Monday, December 21, 2009

A Call for Cannas

CannaLilies
These. We need them.

My work with Houston food security continues. In the last two weekends I've taught eight wild edible plant classes both at the Last Organic Outpost and down at Armand Bayou.

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Trust me, I'm a doctor! Sidenote: I'm holding toxic nightshade. Don't eat it!
(photo by Mona Metzger of Houston Green Scene at the recent LOO anniversary party)

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Schooling homeschoolers down at Armand Bayou (check out the awesome shots of me teaching here). Yes, I'm vain and egotistical. I have a blog, how could you think I'd be anything else?! :-)

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Afternoon session at Armand Bayou. Remember, you too can invite me to teach!

What's with the canna lilies? Well, currently Houston Garden Centers are having their big 70% off sale, dropping the price of 1-gallon pot sized canna lilies to just $1.00! Cannas are an excellent source of starch calories and so as part of the grassroots Houston Food Security program we are trying to buy them all up for planting out at the Last Organic Outpost. You can help by purchasing canna lilies at your local Houston Garden Center and donating them to the not-for-profit LOO on Saturdays or Sundays. Seriously, this could make a world of difference for Houston.

It makes sense to pick up a few cannas for yourself, too. They can handle sun or shade, wet or dry conditions, and produce a plethora of calorie-filled tubers. Growing to six feet tall, they make an excellent summertime screen topped with beautiful flowers. Their only pest are leaf-rollers but these are easily destroyed. Frost will kill the above-ground portion but new shoots will come up from the tubers a few weeks later.

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Full-grown canna lilies. Oh, they are pretty!

While out at Houston Garden Center you might consider also spending $5 on a Elaeagnus. This shrub produces sweet edible berries whose peanut-tasting seed can also be eaten. They grow to about six feet tall but can be pruned shorter. Elaeagnus can grow in either sun or shade and the soil does not need to be very fertile, just well drained. Allong with the edible fruit, this plant is also a nitrogen fixer which helps plants around it grow! Currently most Houston Garden Centers have rows of these on clearance. Why plant ligustrums, pittosporums, or red-tipped photinias when you can have food-producers instead?!

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One of my new Elaeagnus. The copper-colored leaves are not dead, that's the natural color of the leaf bottoms.

Adventure! Excitement! Seven Fat Cows!

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Thanks for a great class, my friend. I look forward to taking more.