you can grow that

Curry – You Can Grow That!

Getting ready.

Getting ready.

It was about 3 years ago that I brought home a curry plant from the local nursery.
My husband giggled “You can’t grow curry.” he said, “Curry is a combination of herbs and spices.”

Of course it turned out he was right; after all, food is his field. Apparently what I had purchased was a delightfully smelling ornamental plant. Drat.

But telling me “You can’t” do anything only makes it a challenge, and I finally figured out that you really can grow curry.
Well, close enough.

It started out with me trying to grow as many of our own herbs and flavorings as possible.
Some, like mints, are simple. Others, like garlic, take a little more work. Still others, like ginger, take more know-how and time.

As the seasons came and went, there was less and less from the store on our herb shelves and more from the garden.

Still that curry thing bothered me.
Until recently that is, when I actually read the list of ingredients from the back of the bottle, given in order of amount:

Coriander- A No brainer. How often do gardeners complain their cilantro has bolted? Yep, those little seeds are coriander. We got this one!

Turmeric- Okay, it is getting a little harder. Turmeric is a root that takes almost as long to grow as ginger, specifically about 8 months. It is a perennial in zones 9-11, but like ginger it can be grown indoors in colder zones like we have. You can sometimes find it fresh at Asian or India food supply stores and in some markets. I couldn’t find it locally, but was able to order some from Amazon.com. The price wasn’t too bad, and you can replant some of what you harvest so it is a one time purchase.

Mustard- It doesn’t say on the bottle of store bought curry, but most often it is the mustard seed that is used as a spice. All we need to do is let it bolt and harvest the seed. Now we’re talking!!

Cumin- This relative of parsley is a new herb for our garden this year. It is often confused with the biennial caraway, but cumin is actually an annual plant. It can be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, so here it will be going in the ground this weekend. What you harvest are also the seed heads. We will be posting more on all of these as the season progresses, hopefully with lots of pictures!

Fenugreek- Another new one for us. This should be a fun season! Also easy to grow, prep your seeds first by soaking (we recommend Moo Poo Tea, link above right) or scarify. Soaking is much easier. Fenugreek will be great because both the leaves and seeds are edible.

Paprika- Another easy one. Paprika is simply a dried and powdered pepper from the group Capsicum annuum. These can range from sweet to rather hot. I’ll let him decide which ones he want to use, as we are growing quite a variety of peppers this year.

Cayenne- This seemed a little redundant to me, but I guess they are looking for a cayenne specifically. Yeah, we have that covered as well.

Cardamon- This very expensive herb actually can be grown at home. I have read that you can plant the brown type found in the grocery store, but I don’t know if that is true. Instead I found seeds online; after all, I’ve gone this far I can almost taste victory! It looks like another plant that may need some special attention, but that’s okay by me.

Nutmeg, Cinnamon, and Cloves- What? No! All 3 of these, the least of the ingredients, are derived from trees; and ones that I highly doubt grow in our area. When I looked up a substitute for nutmeg, it said cinnamon. When I did a search on a substitute for cinnamon, I found cloves.
It began to look like I really couldn’t grow curry after all.

Until my husband read this post on varieties of basil.
“There’s a Cinnamon Basil?” he asked. “You should grow that!”

“Why would you want cinnamon basil? I responded, “That sounds like an odd combination to me.”

“No, they are great together. When I use curry powder, I always add some basil. I love the way they taste together.”

So there you have it my friends, never say “You can’t grow that” to a gardener.
Unless, of course, you want them to prove you wrong.

We will post updates on the plants throughout the season. When we make the curry powder, we will add that recipe to our recently revived foodie blog page here.
Of course, we will also add some recipes that feature curry.
We’re betting this will taste much better than the store bought stuff.

you can grow that

is a collaborative effort on the part of a number of gardeners around the world. Each month they write a post specifically to help and encourage everyone to grow something. Find more posts by clicking on the logo above.

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A More Beautiful (YourTownNameHere)? You Can Grow That!

You Can Grow That! is a wonderful group of garden writers led by C. L. Fornari whose mission is to take a few minutes each month to encourage others to garden.

Occasionally C. L. will have an optional topic suggestion, and I’m sure when she posted this one her intention was to have others actually insert the name of the town they live in.

But that’s where the snag came in. You see, we don’t live in a town, not even close.
We live in an Unincorporated Community of somewhere around 5000 people.

