Sunflower Microgreens

In winter we don’t really have much fresh greens to eat, but we can try microgreens. There is a large variety we can choose from and they are so easy to grow. I choose to grow this time the sunflower microgreens and they are delicious. It seems to me that they grow relatively slow, but they are juicy and have a taste similar to fresh raw sunflower seeds.

You can harvest all at once, or just cut them when needed as long as they are still in the “two-leaves” stage. Mine are not all sprouted at the same time so I just cut and use them as they grow. They are delicious in salads or spread on top of a sandwich. I use them on my sandwiches as they are not enough to make a salad 🙂 Maybe next time I’ll use some more seeds in order to have more sprouts at the same time, but for now this will do.

Do you grow microgreens and if you do what type do you prefer?

Carolina Reaper

Everyone who followed my blog until now knows how addicted I am to hot chili peppers. I love them from fresh to preserved, in chocolate, ice cream, tea, you name it 🙂

This year, along with other varieties, I’m going to grow the Carolina Reaper, the hottest chili pepper in the world declared by Guinness World Records in 2013.

I sowed 21 seeds two weeks ago in an improvised propagator.

Today, when I checked them, I saw that few have already started to sprout

I am so curious if I will be able to taste them or they are just too hot to be consumed.

I think I will need just one pepper to make a whole batch of spicy sauce jars for the whole coming winter 🙂

Have any of you tried this pepper?

Aloe

I just got myself a huge aloe vera plant. I wanted a real aloe vera for so long and now I found one. There are so many aloe varieties but only few of them are suppose to be edible.

Well, no, I’m not going to eat it 🙂 but I am going to use its leaves when needed to extract the gel for medicinal purposes.

I also found recently that aloe vera can be used as an ingredient to prepare a rooting gel. So I will give it a try when I’ll propagate my herbs. The recipe for the rooting gel is simple. You need to mix : 3 tablespoons of aloe gel freshly extracted (contains natural hormones that stimulates root growth), 1 tablespoon of honey (contains enzymes that stimulates root growth and also have anti-bacterial properties) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (has anti-fungal properties).

So I think I made a good acquisition, is good for me and for my garden.

Homemade Ginger Beer

Yes, I admit, I love ginger beer and buying it from the store is kind of expensive.

Searching the web for more information about my water kefir I found out that there are some similar grains that brew ginger beer. They are called Ginger Beer Plant (GBP).

They are way much smaller than water kefir grains, but the process to ferment them is similar.

Now I brew my own ginger beer on my kitchen table. I feed the GBP grains with water and cane sugar every 48 hours and they provide me the liquid that I need to brew the ginger beer.

First I put some fresh ginger pieces into the sugary water but when it came to strain the grains I realized that small pieces of fermented ginger were left between the grains and I did not liked that. Now I only add ginger on the second fermentation. I use candied ginger as it is more convenient for me. Using fresh ginger means to buy small amounts of fresh ginger root every couple of days and they do not store very well once you cut pieces from them.

Using candied ginger also add enough sugar to the brew for the second fermentation. So I cut few pieces of candied ginger and add them to the bottle.

I let the mixture to ferment for another day or two on the kitchen table and than I store it in the fridge. The taste is way better than any shop bought ginger beer and the most convenient thing is that you know what you put in your drink.

If you want to make your own beer at home you can buy the GBP grains from FreshlyFermented. Their services are great and they are very communicative and helpful.

Fighting the bad bugs the organic way

This year I’ve decided to fight with the bad bugs from my garden using the neem oil as pesticide.

I found it on a cosmetic web-shop, it was the only shop where I could find it in a larger quantity, here I have 450 gr, which should be enough for a whole year of gardening.

The recipe to transform the neem oil into a pesticide is easy, you just need 1 L of slightly warm water, 5 ml of neem oil and 2 ml of liquid soap. Mix them by adding first the soap into the water and then slowly stir in the neem oil. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and it is ready to use. Make sure you use the mixture within 8 hours as beyond that the ingredients will start to break down.

“Formulations made of neem oil also find wide usage as a biopesticide for organic farming, as it repels a wide variety of pests including the mealy bug, beet armyworm, aphids, the cabbage worm, thrips, whiteflies, mites, fungus gnats, beetles, moth larvae, mushroom flies, leafminers, caterpillars, locust, nematodes and the Japanese beetle. Neem oil is not known to be harmful to mammals, birds, earthworms or some beneficial insects such as butterflies, honeybees and ladybirds (ladybugs in US English) if it is not concentrated directly into their area of habitat or on their food source. It can be used as a household pesticide for ant, bedbug, cockroach, housefly, sand fly, snail, termite and mosquitoes both as repellent and larvicide. Neem oil also controls black spot, powdery mildew, anthracnose and rust fungi.” – source Wikipedia.

Potatoes that I’m growing this year

I ordered some seed potatoes to grow this year.

They are kind of special, not the usual type of potatoes that we grow in our garden every year.

Pink Fir Apple – one of the oldest varieties, buttery waxy texture and nutty flavour

Lily Rose – red skinned, red-flesh

Purple Rain – purple flesh and purple skin

Mayan Twilight – red and white skin, deep yellow flesh

If you want to try them I have them from https://www.patchseedpotatoes.co.uk

Strawberries – spring clean-up

My strawberries have been green all winter and now are starting to show up some new leaves, so it’s time for a little cleaning.

Cutting off all dead and dying leaves will help them promote even more new leaves.

They look better and healthier already 🙂

In autumn I forgot to pot up some runners and even those are showing new signs of life, so I’m thinking to pot them now, maybe is not too late.

Spring has already arrived in my balcony.

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