sixshooter
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protein from the garden?

Im starting to dream up what im going to plant this spring...and I would love to be able to get some protein from the garden. I live in Michigan (I forget what zone)...can anyone recommend me anything? Maybe some kind of beans?

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digitS'
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I have grown edamame soybeans the last 2 years.

This isn't soybean country and I felt that it was necessary to find a real early-maturing variety. The 1st year, I grew quite a few varieties but in a very short row. This year, I had about 75' of what I thought grew best.

Can't claim to have saved a lot of money since there were too many for me and my wife to eat fresh so most were harvested dry. She has made tofu before so they will go to that. But, you know . . . dry soybeans aren't very expensive. I shoulda, woulda, coulda - froze the fresh edamame. If'n I'd thought of that . . :roll: !

I'd never even tried edamame until I was harvesting my own. Realized they taste real good - :) more like peanuts than kidney beans, IMO.

Anyway, I've grown dry beans before, too. Not so tuff . . . they just require an entire growing season to mature a crop. You may want to sample a good many to find what works best for you. "Soldier" beans grew far and away better than pinto, great northern, or the others I tried that year.

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Legumes + grain = a complete protein. So if you grow legumes and even a small amount of grain (I grew wheat in an approx. 6 x 8 foot patch out by the street in 2008), that will give you a complete protein.

For more information, see Jon Jeavons' site, http://www.bountifulgardens.org , where the author of How to Grow More Vegetables... offers many unusual legumes and grains for planting.

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Another option is to contact your local extension service and ask for what types of bean crops they recommend for your area. Here is a neat list of the [url=http://www.annecollins.com/protein_diet/protein-in-beans.htm]Protien Content in Beans[/url]
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sixshooter
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Awesome. As always you guys are the best!

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!potatoes!
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groundnuts. native perennial tuber, potato-like but with much higher protein content.

many, many options for dry beans, too. in my experience, cowpeas are some of the easiest.

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digitS'
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I grew chickpeas and lentils only once, they seem to benefit very little from irrigation. They are small plants and finish their season very early. That could be of value if you want to follow them with another crop.

Field peas have been in my garden a few times. I've been a little frustrated with them . . . and saving garden pea for seed, for that matter. Weevils seem to be very happy to get in them and ruin things for me :? !

The supposed "Dry Pea and Lentil Capital of the US" is just about 100 miles south of where I live. Quite a few acres of chickpeas are grown around there as well. That is all dry land farming.

Chickpeas may only yield 500 pounds an acre but they can certainly go over 2,000 pounds per acre. Lentils may yield between 1400 pounds to 2,000 pounds per acre. Where they grow pinto beans in Texas, the people there say yield has "ranged between 900 and 2,000 pounds of marketable beans per acre."

All those numbers just go to show that different crops do better in different years, locations, climates, and with different techniques. Now obviously, I don't live in soybean country. Still, I can have quite a bit of fun growing this, that, and the other!

I grow a little wheat in the garden every year but not for eating. Oh, the chickens get a little; the rest is used just for ornamental purposes :wink: .

Steve
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jal_ut
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A combination of corn, beans and squash gives you complete protein.
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James, I didn't know that ! I'm going off white carbs, and I don't eat meat, so this is really a piece of good news for me. I can't do grain+bean= protein. I don't lose any weight like that, and I get weak too.
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jal_ut
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The Three Sisters

The Three Sisters, corn beans and squash.

http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html
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Thanks ! That's a great website !
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jal_ut
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I have tried this planting, but I spaced the corn 18 inches apart rather than the six inches stated in this paper. I think it will do better with just a little more space.

My conclusions. I think that both the corn and beans do better without being in direct competition for sunlight, water, and nutrients. The beans seemed wimpy. The squash did pretty well, but it was a project to go into the patch and pick beans or corn because the squash was everywhere. Hard to avoid stepping on it. It was a bummer picking beans too because of getting cut by corn leaves.

I will plant corn, beans and squash in their own areas, and rotate each year, rather than try to grow it all in a heap. One of the perks of the three sisters system was that you didn't need a trellis for the beans as they climbed the corn. I will gladly push bean poles to avoid the nasty corn leaves when picking beans.

End of rant!
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jal_ut
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[img]http://donce.lofthouse.com/jamaica/pole_beans.jpg[/img]

I go up along the river and cut bean poles. They are willow shoots. I plant 2 rows of beans. I poke the willows in the ground about 2 feet apart, and tie 4 together then run one horizontal on top. This has good wind resistance. The beans do very well like this.
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DeborahL
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James, is it true that willow shoots root?
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jal_ut
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Deborah, if you want to start a willow tree or poplar tree, cut some dormant shoots about Thanksgiving time. You only want a piece ten inches long. 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter shoots work well. Plant it in the ground leaving one or two buds above ground. It will root over winter and grow in the spring. You can start these whare they will grow or plant a whole row of them close together to be later transplanted.