Small ‘town’ living doesn’t get much smaller than that.

We put in a roadside garden.

We put in a roadside garden.

We have a grocery store, 2 churches and a post office. We even have a dollar store.
We have no sidewalks or street lights. We don’t even have a traffic light.
You could probably fit all the stop signs in the back of your truck.
Of course, the police would make you put them back.

The bank is in the same building as the farm & garden; you get the idea.

fence of trees

One neighbor grew a fence.

So how could we put up a post on this topic?
Then the idea struck… let’s turn this over to you.

Go ahead, insert the name of the town you live in.
How could you make where you live more beautiful?

Perhaps you can get other gardeners to Plant a Row for the Hungry, or start a community garden.
How about starting an annual Seed Swap Day or Plant Exchange.
Maybe form a Garden Club that will spruce up some of the local community areas.
(We don’t have those either.)

fence posts

And another decorated theirs.

What do you say?
Where are you from, how’s the weather, & what are your thoughts on the subject?

We would love to hear what you think!

you can grow that
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A Plant Based Diet – You Can Grow That!

dry shell beans

Easy to grow, nutritious and delicious.

If you have seen Forks Over Knives then you know of the overwhelming amount of evidence that shows consuming 20% or less of your protein intake from animal products can stop and even reverse health issues, as well as promote weight loss.

They’re not talking mild issues either, but rather heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even some cancers.

Okay, I know, I know… Bacon.

That’s what we thought, too. But it has been almost 2 years now since we decided to limit meat to once per week, and almost 1 1/4 years since we decided we really didn’t want it at all anymore.

Perhaps being a cook and a gardener, making the change was a tad easier.
Still there are many books out there, including a few by the cast members of the documentary, that will help making that switch to be easier and very delicious.
Once you see how much better you look and feel, well- even Bacon just does not hold up.

So what foods can you grow to keep this a tasty and healthy lifestyle change?
Pert near anything, actually.

Most veggies have a good amount of protein in them.
The highest numbers are found in beans, peas and legumes; especially in dried beans.
Think you’ll miss the bacon in your homegrown baked beans?

Probably not, but in the beginning try adding a smoked salt, Liquid Smoke, or Truffle oil to get that smoked flavor.
You won’t want to ever go back.

Soy is a member of the legume family, and often processed soy is substituted for meat. If you buy it, look for Non-GMO labels.
You can grow your own soybeans and enjoy them roasted in the form of edamame.

Homegrown soybeans.

Homegrown soybeans.

Nut trees will also provide a delightful abundance of vegetable protein. Check to see what is hardy in your area.

Quinoa (pron Keen-wa) has the most complex proteins of any veggie, similar to meat.
It is a relative of spinach, which is also high in protein when it is cooked down. You can grow it and harvest the seed, if you live in a cooler climate and have the room.
If you have the space and love a new seed to try out, go for it!

Really, even though getting enough protein is what concerns most people new to limiting their intake of meat, it probably will never be an issue.
Think about it… if we couldn’t get enough easily from plants, wouldn’t all animals be meat eaters?

The only way Mandolin will eat beets.

The only way Mandolin will eat beets.

If you have thought of limiting your meat intake, or even becoming vegetarian or vegan, this is what we would suggest:

1. Never say never.
Start off easy, and give yourself one day each week to eat whatever meat you want. After a while, you may just lose interest. Even if you don’t, you are still better off.

2. Be creative.
Eating is one of the few basic human needs we enjoy in public. Have fun with your dishes. Experiment. Share.

3. Grow what you can.
You know it will taste better if it is homegrown.

4. Don’t be defensive.
We did find that some people react strongly when you tell them you are giving up or even limiting meat in your diet. Don’t let them get to you.
The simplest answer when they ask “Why?” is
“For my health.”

For some reason, that does not bother them and after all, it really is the truth.

you can grow that

You Can Grow That! is a collaborative effort by gardeners around the world to help others learn to grow.
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Healthy Seed Sprouts – You Can Grow That!

Day 2 and already well on the way.

Day 2 and already well on the way.

Recently we were out at a local market when I came upon this neat plastic lid that you simply place on a wide mouth canning jar to turn it into a sprouting system.

After reading a lot on the subject, I discovered that as long as you keep your sprouts well rinsed and refrigerated after they are ready, they are safe to grow at home and extremely healthy for you.

