Category Archives: Edible plants

Growing ginger, waiting for rain

Heyheyhey!

Today I’ve finally done some work in the garden! Inspired, and a bit stressed, by the prospect of rain. The clouds are heavy and very present, the air heavy with humidity. And we haven’t finished mulching! This is no disaster but better for us if we mulch while the grass is dead, to keep it that way. So today we went around the village of Puerto Engabo and asked for cardboard and got mostly old egg cardboard. Then we rushed on home thinking it would rain any second and mulch as much as we could with the small amount of cardboard we had gathered. And then I remembered I had bought ginger (that already had sprouted a bit) at the market in Playas and that now was the perfect time to do it as the rainy season will start any second now.

About growing ginger: it doesn’t like direct sunlight, but filtered so I put it in the one shady and sheltered spot furthest away in the garden since we wont be harvesting in a long time and not often. It needs a lot of mulch since it likes humidity, the soil must never dry out! We sheet mulch so the soil will probably, hopefully, be rich and moist and happy. I chopped up some extra cow manure that Rachid had brought to make sowing soil and sprinkled it over the dry grass we had gathered in a panic.  Then I put the cardboard on top, cut holes in them and inserted the ginger about ten centimeters into the mulch. Then I breastfed Soleiman that could bear it no longer that mommy was doing something else than giving him my full attention, as Rachid did the final touches and added the seedless straw on top. Now it better rain like crazy!

Ginger is a beautiful plant, looks like a sort of grass and it makes bulbs that you then harvest (after a looong wait). It is not the root, you can read a better text about growing ginger here. I have only grown ginger once before in not-at-all-tropical Sweden, indoors and that went great although I kinda neglected the plant. I highly and strongly recommend growing ginger wherever you are, as it is delicious, healthy, beautiful and so easy to grow. Yesterday I also took bits of a lemongrass plant and put them on the banana circle, so soon, Nadija my friend and the owner of this garden, will be making all sorts of amazing thaifood. Mmm….

Enjoy photos!

Ginger

Ginger

Cardboard puzzle, you have to overlap them so that no grass can come through!

Cardboard puzzle, you have to overlap them so that no grass can come through!

Ginger anyone?

Ginger anyone?

Sprouted side up!

Sprouted side up!

One bed mulched!

One bed mulched!

Will the lemongrass survive?

Will the lemongrass survive?

Tagged , , , , ,

Omagad we’re back again…

Yes, it is a Backstreet Boys song and yes I am back and yes and yes and yes! Why on earth did I just stop blogging those of you who googled sloeberries and have no idea about my withdrawl from the blogworld, might wonder. Well I got pregnant that summer, and was nauseas most of the time and had no interest in growing anything but baby. Although the old plot was quite beautiful that last summer, my own plot however was just filled with dandelions and so Rachid won that war but I won the who can give birth without any painkillers war. Now the old plot is but a memory and evened with the ground. Sad yes. So why am I starting the blog up again those of you who get an email whenever I post might wonder. Well, I have a new exciting new plot challenge to fail at and of course I want you all to be a part of it!

I am in Ecuador! In Puerto Engabao on the coast were my good friend has opened up a hostel.  She wants an edible garden and who do you call when you want a garden? Me so I can tell Rachid. And so here we are, in som sort of dry tropics (contradictory I know) by the sea where you can grow practically anything that is delicous. Rachids dream come true! (This blog is sponsored by Rachid) So yes, and I’m here too, pretending I know and care but really just getting lost in litterature and hammock hanging. And childcare of course. But still, looking and thinking at an about the garden is filling me with joy, let’s see how the work feels. So it’s gonna be a permaculture garden, of course. It actually already has a banana circle and Rachid went and picked donkey poop and dried grass from our extremely ugly surroundings consisting of just that. But soon the rains will fall and appearantly everything will turn green in accordance with ones image of south american coast lines. So first thing to do, as always in permaculture is to design and mulch.

I have already started a design that’s inspired by the surfwaves that roll by on the beach since this hostel is basically a surf shelter (although anyone is welcome! This post is also brought to you by Hostel Puerto Engabao). Pictures of the plot before can be seen below and this time I swear to produce some kick ass after pictures! Or as kick ass as a tropical permaculture garden can get after three months.

