Crops


Our two prickly pear cacti in the front planter had been dormant for a while, but just recently they have both exploded with new growth!

Crazi Cacti

I can see cactus quesadillas in our near future… yum yum! 馃檪

When we bought our house, we were happy to find a very young Breadfruit tree the previous owner had planted. 聽We quickly realized thought that though Breadfruit IS a beautiful tree, with very large leaves, it gets seriously big, very quickly (we’re talking over 100 feet!).

Baby Breadfruit tree circa 2007

Breadfruit circa 2009 (Note the difference in trunk size…Retaining wall for driveway now in place)


Beautiful large leaves

We trimmed the tree 聽a few times but were both a bit concerned about its proximity to the house and to our retaining wall. 聽When it flowered and started fruiting for the first time we were excited, as we figured we’d at least get to try the fruit before the tree has to “go”. 聽Locally, folks use the “Pana” as a vegetable, either frying it as “tostones de Pana” or boiling it as a side “vegetable” (tastes like a bland potato…). 聽I found a few curried breadfruit recipes (good bless Trinidad and Tobago…) and waited for harvest time.

The Breadfruit fruit starts out 聽as a clump of flowers which then turn into one fruit with lots of with nobby little spikes (each formed from a flower!). 聽The fruit eventually “heals” over into a smooth fruit. 聽Not ours…the spikes continued until the fruits ripened, got soft and started falling off the tree (forming big piles of mushy mess).


Young Breadfruit fruit


Big and spiky!

A few weeks ago, a friend stopped by with his mother-in-law. 聽She looked over the railing to admire our Breadfruit tree (as many people do) and then noted with great delight that we have the “other” type of “Pana” (aka “Pana de pepitas”). 聽Say what? Mystery solved: 聽We have a Breadnut tree, rather than the 聽seedless Breadfruit (those interested can read all about the two types of 聽“breadfruit” and their relative, the Jackfruit, 聽here and everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the Breadnut here). 聽 She explained that the Breadnut 聽seeds (or nuts) were harvested out of the fruit and then boiled or roasted like chestnuts. 聽Who knew?

We finally got around to picking one of the fruit (having seen the inside of the fruits post fall, neither of us was overly excited about the prospect of ‘harvesting’ nuts…). 聽Nick then spent a messy hour separating out the bread “nuts” . 聽 We then boiled the hell out of ’em.

Digging through the pulp for the “nuts” (there has GOT to be an easier way…).

Close up: 聽Messy work!

The crop

Yep, they look like chestnuts and taste just like chestnuts! 聽Good news is that we can now easily聽propagate聽our tree (the seedless Breadfruit requires grafting or root propagation) as Nick had the foresight to put a few “nuts” to the side. 聽 But what does one do with hundreds of chestnuts???

Oriental Summer Squash flower

A very happy Black Panther Pumpkin Patch

First yield of large green mangoes, on the way to becoming chutney

Q: how do you pick plantains from a plant that is 20ft tall?
A: using a machete and gravity! 馃檪






Plantains
Retrieving our haul!

Yesterday began with a kiln opening and ended with an “opening” courtesy of mother nature. We unloaded my tenth glaze firing to reveal lots of new goodies, including the pair pictured below. Visitors to the gallery last week had requested two ‘Mas Caf茅’ mugs in Licorice Black (“breaking brown please!”). I had but two bisque mugs to glaze so was very happy (and relieved) when I pulled this lovely pair out the the kiln:

In the afternoon, after watering some newly transplanted oyster plants (our planter in the front of the house is overflowing and offers a great free source of plants!) I was doing my usual “survey” of our trees. Many are in bloom (tons of bananas, plantains, breadfruit, papaya, small mangoes). To my delight, I discovered that our young avocado immediately behind the house (which has yet to give fruit) is in bloom! Those of you who have been following our blog for a while know how much I LOVE avocado (Nick, not so much). Our massive (60 feet or so) Avocado tree at the bottom of our slope has been faithfully supplying awesome fruit but come on! An Avocado tree RIGHT BEHIND THE HOUSE? Heaven!


Avocado Flowers


View from the balcony: Avocado A = Down steep slope Avocado B = muy cerca

Just over a year ago I setup 2 trellises for passion fruit vines that Miri had grown from seed. Click here to view the original post. One trellis was based on a design I found online and the other was of my own invention. Sadly, one year on, my innovative triangular design has failed spectacularly. The strong winds we’ve been experiencing recently were just too much for it…
Failed trellis

Clearly, attaching the anchor wires halfway up the stakes wasn’t the best idea as all the weight was above that point and the (not very) “Sturdy Stakes” simply folded in half!

The good news is that the ‘official’ trellis is still very much in one piece and the 2 vines growing on it look happy and healthy…
Trellis still standing

Rather than kill the vine that was growing on my failed trellis I decided to mount a rescue operation and move it somewhere more suitable. I dug it up and re-planted it next to a scrub tree and draped the vine over the branches. Hopefully I got enough roots so it will establish itself and thrive in its new home. Only time will tell.

On the move
Vine on the move

New home
Getting put in its new home

From the kiln….

fourthbisque

And from the vegetable patch…

crop

Prognosis? 聽Thai curry for dinner and lots of glazing next week! Buen fin de semana a todos. 聽 馃檪

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