You just place a small amount of sprouting seeds in a jar, add water, and let sit overnight in the dark.
The next morning you begin to rinse them 2-3 times per day, tilting the jar to let out any extra moisture, and keeping it covered.

Day 4, almost ready.

Day 4, almost ready.

Rinse heavily when they are ready, to remove any leftover seed hulls.
Let ‘green up’ in indirect sunlight for a day.

You can choose specific seeds for particular health benefits or flavor, or try a mix at first like we did.

Caution: Check to be sure the seeds you use are meant to be used for sprouting, or at least have a very high germination rate. Unsprouted seeds, according to the manual we purchased, may ferment and spoil the whole batch.

Greening up.

Greening up.

We really enjoyed these sprouts on our Thanksgiving Day salad, with fresh greens and carrots from the garden.

Knowing you are giving your family something healthy that you grew yourself, really is something to be thankful for.

And a healthier year ahead? Yeppers- you can grow that too!

you can grow that

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Thankfulness and Giving – You Can Grow That!

Fall is the time of year when many people’s thoughts turn towards expressing gratitude for what they have, and to giving to others.

Commercialism aside, gardening affords you the greatest opportunities to do just that.
Whether it is bringing a small basket of fresh produce to the elderly woman down the street who can no longer grow a garden; or a dozen eggs to the disabled vet next door who not only enjoys them himself, but loves to share with his dog; being able to give really is more rewarding than receiving.

Plenty to share.

Plenty to share.

It means you have more than enough, that you think of others and care about them, and your heart grows bigger with each act.

Whether you share produce, pickles or seeds, or even just the information to help others grow their own, it is a wonderful way to connect and improve someone’s life every day.

This is a lesson I have learned well these past few years blogging.
What began as a simple attempt to share what I know about growing food, has given me in return wonderful new friendships and connections, a whole lot more information, and expressions of gratitude that truly touch my heart.

“What do you get out of this blogging thing?” a more cynical acquaintance asked me recently. “Look at how much time you spend, what’s in it for you?”

“Much more than I could ever have dreamed.” :-)

you can grow that

This post is a part of a collaborative effort by gardeners around the world.
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Want a very simple way to give?

When you read a post that teaches you, uplifts you, or just makes you laugh- share it using the icons below, or share from another source.
You are not only changing someone else’s life, you’re making yours better too.

Even if you don’t see it right a way, trust me.
You will.
It is a bonus to be truly thankful for.

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Gluten Free Low Carb Bread Crumbs – You Can Grow That!

Whether you are allergic to wheat, have a problem with gluten, are trying to reduce carbs in your diet, or are just looking for a healthier alternative to the typical store-bought bread crumbs, your garden is the place to go.

It was a few years back we looked at making flour from pumpkin flesh. The same can be done with a slew of other veggies, in fact I’m sure you could combine different vegetables to make a very healthy flour.

Note here that if you are going to bake with it, you can only substitute 1/3 of your vegetable flour in the recipe.

But then the same line of thinking led to… what about bread crumbs?

How to fit a head of cauliflower into a canning jar.

How to fit a head of cauliflower into a canning jar.

So the theory was tested by dehydrating an entire head of cauliflower. The result was about 1 3/4 cups of dried vegetable. Pretty potent stuff.

Some of that was then ground up in a good coffee grinder. Tofu was chosen for the experiment since it has pretty much no flavor of its own, a good test to see how strong the cauliflower taste would be.

Tofu slices were dipped first in organic corn meal, then in some beaten egg, then into the cauliflower. Some pieces were baked, some were fried. Just for comparison sake, some were also made with rice flour instead of the cauliflower.

Happy Tofu.

Happy Tofu.

Mandolin was the unknowing taste-tester. Good thing he trusts me!
“Is that cauliflower?” he asked, “It’s good, I like cauliflower.”

The taste was much milder than we expected, and we agreed if it were anything other than tofu you would probably not taste the cauliflower at all.
We both liked it better than the rice flour, as it was crunchier. We also preferred the fried to the baked.

We then served it with a nice orange-ginger sauce, and it was wonderful.

This weekend we’re looking forward to trying it again, when SaveTheWorld is home on fall break; but this time with fried green tomatoes.
Maybe we’ll even try a variety of veggies for the breading, just to see how it tastes.
I’m betting she doesn’t notice the difference at all, though she will be happy to know it is a healthier alternative.

