I bought this one last week.Leave a comment
Botanical art, garden craft, toys, downloads, shop, fun…
I know it’s been a slow week around here. I’ve been fighting off the worst cold/flu/virus I can remember in recent history and have been in bed all week feeling like utter crap. Today is the first day I have felt confident about sitting up for more than an hour-long stretch or forming complete sentences (sort of). Poor me.
Not the best picture but I am very proud of my little ‘Chinese Ornamental’ hot pepper this year. I grew it from seed in spring 2008 and brought it inside over the winter. This is its second year producing lots of tiny peppers and it won’t be long before I bring it back indoors again.
I grow mine in a very small pot (about 5″ tall) as a test to see how well it will thrive and produce when pushed. Grow yours in a bigger pot and you’ll turn out a bigger plant and a lot more peppers.
Don’t let the word ‘ornamental’ fool you. These diminutive peppers are fiery, but definitely edible. My hot pepper days are long behind me; however, I like to put a few of these in my pickles to give to friends who like theirs spicy.Leave a comment
And make our own edible version of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party!
There has been a long and harried internal debate raging in my brain for days over that title. I have avoided making this post, worried that I will offend people by using the anatomically correct word for part of the female anatomy on a website about gardening. NO! The Horror! Because flowers and gardens and pollination and the like has nothing to do with sex at all.
I asked myself questions like, “Do I pull an Oprah and use the hideous colloquialism “vajay-jays” for those who think the word vagina is inappropriate?”
Both penis and vagina within the span of a month? What next, Gayla? What horrible word will you assault us with next?
So then I thought,” Really, if I’m going to use appropriate anatomical terms I should have said “labias” or “vulva”, right?” I eventually decided against it because I figure some will find those words more offensive than vaginas and 70′s era feminist art.
Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about making what are really just oven dried plums.
As soon as tomatoes come into season I begin making batches of oven dried tomatoes. I’d love to make real sun-dried tomatoes and skip the energy consumption, however the climate here is far too humid (and this season is especially too wet) to properly dry tomatoes the natural way. If you have never made oven-dried tomatoes you must do it. They are so much better than store bought sun-dried tomatoes which are often laden with sulphite preservatives. My recipe for making them is in my next book so I can’t repeat it here.
My first tomato batch of the season fell a bit short of filling up the oven so I looked around to see if there was anything else on hand that could benefit from an afternoon in the oven. Plums! Yes, dried plums are really just prunes, and while I can’t remember the last time I ate a prune (if ever), I am absolutely certain these are a whole lot better.
I used Italian purple plums but I’m sure just about any will work.
To make them simply turn your oven to the lowest heat and line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper (this step is important since they drip sugars and can stick).
Cut the plums in half and remove the pit.
Sprinkle or coat the plums with sugar if you like. This is not necessary if you want to keep it low-sugar since the heating process concentrates the plums’ own natural sugars.
Lay each half, cut side up on the baking sheet.
Set in the oven for several hours. Drying time depends on the wetness/ripeness of the plums you use so check back after the first 2 hours to determine the drying rate and go from there.
Once cool, store the dried plums in freezer bags or reusable freezer safe containers.
Save a few for eating right away but try not to eat too many at once. I think you know why.Leave a comment
I can’t say with absolute certainty that this is what I am growing since the plant was given to me by someone way back in the spring, and she was unsure of the origin. All we know is that the plant is much larger and taller than the smaller ground cherries (I believe these are Physalis pruinosa) that are popular at farmers’ markets in this region. I have grown that plant in the past, and they tend to grow along the ground (hence the name), while the type I am growing has big leaves, big fruit, and a tall growth habit.
I’m growing the giant cape gooseberry plant on the roof in a very large, metal garbage can. It’s not a great year for tropical sun lover’s; however, the added heat from the metal and good drainage is doing wonders for it and there should be some ripe fruit soon if the warm weather keeps up.
If you’ve never tasted cape gooseberries or ground cherries I urge you to do so. They have a surprising citrus tang with a hint of pineapple. So amazingly tropical yet they will thrive in this climate and even self-seed into just about anywhere with an inch of soil. I’ve found plants coming up in sidewalk cracks and the part of my roof that is just a thin layer of gravel on top of tar paper.Leave a comment