Stay tuned!

Tagged , , , , ,

Summa summa summatime!

Almooooost….sooooo cloooose….sooooon….aaaarrrggghhh my fingers are itching like crazy to get the fuck away from this here keyboard and out into the world of winds and fragrances and sensations. But first I have to finish my class in humanecology and write about the importance of gardening. It’s very interesting stuff but my mind is tired now and my body awake and ready to work. Meanwhile on the new plot, I have dug with the assistance of some young charming chaps and made a maze of soil so far. It looks amazing and I will get back to you with pictures. I have sown lettuce, beets, onions, salsify, broad beans, flax, carrots and spinach. The flax is green manure, meaning that it gives the soil nutrients as it grows, and I have made sort of a half circle with it to make a windbreak and a suncatcher in the keyhole. The other stuff is growing except the carrots and the broad beans that haven’t emerged yet. In the eye-shaped bed I have planted artichokes, marigold (the edible kind) and mangold. Thai basil and regular basil also but I think they are dead….Oh and comfrey in the keyhole bed.

When school’s out for summer I will read up on companion planting, fix the pond once and for all and dig up the last beds on the new plot. The new plot is so beautiful, the apple tree just flowered in white and pink and below it is a meadow of wild strawberries. And now I have an island of raspberry plants and I harvested some rhubarb (what was left of it after someone had stolen some of it…allotment criminality…I want their heads on spikes around the plot (yes I watch Game of Thrones, who doesn’t?)) that was delicious. And yesterday on the old plot we harvested big and beautifully red radishes from our own saved seeds, some spinach and ruccola that is delicious. Also some sage and thyme and a tiny undeveloped garlic. The developed garlic plants are up to my knee now…I’m so looking forward to harvesting them! We made a sallad and put some flowers from the chives on my new plot in it, yummy! Each flower has a whole bunch of small flowers that each have a very distinct chive taste. That was our first real harvest, the first of millions to come! I love summer!

 

Tagged , , ,

Another plot for independence + pond update!

Yes, finally I have my own small parcel of laaaaand! I was sent the letter with the plots available about two weeks ago, there were only five! The demand for allotments is really high right now and I take full credit! Haha no but really, it is amazing seeing all these people working really hard to produce their food, every single allotment is occupied on the sunny weekends, everyone hard at work planting, sowing, even mulching! And a whole bunch of young people are invading to the veterans of the place great amusement. My plot is beautiful! One we were thinking about chosing over the one we did chose before when we could choose the first time, but this one is 130 square meters and not 150 as the other one. Therefor this one will be more of a leisure garden as the other one is under intensive cultivation, there’s not even room to sit. My plot alreaady has a full grown and producing apple tree, strawberries, rhubarb, morrocan mint, lots of raspberries, chives, wormwood and what I think is lovage (libbsticka). So there’s not a whole lot I need to do to make it a perennial garden. I will plant more herbs, the benifical flowers that I presented in this post and sneak in some vegetables in between. A greenhouse has to be built as well, we have a ton of tomato and chili seedlings, some pepper and eggplant that need the warmth. And of course I will dig a pond!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what happened to the other pond on the other plot? Well I soaked it with water and used its own soil as plaster so that when it dried it would be like the wall of a mud house. This worked very well except for the fact that I didn’t return the next day to fill it up so it got all cracked. But cracks aside I will fix this today and make another layer and fill it in and I’m sure it will work great! Other news on the other plot is that the garlic is growing like crazy, looking really good and healthy. The husband planted comfrey, and he and Nick have been sowing lots of leafy plants and some peas and carrots while I was at home writing an essay about Detroit and about reclaiming the power over food. The husband was in a bit of a hurry in the beginning of the season and planted peas that died instantly and sowed leafy plants and carrots that never came up, this was a month ago. Now the weather is fantabulous and there seems to be no risk for frost so hopefully they will all emmerge through the mulch. Meanwhile at home, we are drowning in seedlings, and they just keep coming!

And here’s a dish the husband made out of nettles, pine nuts and raisins that was amazlingly yummy and almost free!