With younger kids, you may want to keep this a secret for a while. :-)

This post is part of a monthly group effort by gardeners around the world to encourage people to grow. Click on the link below to find a variety of posts with that theme.

And always remember-
you can grow that

Categories: drying-roasting, gardening people, places & things, How to Store, organic, preparedness, you can grow that

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White Cherry Tomatoes – You Can Grow That!

Did a picture on a seed packet ever just grab your attention to the point you felt compelled to plant that veggie?

This year's must-have color.

This year’s must-have color.

Well that’s how we ended up with white cherry tomatoes.
The idea seemed intriguing, and it has proven to be so.

You see, even in the picture on the packet these heirloom tomatoes are not really white.
Ours, in fact, ripened quite yellow.

Not quite white.

Not nearly white.

So I looked on the back of the packet to see if there was any information about these tremendously delicious, but actually yellow, large cherry tomatoes.
They describe them as ‘pale yellow to ivory, 1 ounce fruits; color will be paler with less sun exposure.’

Hmmm… A challenge.

More on the way.

More on the way.

We have two of these plants in pots in our roadside garden; but rather than move them out of the sun, we decided to see if we could just limit their sun exposure.

So now they are covered with shade cloth, and we’ll see if we can get at least a pale yellow, if not an actual ivory-colored tomato.
If we do, we’ll let you know the experiment worked.

Helping things along.

Helping things along.

But whatever color they ripen to, one bite will convince you it doesn’t really matter.

you can grow that

You can grow that! is a monthly collaborative effort of gardeners around the world to help others learn to grow.
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The Freedom to Grow Edibles in Your Front Yard? You Can Grow That!

It’s not unusual these days to hear or read the stories of everyday people just wanting to grow food in the front of their houses, rather than lawns. What used to be herald as ‘Victory Gardens’ now has become a subversive, almost revolutionary act.

Things are tight financially for many of us, and let’s face it, our food supply is suspect. What if the best place to grow happens to be out front, heaven forbid, where everyone can see it?
These small town battles are going on not only all over our beautiful Land of the Free, but also in Canada, Australia, and who know where else.

Our front yard in mid-June is already feeding us.

Our front yard in mid-June is already feeding us.

Can you grow food in your front yard?
How about a few patio tomatoes on your deck?
Is a pear tree or an orange tree allowed where you live?
How about taking all the grass out, and building raised beds?

If this is something you would like to do, but think you cannot, think again. Anything worth having is worth working for, and that certainly includes the Freedom to use your property to grow fresh food.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Check your local ordinances first, it just may be you can do this already.
2. Talk to your neighbors and friends in your area. Are they interested as well? Would they be interested if you showed them how in your yard first? Are they at least willing to let you try? See if you can gather names before you approach your local HOA or locality officials.
3. Prepare your argument. Stamping your foot won’t get you anywhere. Explain to them the idea that you will be keeping pesticides such as Round-up out of the local environment, pesticides that will find their way into the local water system. Tell them how a living garden such as an edible one will attract beneficial insects to the neighborhood, as well as other insects that further attract birds. Tell them how it will benefit the community when neighbors are sharing tips and tomatoes, how the kids will get off their video games to help with the harvest, and how they will be promoting a ‘Greener’ neighborhood.
4. Get the stories of others. Check out what has happened in other areas. Orlando, Fla., Canada,West Des Moines, Iowa and in Ferguson, Mo.
5. Get help if you need to. Gardeners are a great bunch of people, and many have taken to emails and blogs in support of fellow gardeners that were being held back. If this happens to you, let us know. We have your back.
6. Don’t give up. The main difference between success and failure is persistence.

The color of Freedom.

The color of Freedom.

Sometimes Freedom isn’t just handed to you, sometimes it has to be ‘grown’. Stand up for your freedom to grow your own food!

This post is part of a collaborative effort on the behalf of gardeners around the world. For more posts on gardening, just click the pic below.
you can grow that

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Vegetables from Scraps? Yep, You Can Grow That!

Heaven knows where it started, but bloggers, Facebookers, Pinheads and more are sharing information on regrowing vegetables from their scraps.

Some of these we Joneses already knew about, and for many years. Horseradish, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and garlic have been in the gardens for a long time. One we knew but never tried is ginger.

Others, such as celery, leeks and romaine lettuce came as a surprise.

