sábado, 31 de enero de 2009

Upside-Down Tomatoes

Checking in on my tomato experiment, 2 months now growing upside-down in buckets in my backyard. The idea is that tomato-lovers without ample cultivation space can still grow their favorite fruit. And I read online claims that in the bucket, the tomato plants are less susceptible to pests and disease.this is what I've ended up with. what'd ya think?

To be completely honest, these tomato plants have not been as pampered as their Right-Side Up kin--they receive less sunlight because of the walls in the back patio, not to mention the shade of the bucket! I am also dubious of how much water their root balls are actually receiving. Current results are scraggly, disfigured plants with small fruits.
Maybe it's too early to give an overall assessment of the experiment, but can you see the skepticism on my face? Perhaps I should not be too harsh; I'll be certain to give a detailed account of their flavor when ,and if, they ripen.

jueves, 29 de enero de 2009


Here is the kombucha (japanese fermented tea, supposed to be super healthy; think fizzy ginger-ale meets cider?) project: in the bowl, our scoby (mother mushroom) floating in the most recent batch of kombucha tea; in the jar is 1 gallon of freshly brewed black tea + 1 cup of white sugar; finally, we transfer the scoby into the jar, adding 1 Tbsp of the k-tea to the top. Now, 7-10 days of fermentation!
p.s. Even if this stuff doesn't meet the supposed health benefit hype expectations, it's tasty and cheap. so there.

lunes, 26 de enero de 2009

Fungus: Friend and Foe

Bad news first: some tomates y ayote squash are apparently suffering from blossom-end rot. Caused by lack of calcium, the plants' foliage sucks up all the calcium and the fruit is deprived; the first fruits on the plant develop black rotten spots, as seen here on my poor tomates. Hopefully, with a more regular watering schedule, the rest of the fruit will develop normally and deliciously. I also added more crushed eggshell to the affected tomato plants, supposedly an easy and effective way to add calcium. [I assume rot is fungus, but maybe not always?] Luckily, in other regions of the squash forest, fruit is growing like crazy! I am enchanted by the bright bodacious squash blossoms (and still waiting to harvest enough at once to use them in a recipe). check out the beautiful ayote squash hiding in the leaves!
Anyway, on to the good fungus: Kombucha!
See fotos above of the making of my 5th batch of the mushroom-derived elixir. Kombucha is the flat, round mushroom floating in the top of the bowl. The jar will sit in the cupboard for the next 7-10 days, after which time the té negro will transform into tangy sparkly kombucha tea. I am currently experimenting with flavors. One day I'll be able to flavor with my very own nispero y melon plants! For now, it's jenhibre (ginger), límon, and jamaica. yuuuum!

miércoles, 14 de enero de 2009


January, finally back to my garden! After 5 weeks away, both to my delight and dismay, my tiny cultivated piece of paradise was overGROWN. Some of the plants thrived (check my latino oregano, big leafy guy, probably wouldn't know it's oregano unless you smelled it--it is); sunflowers BLOOMING! squash full-on hijacked the rest of the garden, which was slightly tramatic for me. By hijacked i mean Squash Jungle vining and groping and suffocating other innocent plant babies (all six canteloupes: dead upon arrival); here is a pic of the squash climbing a coffee plant (see the curly tendril?)!! arrrrgh.
I'm currently drying my first batch of oregano and basil, yum.
Right-side up tomates have li'l green fruits! Upside-down tomates, not so much. bummer. they are starting to flower, so maybe they'll just be late bloomers?
So that's that in the garden. Soon I will really and truly share a recipe. think: Pesto and Hummus, but neither...