Kangaroo apple (Solanum laciniatum) is one in a long line of marginally edible foods that I have been experimenting with in the garden. The fruits are considered poisonous when green and unripe, and edible when they turn orange.
That hasn’t stopped the squirrels. As I waited patiently for the fruit to ripen so I could have my first taste, the squirrels got there ahead of me and stole their fill while the fruit was still green, rock hard, and supposedly poisonous. Not only did it not kill them or give them so much as a tummy ache, they probably liked this plant more than any other treat in the garden. Proving once again that the squirrels are superior beings that will be roaming the earth harassing and poaching from some other more evolved humanoid-type creature in the distant future once the aliens have come in the name of interplanetary peace but then accidentally reveal their true intention to farm us for food, which leads to a terrible and epic battle for the lives of all humankind.
Spoiler: We do not win. Squirrels survive on the planet for another 50 million years.
Probably my favourite part about giving presentations and running workshops is the one-on-one chatting that happens with fellow gardeners and aspiring gardeners afterward. I love those moments connecting directly with other people who share the same excitement and passion. I love hearing about what they’re doing and the look of satisfaction on their faces is contagious.
For that reason Seedchat turned out to be one of the highlights of my week. The transcript is now online, so you can still be in on the conversation even if Twitter isn’t your cup of tea.
I’ve compiled a few of my favourite tips below:
- Herbs That Dry Easily: Lemon verbena, ‘Dark Opal’ and ‘Purple Ruffles’ basil. We dry and use oregano, marjoram, and thyme year-round in cooking. Lemon balm, mint, anise-hyssop & lemongrass for tea. Also: lavender, calendula petals, rosemary, sage, winter savory, dill seed, citrus peels….
- Lavender Syrup (you can do this with just about any herb): 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, handful of lavender flowers. Bring to boil until thick. Let cool. Strain. Refrigerate
- In response to the high cost of canning jars: Remember that they are reused over and over so your investment will pay off over time.
- Herbal Vinegar: To a clean jar add: Sprigs of fresh tarragon and a few strips of lemon peel. Top with warm (not boiling) vinegar)
There are several more tips in the transcript including: preserving tomatoes, drying beans, drying herbs, uses for various herbs, favourite tomato varieties, harvesting seed, lots of good canning resource suggestions, thrifting for jars, addressing the fear around canning for the first time, making fermented drinks…
With a heavy heart, I pulled up and composted the roselle plants (Hibiscus sabdariffa) this weekend.
They were done. The cold had become too much for them. Their leaves were turning crispy and dropping rapidly. Amazingly, the false roselle is still going and has not suffered the same damage. It seems to tolerate the cold better so I have left it in for the time being.
I had hoped to make sorrel (the drink) this winter using my own homegrown flowers, but alas none of the hibiscus plants made it that far. The two sabdariffa plants did produce tiny flower buds, but the cold came on and stopped their development before they could reach a mature size.
Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) has been making a yearly appearance in my garden in some way or another for some time now, but never like this. My new yard’s sun and sandy, well-draining soil turned out to be the perfect place to grow the sort of plant I have only seen in the tropics. Until now.
I need some colour today and came upon this image when randomly perusing my photo archives. Doesn’t it look like fallen Autumn leaves?
I took this photo in Thailand, at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon Herbal Garden in Rayong. Tropical trees are not my strong suit; however, I am pretty sure that what you are looking at are the discarded stamens of a Royal Poinciana (Delonix regia) tree. I suppose they could also be fallen Red Powder Puff flowers (Calliandra haematocephala), but the close up photos I took indicate otherwise.
Looking back at the photos I took during our short visit to the garden, nearly all of them are of strange and unidentifiable oddities that were either up in the trees or fallen on the ground.
Later, at the gift shop, I bought some corn milk (one of several interesting beverages that I sampled on the trip) and was gifted a tomato face mask by a fellow garden writer also on the tour.
I’ve just added several photos of things I bought in Thailand to the You Grow Girl Flickr stream.