Today is a great day for digging! I will keep you posted on pond activities and new design for new plot! Meanwhile, grow with god!

Tagged , , ,

Yes, the rumors are true, I dug a pond!

Hey everybody!

I have dug a pond! I have shuffled soil from out of the ground and I have put it around the pond as a sort of small wall like thing where cucumbers will grow and flourish and give me a shit load of cucumbers to pickle! Why have I dug a pond you ask? Well why not?! Mostly because we do have a huge slug problem and instead of doing all the work of pointlessly trying to get rid of them, nature can do it instead! It is much better at it than I am. I’m happy to admit my suckiness at getting rid of slugs, swallow my pride and let nature have a go. But wont a pond attract slugs because of its general moistness? Well, maybe it will but then they would immediately get eaten by the frogs I’m gonna plant in it! Or if I’m lucky, a toad will wander by and see how fit that pond is for good living. Although I am absolutely terrified of toads, and now I understand why, they are completely filled with slug slime! Eeeeeeeew. This might be the best way to cure my toadophobia, if it will help me harvest much more food. Picture me and big fat toad skipping towards the sunset with baskets full of fresh PRODUCE! (I don’t know how I feel about that word…p r o d u c e…it’s macho and pretentious at the same time. Can’t be good…)

Also the pond will reflect sunlight, make the air moist which is nice for the artichokes to the side of it and attract living creatures. Hopefully it will dampen the soil around it making watering close to obsolete in the area. But thing is, I haven’t actually filled the pond yet. The water isn’t turned on yet but it has rained a bit and I’ve heard from somewhat reliable sources that the rain water stayed in it without making a muddy mess like some skeptics anticipated….well in your face! So now all I have to do is wait for a monsoon and get some frog fetuses (when are they in season?) and plant some watercress and maybe water chestnut? Now that I’m a pond owner, I’m gonna have to get my wisdom on aqua-culture! I dug a pond! Picture to be published within the year…

Tagged

Spring is here! And so are edible and benificial flowers

Oh ma gad oh ma gad oh ma gad!! Spring is here!!! With the promise of new life, love and general fulfillment (unless it rains all summer, then you have general suicidalness, but let’s hope not…) And a new growing season promising an abundance of life, love and food (unless it rains all summer…)! So I hope you have all planted your chilis and your artichokes and are ready for the intense planting that is about to take place these coming months when we pre-cultivate like maniacs to get a good start at the growing season! In our sunnyside window we have artichokes, chilis, celeriac (the root kind, appearantly wont grow unless you pre-cultivate it), sugar peas, comfrey, spinach and salad. And we tested radish seeds that we saved from our own crop last year and they all came up!  At the alotment the husband has bravely sown some different types and colored carrots, onions and radishes. Problem is the water is not yet turned on by the city and wont be for another month or so and it hasn’t rained for days…All the more reason to pre-cultivate inside where the water-supply is never ending.

I’m so excited about this season since it will be my first real one where I’m actually present, observing, harvesting and planting planting planting! We have decided to precultivate almost everything and keep on doing so throughout the season so that when one plant is harvested it is immediatly replaced by another. This way the garden will always be full of edible plants! But not all edible plants are vegetables and berries, we also have our edible and benificial flowers. Some of which an organic gardener can’t live without. Check it out! (And if you don’t want to read about these fascinating plants, please skip ahead to the motivational speech below.)

 

Borage is actually classified as an herb but has lots of blue edible flowers. Borage is great for your garden as a companion plant to tomatoes and brassicas among other things. It’s also edible and have many medicinal uses, it is said to help with PMS!

Calendula is very well known for its medicinal properties. It is a great flower to put in your salad, it dyes your food yellow and can be dried and used for tea. Very versitile plant and very pretty. Technically it’s a perennial but usually cold winters kills it. Good companion plant that brings out the neighbouring plants own repellents.

Marigold/Tagetes very well known plant that you can’t live without if your planting organically. It is very benificial since it repells bugs and nematodes which is a parasite worm, and supress weeds. Some varities are edible, like the one in the picture.

