Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Around The Garden, July 3, 2015

Dear Folks,

A nice over-cast morning.  We finally got a tiny bit of rain after days of dust and wind - a whopping .1 inches :-)

I have 3 Roselle plants going in the garden, finally found some happy spots for them (I tried a purchased plant 2 years ago and it was not happy where I put it.  I started these new plants from seeds I got last year from the Arizona Herb Association at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum Herb Festival.

I started by soaking the seed for 3 days (March 24-27), then started them in Jiffy pellets and transplanted out April 8, 2015.  They require warm soil to do well.

I was not sure about sun needs, so I opted to put the one in the picture in an almost full sun area and
the other 2 in a spot where they are shaded.  The shaded ones are a 1/3 of the size of the full sun one.

This is the kind of experimenting I do to determine an edible's happy spot.  I may move the other 2, if rain / overcast timing works out.

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) called Sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America and Flor de Jamaica in Mexico, is a tropical native of West Africa.

This lovely member of the hibiscus / Malva (Hollyhock and Mallow) family is most known for the red colored, cranberry-like flavored beverage made from the calyx fruit (base of the flower).

The calyx are picked fresh and dried.  Many Middle Eastern and Spanish grocery stores carry the dried flowers.  The flowers have both vitamins and minerals.  You can read up on Roselle at wikipedia

Next are some of my "Glass Gem" corn.  I planted these primarily to refresh the seed inventory.  This is a Flint (field, ground meal, popcorn) variety that has a lovely range of colors from pastel to purple, tan and brown.

The "empty" spots on the cobs are where the pollination is incomplete, so the kernels did not develop.

There is a wonderful history behind the "Glass Gem" variety - you can read up on it and also, if in stock, purchase seed from Native Seeds/Search.

Edible Flowers

For shear "wafting" appeal few flowers rival the true Jasmine in fragrance.

Jasminum Simbac also known as Arabian Jasmine, is a shrub and not to be confused with other plants called Jasmine, which are primarily vines.

Arabian Jasmine
is the only Jasmine flower which is edible.  If you have had Jasmine Tea you have enjoyed the fragrance of this beautiful flower.

Once settled down in our desert garden this shrub will grow for years. During the winter it may suffer cold damaged, but springs right back as the soil and air temps warm up.  Stems may root to the ground at the leaf nodes. Prune after all danger of frost is over.

We get flowers 2-3 times a year in waves and there is an indescribable pleasure in walking past the shrub and being enveloped in the lovely scent and site of this plant.

Have a wonderful and safe Holiday!

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

For planting and cooking help, check out my calendar and books for sale at my publisher's site

Monday, June 29, 2015

I was Interviewed back in 2013 - More tips and history from The Herb Lady

Dear Folks,

Back in March 2013 I was interviewed for an Oral History project by Scottsdale Public Library.

I thought folks who are just learning about my work gardening and cooking with the garden bounty in the desert, might like some of my history and tips.

If you have attended one of my lectures, or perhaps if you wanted to and could not make it, I touch on some of the high points to gardening successfully in the desert, along with some of the whys and hows of how I became so passionate about growing some of our own food.  And, why I think this is my mission:  to encourage folks to grow some or more of their own food.

The interview is about 55 minutes long. Wonderful Anna Quan Leon was the gracious and patient interviewer - get me started on my favorite subjects and I just prattle on, and on!

FYI - after the interview was over, another point was brought up so Anna did a post-interview, but for technical reasons, it had to be added as an addendum at the "beginning" of the tape - so the introduction comes after that short series of comments.

I hope you enjoy this if you decide to listen.  Maybe friends or family in desert areas may enjoy it also.

The picture (that is me in my "Minnie Pearl" hat) and the audio are the property of Scottsdale Library and all rights belong to them.

MP3 Audio

Main page at Scottsdale Library on my interview - click on the link next to my picture to get more detail.

In the interview I mention several recipes (one found in my book is my "Vegetarian Pot Pie" made with tofu -- turned out great), and a cracker recipe made with seeds, nuts and cheese.

Here is the link on the blog for one version of the cracker recipe.  The beauty of the recipe is you can change out all the ingredients for different flavors.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Always happy to answer questions.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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