everyone in the community, so that everyone can grow into their best selves.

Right now we need help finding some land to begin creating our very first community growing space. If you know of some property that could either be donated to the project, please get in touch! Or if you want to help us locate some property for donation, please let us know!

You can also follow the progress of the folks who are spearheading the mission to create a community growing space here at the Binikou blog.

With curiosity and compassion,
Turil Cronburg

We need trees!

Possibly my favorite Binikou solution ever has just been put up:

Making maple syrup from a tree!

No fancy equipment involved except for a large drill bit and drill. Though I imagine you could easily use a small pocket knife as well…

Maple syrup is one of the best things about winter in New England!

And if you have any other ideas on how to use the raw, fresh sap, please enter them onto the wiki, too. Make tea with it?

Enjoy!

golden elixer, filled with manganese, apparently!