Monday, September 19, 2005

Pineapple Inspector.


here is faust, inspecting darin's just-harvested-from-the-backyard pineapple. i can't find any entry indicating when we (darin) planted the two pineapple tops, but it might have been spring 2004. i wasn't surprised that the pineapple tops grew, after all, everyone knows that. i was surprised when they actually bloomed and began producing tiny pineapples.

at long last, after months and months of mostly just sitting there, getting imperceptibly larger, this one looked ripe enough to pick. (maybe even a little too ripe.) don't know how it will taste, but it certainly smells like a pineapple.

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Saturday, June 26, 2004

Figs, Finally.

the fig tree has been covered with figlets for, it seems, an eternity. yesterday i finally saw one ready to eat. so i did. actually, i saw three that were ready to be eaten, but the other two were out of reach.

i thought the figs were ripening late this year, but looking back it seems they are on pretty much the same schedule as in 2002 and 2003.

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Thursday, December 25, 2003

Basil and Peppers.

a couple of observations:

  • i have always had it in my head that basil died when temperatures fell below ~50F, so i've been pleasantly surprised by the fact that the two "purple ruffles" plants i spared continue to grow despite several nights in the 30s and 40s (but no freezes yet). now i regret pulling out the rest of the basil.
  • i also didn't realize that pepper plants could be perennials. the two serranos that remain have not only put out lots of new growth after being severely cut back, but they are also blooming and setting fruit! of course, the tiny peppers could very well fall off if / when we have sustained low temperatures. and the new leaves will be especially vulnerable to freezing when the time comes, but now i'm hopeful of having a "winter" crop of serranos.

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Saturday, December 20, 2003

Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum (Bird Pepper).

last week darin brought me an unknown plant from a friend's property near austin. it had been growing in the underbrush and its sparse leaves made it look ratty. however, it was covered with tiny, bright red berries so i had him put it in a temporary container until i could decide what to do with it.

today i squished one of the berries -- they are tiny, pearl sized -- with my finger. not much came out, just a little juice and a few seeds. looking at the seeds, i realized that they looked just like pepper seeds.

i've read about chile pequin, aka "bird pepper,"  and know they grow wild in texas, but i've never seen either plant or fruit.

now, i'm an incredibly cautious person and have a very healthy respect for what i don't know. totally against character, i touched the squished berry to my tongue. only a teensy bit.

holy cow, it was HOT! my lips were on fire for twenty minutes. these are much hotter than serranos.

drinking lots of milk does alleviate the burn.

i didn't think chile pequin had any use beyond providing food for birds (certainly reason enough for existence), but it turns out that they are attractive small perennials and can be used as an ornamental.

they can also be used in salsas, soups, and such, but i would use with great caution.

now that i know what it is, i'll definitely be keeping this plant. somewhere.

more chile pequin info:

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Thursday, December 04, 2003

Garden Update.

in a fit of semi-insanity i pulled out all four tomato plants, all the basil except one purple ruffles, the remaining bell peppers, the poblano and all but two of the serrano peppers before we left town for thanksgiving. this came about mostly because the beds they were in were not intended to be vegetable beds but perennial beds. the beds now look naked but more orderly.

as for the edibles that haven't been eliminated (because they are in beds intended for herbs and annual vegs):

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Sad Lettuce.

images/sad_lettuce_20031118it certainly could have been worse.

here at garden spot the only casualty of monday's rain was the black-seeded simpson lettuce. (and a few bell peppers prematurely dropped, but it's not like there aren't plenty.)

the lettuce was well and truly mashed into the soil. the leaves are shredded; what isn't shredded is bruised and yucky looking. this picture actually shows the few plants that fared best; the green smudges on the far left are what most of my lettuce crop looks like.

if it doesn't recover (but i think it will) i have plenty of seeds still, so i'll just start over.

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Sunday, November 16, 2003

Tomato Test.

the tomatoes are still growing madly but not doing so much blooming and setting of fruit.

the original two ("matt's wild cherry" and "sweet million") continue to try to smother the world so i went ahead and cut everything back to a few main stems. if this kills the plants, oh well, i'll finally regain what was originally meant to be an herb bed. if they survive, i'll have two year-old tomato plants.

i haven't tackled the two volunteers in the island bed, but must do so before everything not-tomato is engulfed.

links to refer to later:

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Lemon Grass.

apparently i never noted when i bought the lemon grass and i can't for the life of me remember.

at any rate, some time in the last twelve months i bought a small pot of lemon grass (cymbopogon citratus). it has since grown from a small cluster (~2" in diameter) of stalks not more than 6" tall into an enormous clump (~8" in diameter) of stalks at least 4 feet tall.

it does indeed smell strongly of lemon when crushed. it is also capable of inflicting horrific paper cuts if not handled with care.

we have yet to cook with lemon grass but there seem to be quite a few recipes with it as an ingredient, especially chicken and fish dishes.

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More Cool Weather Plantings.

on october 30 i direct sowed a handful of fernleaf dill (i didn't know dill could be considered an ornamental). seedlings began appearing about ten days ago; they're just now starting to get the real ferny foliage.

on the same day i also sowed flat-leaf parsley seeds. those have been slower to sprout but are getting started now.

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Monday, November 10, 2003

Fall Edibles.

as noted in an earlier post, i sowed various cool-weather edibles on october 2nd.

the black-seeded simpson lettuce is growing very nicely. almost large enough to start using the thinnings as "baby greens". the giant caesar is also coming along, but not nearly so quickly.

cilantro seedlings are most like the black-seeded simpson in terms of high germination and vigorous growth. we shall be flavoring winter meals with lots of cilantro.

the spinach, on the other hand, is very disappointing. i suspect the fact that only two seeds sprouted (out of a bunch) is due to my very poor storage method -- rolling over the top of the seed packet and depositing on shelf in garage.

we have more serrano peppers than any household needs. the bell peppers are also doing well. and i wrote about the poblanos yesterday.

tomato plants are still going strong -- lots of growth (too much), still blooming and setting fruit reasonably well.

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