Flax/Linseed an amazing plant that gives very healthy seeds and makes a great fibre of which you can make almost anything from building materials to clothes. It’s also very beautiful and a good companion plant to potatoes and carrots.

Evening primose/Sun drop this beautiful flower blooms only at night! It is highly edible, the entire plant from root to seed can be eaten. The flowers for salads, the roots must be cooked and are said to have a similiar taste to parsnip and salsify. Very medicinal, oil from the seeds treat PMS, thrombosis, hyperactiveness, rheumatism and acne. Tea can be made from leaves and stalk to cure coughs and creams can be made of the same to treat eczema. Quite a tremendous plant that grows in poor soils.

 Echinacea very famous medicinal plant that is extentivly used in both modern and traditional medicin. Also a pretty flower and a perennial!

Marsh Mallow not to be confused with fluffy candy (althought it could be used to make it…) this is maybe the best example of a plant you should, you must have in your garden! It’s a perennial and that is always good for your garden, it is highly edible and medicinal and can be used for all kinds of stuff. The root can for example be used as a toothbrush! See link for all the gory details of this amazing plant that also has pretty flowers!

Doesn’t this just want to make you jump out of the window and start gardening? The sun is high up in the sky, the birds are singing frenetically and seeds are bursting with longing for that damp soil. So are my fingers, my hands my spirit. The garden is not just a good excuse to get outside and be active, it’s not only a provider of healthy food but it is also a direct connection between you and nature. A connection that has long ago been lost in our modern world but that we need to revive, despite the systems devious ways to keep us seperated. I strongly encourage any type of connection to the soil. If you don’t have a garden, an alotment or a balcony. The windowsill will do and if it gets to crowded, get out and put plants in places where you see a need for some aspiring life. It will make you and a lot of other people happy!

Garden power! Garden lust and love

Garden garden garden

Mission completed! (Well kinda…not really…but hey!)

The saft is done! I looooove loooooong ass processes, like making sprouts or of course grow plants. To watch the seed pop up from the soil and every step of everyday of its tiny little  life. I want kids! They are so small. I had this baby, the saft and it wasn’t at all as hard to make as I thought it would be. It felt like we bounded during the days the berries were soaking. So I present to you

SLÅNBÄRSSAFT

for about a liter you need

1 kg sloe berries

1.5 liters of water

5-6 dl sugar

Thats it! Now the first thing to do if there has been no frost is to freeze the berries for 24 hours. Then boil the water and cover the berries, let them sit for another 24 hours. Repeat, using the same water, three times. The fourth time you add the sugar to the water and boil it, skim it and bottle it. Voila! Delicious homemade saft! To make the glögg you just add spices, but I’m gonna get back to you with the perfect formula! Until then, cheers!

Tagged ,

Slånbärssaftglögg step 1

My life is just a big sit in front of my computer. I thank the almighty lord (this blog is making me very religious) for the small glimpses of “nature” that I’m allowed. The garden, which we are still mulching with great success, is like a fairytale. I will soon post our design, it is very ellaborate and cool (I had absolutely nothing to do with it)! And this weekend we will go buy berry bushes inshallah. Exciting exciting indeed! I picked one of the chicory heads (and a few tiny ones that were too close to other heads) that I have so beautifully portrayed in my chicory post and I will make a pasta with that and some leek and parsley also from the garden. Yesterday when we were there the frost was there in the shape of waterdrops ready to freeze and yet everything is still growing. It’s amazing. The chicory is getting redder and redder everyday and is so beauitful I am really in love with this plant! Another plant I have fallen in love with is sloe. I have started the saft (cordial?) and am amazed about this procedure and about the fact that there are tons of these delicious berries out there for free! It’s like a weed that the city plants out! Can’t get any better than that.

So step one of the saft is to take the frozen or frost “bitten” berries, measure them up and cover them with the same amount of boiling water. Let them sit for 24 hours or so, the water drains the berries of their goods. After 24 hours, strain the now completely red water and boil it and cover the berries with the same water again. Repeat for about 3-5 days depending on how you want it. My red water already has that distinguished taste of sloe that is so rich and deep, but I will keep at it until at least sunday. I love it! The next step is to boil the sloe water with sugar. Stay tuned!