So we decided to check it out and see if it is true.
Here are some of the results:

Who knows what's below?

Who knows what’s below?

The ginger is doing well, in spite of taking a hit during an unusual cold snap. After growing it for a year, it’ll be interesting to see the results.
At least it’s sooner than a pineapple.

The mini veggie garden.

The mini veggie garden.

We also started leeks, celery and romaine lettuce bottoms in water. Changing the water every few days keeps it fresh and full of nutrients the plants need.

So far, so good.

So far, so good.

After 2 weeks we were impressed with the new growth.

Romaine, yes. Iceberg? Probably not.

Romaine, yes. Iceberg? Probably not.

The romaine lettuce is doing great. I have heard some people say they have been able to get multiple plantings from just one plant. I must say that would be pretty neat.

Will it grow the best part?

But will it grow the best part?

The leek is also coming along. Since what you eat is the white bottom portion, we’ll keep an eye on this one. If it shows any evidence of a bulb, we’ll ‘hill’ some soil around it to encourage more white.

Now on many of these posts and shares, carrots are mentioned.
The truth is you cannot get a carrot from scraps; you see, even mis-information gets shared.

Wait for the greens to grow.

Wait for the greens to grow.

What you can get are seeds, something we in the north don’t normally see.
This is something I learned as a kid. Hollow out a carrot top and fill it with water. Add more water as needed. It will sprout and eventually bloom.
So for old time sakes I started one and it’s in the kitchen window. When I get some string, I will hang it up there like the one that used to hang in my bedroom almost 50 years ago…
Before I knew that the pretty flowers could give me something to plant.

So can you grow vegetables from scraps?
Yep, some at least. All in all this has been fun to try, and we’ll post more info as we get it.
If nothing else, we’ll have a little free food as well as an activity to do with our grandson.

Update 6/13/13: the carrot shriveled up. This was at least partly my fault for neglecting it. I know this works having done it before, so am going to try and wait until I have a nice large organic carrot form our garden. Perhaps that will make the difference.

you can grow that

You Can Grow That! is a monthly collaborative effort by gardeners around the world to encourage and help others learn to grow.
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Fruit Trees in Small Gardens -You Can Grow That!

Not long ago we looked at the espalier method of growing fruit trees. The photo on that post was of a huge garden at Kylemore Abbey in Ireland. The trees were grown against a wall as a way of increasing how much heat they received.

But the espalier method, a simple pruning and staking technique, also serves well to save space.
Here is a picture taken by my friend Jack Goldfil of allotment plots in Paris:

Jack Goldfil's allotment garden.

You can see how the trees have been pruned, allowing only the side branches to grow. These are further controlled by tying them to wires running across the whole area. Even in a garden plot this size there can be fresh fruit.

Now of course our garden areas are much larger. Still, we like to get the most from the areas we have growing. An additional concern is the squirrel population that took ever single piece of fruit from our trees last year.
Every. Single. Piece.

So we moved a few of the trees that were only put in last year and purchased a few more.

Growing fruit trees in small spaces.

What we now have are 8 semi-dwarf fruit trees, one dwarf almond tree, and 3 bush variety cherries in a bed about 22′ by 4′. Since everything was just planted this spring, we won’t prune until after the harvest.
We are also going to build a structure above to drape netting over, in an effort to keep the squirrels out.

Remember to never prune more than 1/3 of the tree branches at one time. We will prune some in the fall, and a little more in the spring, containing the area they take up.
You can also plant crops below, as pruned trees don’t cast much shade. This year we planted potatoes and covered them with straw, additionally cutting down on the need to weed.

One other thing to keep in mind is that some trees, pears for example, need more than one variety to produce fruit. You can purchase “2 in one” of “all in one” trees that have been grafted with another variety. Just be careful when you prune to keep some of each variety growing on your tree.

Here’s Jack’s gardening page:Jardiniers du 4ème, where she shares more of her beautiful photos.

youcangrowthat

You Can Grow That! is a monthly collaborative effort by gardeners around the world to encourage and help others learn to grow.
You can find additional posts by clicking on the pic above. You can also follow us on Pinterest.

Categories: fruit trees, techniques, you can grow that

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Everything here is original (unless otherwise noted) and has legal copyright 2014 by Gardening Jones (tm), and cannot be re-posted or reproduced without permission. Any re-posting of information, photographs, and/or recipes is considered theft and subject to prosecution.

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