This is how my friend Abbey stores a large quantity of freshly picked apricots over the short term. She uses recycled egg cartons to prevent the fruit from touching, which she says decreases their chances for rot. Brilliant, don’t you think? And a great way to recycle egg cartons, too!
The theme for this week is fruit. Fruit as a plant part as opposed to fruits such as strawberries and bananas, although you’ll notice some of those, too. It seems that fruit — some edible and some not — is forming in every corner of the garden. Flower diversity is still high, it’s just that many of the flowers are there in the service of forming fruit and are not there to be pretty in their own right.
The Scorched Earth. This is also the first week that marked significant loss and suffering as a result of the intense heat and drought we are experiencing. There are going to be some significant holes in the garden by the time the summer is out. I don’t think I am going to have extra ‘Hahms Gelbe Topftomate’ seeds as a result. I inexplicably gave all of my seedlings away but one and that one was in a pot that was cooked during this week’s heat emergency. Drat. The plant went from green and lush to yellow within the span of a single day. It is holding on and could recover if things stay as cooled off as they are now. It’s amazing what one bad day can bring. It’s a good lesson and reminder in how much we should respect our farmers who are at the mercy of whatever insanity the season brings. Amazingly, all of my other tomatoes are perfectly fine.
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Happy composting! And happy weekend everyone!
I leave you with a few recent scenes from my garden.
Clematis ‘Empress.’ I mis-identified it as ‘Crystal Fountain’ a few weeks back.
Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale).
At this time last year I was just home from Thailand and dying (at least it felt like I was dying) from jetlag so severe, it still pains me to think about it. Back in Feb I posted photos of dragon fruit taken at a fruit farm in Rayong, with the promise of more photos from that particular trip. It took me a while to circle back, but here they are.
The first few images in this slideshow are of the tram waiting area where several types of fruit were on display. Once the tram arrived our tour of the farm began with the requisite giant novelty fruit, and a series of appropriately bad, lost in translation jokes made by our tour guide, Mafia Bangkok. That’s him in the bright blue golf shirt, cradling a durian freshly picked off of the tree.
Pitaya, or dragon fruit, is a strange edible that is commonly sold (at a premium) in Asian food markets. The fruit is hot pink on the outside with an edible, white interior flesh that is dotted throughout with tiny, black seeds. The taste is mildly sweet, ever-so-slightly sour, and if I’m being honest, rather bland. Its saving grace are the crunchy seeds as they create a textured sensation that is fun to eat, not unlike a kiwi, but more exotic. I like it fresh and chilled, spooned straight out of that intense fuchsia skin.
The thing that intrigues me most about this fruit is the fact that it is grown on a cactus, and an epiphytic (air plant) one no-less. Hylocereus undatus is a night-blooming, jungle cactus that originated somewhere in the tropics of South America and the Caribbean, but is now most closely associated with South East Asia, where the fruit is grown commercially. Hylocereus is remarkably easy to grow as as houseplant and takes off equally well from seeds or cuttings. I know several gardeners that have successfully grown the seeds harvested from store bought fruit with no special effort or preparation. The plant requires more moisture and nutrition than a typical cactus, but can withstand periods of drought. It takes a tropical climate or a heated greenhouse to grow a plant large enough to produce fruit, but in the right conditions it can be made to produce in cramped quarters or a large pot.