My friend Abbey has lent me her Excalibur 9 Tray Food Dehydrator for the weekend. This gorgeous beast is the queen of dehydrators. I used to wonder if it was worth the expense or if the excitement around it was mostly hype. I was officially sold when Abbey bought hers (the machine I am borrowing now) and offered me a taste of her first batch through it, peach slices that were truly dry, crisp, and absolutely perfect.
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!
I bought the seed for ‘Pilar’ aka ‘Zapallito Redondo de Tronco,’ an unusual squash variety two years back from New World Seeds and Tubers. I tried to direct-sow the seed outdoors twice in that first year, but was unable to coax a single seed to germinate. This spring I over-sowed indoors underneath light to be safe, and was successful with one plant. One single, glorious, phenomenal, plant!
Shiso (Perilla frutescens) is a beautiful herb that self-seeds with abandon. It’s flavour is hard to pinpoint, something akin to mint meets a savoury herb like caraway with a hint of citrus. I’ve been growing it for years, but it’s aggressive nature always seemed to be curbed on the roof where conditions could be exceedingly hot mid-summer. It’s population of the rooftop’s pots was never more than I could handle or use within any given growing season.
We all have one plant (or a few) that we do not understand. For me it was radish. In my first few years as a rooftop gardener, every radish crop I tried to grow came out wooden, under-sized, and pathetic. Radishes are easy to grow (given the right conditions) and I eventually figured out what it was that I was doing wrong. These days I can look back on that time and laugh, but in the moment my so-called “failure” in this area was a bit demoralizing.