Sloe love

Tagged ,

Slånbärssaftglögg! (Sloecordialmulledwine?)

Helloooooooo! Today was (yes it’s 3.30 pm and the day is coming to an end. Scandinavia! Whoo! Whoo!) a gorgoeus sunny day and I checked the paper to see if we’d had frost here yet. We had so that meant I could go down to the beach and pick some slånbär (sloe) to make saft! Saft is a swedish thing that I am oh so grateful for that I have never seen anywhere else, except other scandinavian countries (Scandinaviaaaaa!! Whooooo!). It’s basically a very concentrated fruit or berry juice that you mix with water right before you drink it. It has tons of sugar so it lasts forever and it is delicious! Although we allegedly already had frost, I put the berries in the freezer. I did this because they contain some sort of toxic cyanide that makes the berries really bitter and sour but that goes away with the frost. After that it’s a three day process to make the saft and after that I thought I’d use it to make glögg! Glögg is another swedish invention that I’m very grateful for! It’s a spiced wine that you drink warm at christmas with chopped almonds and raisins. I will not make the alcoholic version, swedes tend to put vodka and other stuff in their glögg, but I go all saftglögg! I will get back to you with the details.

Sloe grows everywhere around my parts and in all of Europe, you can even find it in north africa! It grows like a weed and has tons of berries that most birds don’t like due to its toxicity before the frost. So if you see berries like these, pick them and make saft! It is truly delicious!

Tootles!

Tagged , , , , , ,

An autumny recipe as winter closes in on us

Hello dear five readers! The beautiful colors of autumns are being swept away by park workers and the more and more persistent mist that make the days grey. We are also in wintertime which means that shortly after getting up in the “morning” it’s getting dark. Ayayay! What to do? Well I light candles and bake cakes! So nice to be inside with the warm smell of homebaked when the world is dying outside. My last piece of pumpkin was starting to mold so a made a

 

PUMPKIN SOUP WITH CHESTNUT TOPPING

Pumpkin soup must be the easiest and most delicious soup in the world, when you mix it it gets so creamy and yummy! Best vegan soup you could ever find! (Apart from maybe also tom yum). For my soup I used

A piece of pumpkin (about 500 g but you could use as much as you want)

4 small onions (meaning if you have big ones, use 2!)

3 cloves of garlic

a cup of white wine (can be left out)

a few branches of thyme

salt n pepa

 

Fry the chopped onions in oil or butter or a mix of both (never use margarin for anything ever!) until soft. Add garlic and shortly after the pumpkin, that you have cut into medium size pieces and the thyme. Fry for a few minutes and mix it well. Then add white wine and let it boil away the alcohol. Add water until it covers the pumpkin. Let it boil about 30 minutes. Season it as you please. I usually put a tiny bit of cayenne to contrast the sweetness of the pumpkin but if you have wine it is not necessary. Mix it carefully with a blender or a similar device, don’t ever lift the blender while you mix or you’ll get burned! (Happened to me once, hurt like hell.)

While the soup is boiling you prepare the chestnuts. Chestnut is actually called sweet chestnut or spanish chestnut and is a beautiful seed inside a very very thorned ball. Here in Sweden we have horse chestnut, it’s a completely different species than the sweet chestnut and the seeds are not edible! But there are some sweet chestnut trees here and there in Sweden, I picked these chestnuts from a tree in the park. Well not off the tree but from the ground under the tree, it’s impossible to get them out of their thorny ball protection when they are on the tree. To spot a “real” chestnut tree look at the leaves. They are slim, pointy with a darker green color and a bit shiny in comparison to the broad, flat and roundish leaves of the horse chestnut.

To prepare them you can roast them or parboil them as I did. You have to make a cross on the top so you can peel them and so they get cooked. Boil them in salted water for about as long as the soup. Peel them and chop em up real nice and sprinkle them over your soup! They have such a wonderful sweet and nutty taste in the most earthy of senses I truly recommend getting out looking for a sweet chestnut tree! Enjoy! Tomorrow we make a Malmö classic, what could it be?

 

 

Tagged , ,