Garden, Plant, Cook!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Around The Garden and Harvest - February 16, 2018

Dear Folks,

Over cast and damp cool this morning, so I thought time for pictures, particularly after our harvest yesterday of sugar cane.

This is one of my Red "Lipstick Peppers".  This variety is sweet.

I also have an orange variety "Lipstick" - this plant is about 5 years old and still pushing out a lot of fruit several times a year.  When you look at the harvest plate picture below, you will notice the peppers are several different sizes.  Once peppers and tomatoes for that matter, start to color, that is the size they will remain while continuing to ripen.

My sugarpeas are still producing - I have 2 different varieties growing there, one which produces lovely blushed pods.  When you look at the harvest plate picture below noted the opened two pods at the bottom. These peas delicious raw or cooked when the pod swells.  Later on you can harvest the dried peas for storage for cooking later, but be sure to save some for resowing next fall.

I am very glad I did something different sowing this past fall and recently.  I planted more and closer together in each row, about 2 inches apart in a staggered conformation which produced multiple vines in a short row, and then I duplicated that in 3 more rows.  The last row I planted was about 3 weeks ago and those plants are about 4-5 inches tall now, so I should be harvesting sugar peas into April.

We (that is to say Deane) cut sugar cane yesterday to take to the zoo today.  This is a treat the elephants love and we have been doing this for several years now.  It is a lot of cane.

Deane, cut and I hauled to the trailer.  A REALLY good workout of about an hour and a half to 2 hours and then tarped and ready to deliver today.

Currently we have both white/green and a purple variety of sugar cane.  I have decided to downsize and just keep the purple.

There is a cool trick for expressing the sugar cane juice out for a homeowner.  Cut the mature cane (still must have green leaves so you know it is fresh) into about 2 inch pieces. Fill the largest crock pot you have rinse, then top with water, cover.  Set on high for 1 hour, then reduce to low for about 5-6 hours.  Taste.  If necessary to reduce further, strain (compost the pieces) put the strained juice on the stove and reduce more to you liking.  Store in the refrigerator and use within 7 days.

Harvest This Morning.
Our warm winter, officially identified as a La Nina dry/warm condition has kept both the peppers and tomatoes going gain busters while not slowing my sugar peas down at all.

Some flowers caught my attention this morning.  The undamaged parts of the eggplants are flowering so hopefully I will have early fruit this year.  With older eggplants, one needs to be mindful of the thorns which may grow on the calyx of older plant but new fruit.  A phenomenon which may be a way of trying to get the plant to reseed before it dies or the fruit is eaten by critters (or us!).

I have both lilac and purple colored stock blooming right now. The purple is such a rich "royal purple" color it is hard not to see it.  Stock is an edible flower (Matthiola incana) from the broccoli family and the flower and soft tips have that flavor. I have a relative who enjoys munching on some when visiting.  The flowers are also incredibly fragrant sweet scented.

I have Spanish Thyme and Lime Scented Geranium growing and they have both been loving the weather.  The Lime Scented Geranium is a really lime scent and this is one of the edible geraniums.  The Spanish Thyme (also called Cuban Oregano or Indian Borage) is from the same family as the house plant Creeping Charlie and is a fun soft velvet edible leaf (frequently deep fried as a garnish or chopped in a salad dressing).

Also in the garden our bare Saturn (Doughnut) Peach is what we call the "Dove Tree".  The various breeds like to hang out in the tree after eating the seed we out out (or waiting for us to put out the seed  *hurray up*).  We just chuckle at the site.

Not garden, but I have started a new "Saucisson" of Pork - a dry cured Salami.  This time I am using a larger loin so it will take longer to dry cure - I will check it in 5 weeks and see how it is doing.

If you want to know about dry curing this "salami" click here for the link to my post on how to.


Don't forget my Free Seed Share coming up on Saturday March 3rd at the Mesa Urban Garden.

Until next time, have a great day in the garden and kitchen.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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