I do not have trouble with the bean poles sprouting. I cut them a couple of weeks before needed and they dry out, basically killing them. Yes, they may sprout if pushed into the ground freshly cut. Usually though they will also leaf out, but the leaves demand too much water and with no, or very little root they don't grow here in this dry country. They will die. By the time the beans need a pole the weather is hot, not conducive to growing willows from cuttings.
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jal_ut
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can anyone recommend me anything? Maybe some kind of beans?
Sorry to get so far off topic. Coming back to your question,

I had real good luck with pinto beans here. Let them go for dry beans.

One year I planted soy beans. I did get a harvest, but it was so late I could not get them harvested between storms. I think they need a little longer season than I get here.
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DoubleDogFarm
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Winter squash and green "snap" beans are fairly low in protein. Corn looks good at 16g per serving. I would grow Fava beans at 13g for a protein source.


Eric

DeborahL
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Thanks for the information. Mystery solved ! :D
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DoubleDogFarm
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I forgot to mention my favorite protein, Duck eggs. :D

Are you a vegan?

http://boondockersnaturals.com/DuckEggNutritionFacts.aspx

[img]http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/1DozenDuckEggs001.jpg[/img]


Eric

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Don't forget you'll be harvesting LOTS of seeds from those pumpkins and squash as well.

Duck eggs look great! I've variously considered chicken eggs and quail eggs, but I'm not allowed to have backyard poultry. :( Any other strictly plant sources? Oh! How about avocados and pawpaws? ...and sunflower seeds! (great to add to the three sisters)

Also millet, amaranth, quinoa seeds. Sesame seeds. There is also one of the edible weed greens that is higher in protein... Now which was it? Lambs quarters? Purslane? Oh wait, it might have been pigweed, but I might be thinking of their seeds as with lambs quarters.

I tried letting redroot pigweed grow out and harvesting the seeds -- lots of work for little harvest. I might try cultivated amaranth and and I might try sesame seeds. I wonder if they would be easier to process.

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digitS'
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Many years ago, I decided that I should plant the "3 sisters" - probably, every gardener has to do this, at least, once.

The pole beans were probably Kentucky Wonder. And I'm sure, the corn was a sweet corn variety. I think this choice is where I went, rather far, astray. Upon reflection, flour corn and something like Cherokee Cornfield dry bean would have been better choices.

A little hand weeding early in the season would be necessary but then harvest would have required only one venture into the "3 sisters" garden at the end of the season.

Steve
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Right. I was thinking about this a little more, and for maximum protein, and optimum harvest from the "three sisters+", you would want all of them to grow to full maturity -- flint or dent corn gdried and ground into flour, mature dry beans, and mature squash seeds + mature sunflower seeds, as well as lambs quarters, purslane, and amaranth/pigweed.

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digitS'
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Applestar, probably 2 of those 3 "weeds" were present pre-Columbus in a 3 sisters garden. Or at least, some forms of lambs quarters (Chenopodium) and Amaranthus were.

I always try to find some nice greens of these types each year to bring into the kitchen. Purslane is plentiful here and I have it raw, as "just desserts" during weeding ;).

Grain Amaranthus and Chenopodium were cultivated south of what is now the United States. Given the nature of their "weedy" cousins, they could probably hold their own with the 3 sisters. And, sunflowers are native Americans even if not native to the US. I know that some gardeners use them each year for their pole beans. Sunflowers are probably even better at holding up their vining neighbors than corn plants.

With a little attention and some hard work at harvest, a 7 sisters or 8 sisters garden could really amount to a healthful, subsistence enterprise :) .

Steve
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applestar
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DigitS' you and I are on the same page. :D

If anyone feels grinding corn into flour doesn't seem like much fun, try growing POPCORN. :wink:

It takes a while to dry properly, LAST year's harvested popcorn kernels are popping nicely -- we've been enjoying them while watching the new DVD's/Bluerays we got for Christmas. This year's harvest doesn't want to pop quite yet. :roll:

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A little hand weeding early in the season would be necessary but then harvest would have required only one venture into the "3 sisters" garden at the end of the season.
Yes, if you were to let the beans and corn both go for dry product and mature squash for both seed and flesh, this may work better than trying to pick green beans or sweet corn at just the right stage of maturity. Popcorn is good for a dry corn, and it also grinds up well for cornmeal or corn flour. We use our electrical wheat mill to grind popcorn for cornmeal. I have not looked into varieties of corn for making flour. Winter squash would be good too as it will store quite a while.

Never mind the weeds. I don't eat weeds. They are compost. :lol:
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That's great jal! I hadn't thought of using popcorn for cornmeal. That solves my dilemma of trying to grow three kinds of corn -- I can manage to separate two but not three. I think I also have the option of using the maturity dates and/or staggered planting dates to prevent cross pollination, but I don't quite understand how to do that yet. You talked about that one time in a thread -- Maybe I can find it.... 8)

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soil
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if you can find it, theres a corn called rainbow inca sweet corn. its a multipurpose corn. it can be eaten sweet fresh, you can leave it to dry for things like hominy/pozole, and then you can grind it up into a BEAUTIFUL flour for tortillas and other things.

its non gmo and open pollinated too, from oregon.
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To add to Soil's list of multi purpose corn.

