I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Monday, May 31, 2010

A plan comes together

Here is another experiment that has little guarantee of success, but we may always hope. This avocado seedling is in a pot that won't hold it for long, but it's temporary until the garden- AKA Stuff in Pots- gets moved to Dad's. Today I added a few cilantro seedlings, which will most likely start to bolt in the next few days since we're in the nineties this weekend. Just when they were almost big enough to be useful, so of course.

When the avocado plant gets moved to the next pot, I will make sure that it (the pot) is considerably bigger as I think this companion planting thing is going to be happening more and more, even after the garden is no longer just Stuff in Pots. Maybe when it gets bigger it will be able to shade the cilantro a little due to its large leaves? I don't know, but that's my plan and I'm sticking to it.

So although this avocado plant will never yield any fruit due to it living in the wrong climate, and the cilantro will not make many leaves (also due to living in the wrong climate), that's OK because it's an excuse to post my favorite guacamole recipe.

This was inspired by one Whole Foods used to sell (maybe they still do). Straight up guac is a marvelous thing, but I like it best fancied up with some extra veggies, and served with them too. So here's my contribution to the Memorial Day Fiesta.

Fiesta Guacamole

3 Haas avocados, peeled, seeded, and mashed
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup diced red, yellow, and/or green bell pepper
1/4 cup diced, drained tomato
2 Tbs. minced green onion
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
3 Tbs. minced cilantro
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. lime juice
1/4 tsp. liquid smoke (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Cilantro, diced onion, diced tomato, lime wedges for squeezing, and/or hot pepper sauce

Tortilla chips, toasted pita chips, and/or crudités (cut up veggies) for serving

Mix ingredients gently, taste, and correct seasonings as necessary. Garnish as desired, and serve with chips and crudités.

Note: The jalapeno and liquid smoke can be replaced with a smoked jalapeno, if desired.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Somebody didn't get the memo

Exhibit A is the herb known as Stevia rebaudiana, or 'Sweet Leaf', which describes its use as a natural, calorie free sweetener. This was a plant purchased in 2009, and although it can be grown from seed, the grower must expect a naturally low germination rate (been there/done that, but some seeds did germinate).

I found the remains of this specimen a couple of months ago while autopsy-ing the garden that was subjected to several feet of snow this past winter, and many weeks of below freezing temperatures, a number of which were in the single digits. Low and behold, there were not just remains. There were the bare beginnings of leaf buds apparent when I found it, so out of the ravaged garden it came and into a pot on the light stand it went.

S. rebaudiana is not supposed to survive winters in the Mid-A. Matter of fact, it is supposed to expire at the mere mention of a mild frost. This guy was apparently out of the loop. It took quite a while for the leaves to approach anything substantial this season, but by golly they are there now.

Not that this is any proof of a winter-hardy strain of Sweet Leaf yet, but it is proof that there are outliers in every crowd. May try some cuttings later in the season, and see how they react to another winter exposure.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Shameless theft of other web content, for a good cause

There's been a whole lotta shakin' goin on here at WTM, but notta lotta postin'. That should resume in the near future.

In the meantime, please check out Maryland's
Grow It Eat It website if you are able to share your harvest this year- the Grow It Give It offshoot is alive and well and looking for participants!

From the website:

What do I do with all my extra produce?  Consider donating it to a local soup kitchen or food pantry!

If your surplus is good enough for you to eat, it's good enough to share with neighbors in need. Over 36 million Americans are hungry and rely on local food pantries to help sustain their families.

Now that the Grow It Eat It campaign has helped you Grow It, let's share the abundance and Give It

You know who you are, fellow planters- rally 'round the vegetable plot, and start growing!