Wednesday In The Garden: 07/05/2017

It is hard to believe that 2017 is now over halfway gone. We are now entering the hot season. It isn’t as bad as some places, but most days will be in the mid 80s to upper 90s for the next few months. This is still a great time of year because many of veggies are ripening. 

I don’t have a ton of pictures today since I was busy making ice cream yesterday. 

My first pictures are of passion fruit flowers. The passion fruit vines were one of the great surprises when we moved in. We had no idea what the fruit was at first. Thankfully, Google makes it easy to find things like that out. 

The vines originated in one of our neighbors yards, but we were able to reap the benefits of their plants. Sadly, the other neighbor next to them built a huge ugly retaining wall which killed the passion fruit vines.  

Over the last year or so, the passion fruit neighbor has been bring back the plants. He started from seeds, and put about 10 plants along the fence line. Those plants are growing well this year and have started to flower. Hopefully those flowers turn into passion fruit this year. 


I also have some pictures of our pumpkins which have started to ripen. One of them is inside the pallet I used as a trellis. I just hope I can get it out without causing damage. 


I hope you all have a good week in your gardens. 

-Joshua

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Wednesday in the Garden: 04/19/2017

Today I have a few garden pictures. The plants are growing well since the weather has been warm with a lot of sun. 

The strawberry plants haven’t died and are actually producing fruit. I think I picked this berry a day or two early because it was a bit sour. 

The almonds are big and fuzzy right now. As they mature they will shrink and turn brown. 

I think it will be time to eat this broccoli soon. 

Our pomegranate tree has so many flowers. I can’t wait for fall when we will have ripe pomegranates. 


We had more rain this year then any year in over a decade. Due to that we many flowers and green plants still. I tried to take some pictures while working this week. 

We have recently bought a new larger fish tank. We got guppies among other fish. One of our guppies had babies a few days ago. They are tiny and like to hide under a chunk of driftwood so they are not eaten.  I tried to get pictures but it was difficult because they move often and quickly. 

Can you see the baby fish? It is orange. 


-Joshua

Jasmine Syrup

We have a small jasmine plant that I planted last year.  Jasmine love the weather in San Diego County, and best of all they do not need much water to grow.  Right now my jasmine is blooming, the scent of jasmine is one of my favorites.  

  
When looking up edible flowers I discovered that jasmine flowers could be eaten. I also found a recipe for Jasmine Syrup at My Persian Kitchen.  The recipe is simple and requires few ingredients so I gave it a try. I will not post the recipe since it isn’t mine, but I did take a few pictures. 

 

A cup of jasmine flowers ready to be washed.

 
jasmine flowers steeping in the hot sugar water

 
the recipe made about 2 pints of syrup
 

The syrup made with this recipe is perfectly sweet and has the flavor of jasmine. Now that I have made it I am not totally sure what to do with it and am open to suggestions and recipes. I hope to get Lynn to make macarons with it though. 

-Joshua

Saturday in the Garden: 02/13/2016

Today I spent quite most of the day working in the garden.  Most of my day was building another raised garden bed.  It the last of the beds that I plan to build for this growing season.  Rather then build two small beds, I built one large bed.  It is 15 feet long and just over 4 feet wide.  Like the other beds it is built out of concrete block because that is the best combination of price and durability for me.

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Starting to put dirt in place to level the area where the bed is going.
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A big stack of blocks

I am pleased with how this bed turned out.  It isn’t totally straight, but it is much better then my last attempt.  The large wood pieces in the bed are rotten tree stumps that were at the house when we bought it.  I am going to break them up and line the bottom of the bed with the pieces of wood.  Eventually, they will decompose and provide nutrients to the plants in the bed.

I also took a few pictures of the yard, and I had Lynn take some for me with her nicer camera.

I was suprised at how much my cabbage and kale seedlings look alike.  I think the one on the left is cabbage and the other is kale.  Now I don’t remember which pictures is which and can’t tell the difference.

 

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My Tom Thumb Pea seedlings are sprouting nicely

 

almondflower
Our little Almond tree has begun to flower
onionflower
Onion flowers
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The pomegranate tree is begining to leaf out

The plants are really starting to grow.  Our weather has been unseasonably warm with several days in the low to mid 90s.  All that warm weather has made for some very happy plants, and I can’t wait to see how they grow and eat the food that comes from them.

 

-Joshua

 

Hibiscus Cookies

One of the things I want to do in my yard is grow mostly edible plants.  I still want to have some flowers and plants that will look nice in addition to being edible.  This year I planted Thai Red Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, it is a type of hibiscus plant with edible flowers.  The part I planned to use is the calyces, that is the part of the flower that the petals come out of.  The calyces are often used in teas like Red Zinger, and provided a tart citrus taste.

hibiscus plant

To harvest the calyces I wait until the the petals have dried, pull the petals out, and then take off the calyces.  Then I put the calyces on a paper towel until they are fully dried out.

I didn’t want to plant to many of them the first year since I didn’t know how many flowers I would get, so I ended up not planting enough.  I needed something to use the flowers I had and found this cookie recipe.

To make the hibiscus tea that was used in the cookies and frosting, I put the dried calyces in some cheese cloth and put them in boiling water.

flowers in cheesecloth

The tea was a dark red color and was very tart since I allowed it to brew for quite some time.

hibiscus tea

The cookies didn’t take on the tart taste of the hibiscus tea, but did have a hint of the taste.  The frosting ended up a nice pink color that Lynn wants to use when frosting our daughter’s birthday cake.

cookies

-Joshua