I like Blue Hookers corn or Sweet Hookers.
http://www.seedsofchange.com/garden_center/product_details.aspx?item_no=PS21567

Here is my 1/2 pound for 2011
[img]http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h300/eric_wa/DSC03078.jpg[/img]

A good variety for mild and short summers.

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Thank you x 1000 for all the info. To whom asked im not vegan ...I don't think I ever could be. Im not even vegetarian...but I made a resolution to go vegetarian for a month this year. Maybe it will stick but probobly not (my grandma's cooking is one of my greatest joys in life)...however I would like to eat far less meat and if I can get a little protein from the garden then that would help.

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soil
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there not annuals but nut trees are VERY high in protein. they take a few years to get giving but they will keep on giving for years and years and years. each year giving more and more of a yield. plant it once, help it along, reap the rewards for a long time.
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Duck eggs look great! I've variously considered chicken eggs and quail eggs, but I'm not allowed to have backyard poultry.
Apple,

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Apps, you forgot pumpkin seeds :o. Also, I have to say I agree with Soil that nut trees are very good source of protein. Although you must wait to see results, once they start bearing, you will getting tons of great fruit.
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greens are a good source of protein actually, of course not as high in protein as beans, but a much healthier source. greens are some of the best things you can eat in terms of sheer nutrition per calorie.

sixshooter
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[quote

="bwhite829"]greens are a good source of protein actually, of course not as high in protein as beans, but a much healthier source. greens are some of the best things you can eat in terms of sheer nutrition per calorie.[/quote]

I had no idea. I've only ever grown kale ...does that count as a green?

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yes it is. any type of brassica is going to help reduce cholesterol(with collards being on the top of the cholesterol lowering list i think), prevent cancer of ALL kinds, provide more calcium than dairy(per calorie), provide a good source of vegetarian protein, provide iron, and another long list of nutritional benefits.

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The cookbook, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé, contained (25-yr anniv. ed may contain) a terrific discussion about plant-based proteins and the benefits of protein complementarity.

There are eight essential amino acids the human body requires. These are present in different proportions in different plants. If the plants are eaten together or in close proximity in time, we get the full benefit of the protein.

Classic examples of these complementary proteins are legumes and grains (rice & beans), corn and beans, and many others. There were fourteen categories of recipes in the original edition (mine is now held together by a rubber band).

There are many vegetarian cookbooks, but this is the only one I've seen with the explanation of protein complementarity.

Maybe some of Lappé's suggestions will help you in making decisions for your garden.

Cynthia

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digitS'
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bwhite829 wrote:greens are a good source of protein actually, of course not as high in protein as beans, but a much healthier source. greens are some of the best things you can eat in terms of sheer nutrition per calorie.
A lot of the protein is in the green chlorophyll. (Of course, it is "plant protein" and not quite "people protein.")

Since, about 16% of protein is nitrogen - nitrogen fertilizer is important to the plant for making chlorophyll.

The plant then uses this chlorophyll for photosynthesis of carbohydrates which it stores as starches as it grows.

A lot of what is in a green leaf is just water. If we allow our greens to dry in the sun, they will lose their chlorophyll and turn white. Protein will be lost to the atmosphere as ammonia.

Okay, so I'm no biochemist :roll: . And, the nuances of this is above and beyond me but, this has been about as much as my little pea brain has been able to gather over the years.

Steve
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You should consider Amaranth. It's got the best protein content of any grain, and its about the only grain that is really easy to harvest and be directly edible. I did a moderate grow last year and wrote up the experience on my blog. The plants are beautiful as well. I had lots of questions and comments from the neighbors.

I like to eat the grain sort of like oatmeal. It takes about 20 minutes to cook, so a little slower than oatmeal, but worth it. I usually add dried fruit as its cooking for flavor, and to use up all the pears that I gathered from my neighbor tree last summer!

Gary

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grondeau: Applestar just posted asking for people's experience growing amaranth and with some specific questions, here:

http://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=175817&highlight=amaranth#175817

It would be helpful if you would respond there, since it sounds like you have good experience.

I have grown amaranth, but never done anything with it.


Re greens and protein, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, in his book Eat to Live, about healthy eating (to reduce cholesterol, improve heart health, reduce cancer risk, lose weight, etc), points out that pound for pound, broccoli has more protein than steak. The trick in there is that 8 oz of steak is more or less the size of a deck of cards; 8 oz of broccoli is a HUGE bowl full. But if you eat the huge bowl full of broccoli (which he recommends ... a pound of cooked veggies and a pound of raw veggies every day), you have eaten more protein than if you ate the card-deck sized steak.
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It's also interesting to note that when you are growing your plants organically, they often have higher levels of nutrients than do commercially raised crops.
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