Awaiting Hairnets and Perpetual Onions

I forget about the Grape Hyacinth every year.

Taken from the garden that’s now the foundation of a house.

American Dream.

Champagne  Rhubarb is back.

Really pretty.

Asparagus too! Hard to see I admit.

Ah, Dear…is that a Peony in the top photo? I think so, a fun fact about that Peony, it’s nearly fifty years old. Everything in this garden is either very old or startlingly new. The weather is dry at least, Dear Reader, warm to a fair degree, I am so dull talking about the weather, but it helps explain the abundance of mundane garden posts. It’s fine enough to do some work and have some progress, yet not so warm to tire me out enough to make writing post a difficult endeavour. I’m now awaiting a few online orders, I buy a lot online, the town I live in is a dump, really, half of it is abandoned shops, so online gives me a lot more choice. I have plants, including three kinds of perpetual onions, which I’ll talk about when they arrive, I still have the secret to talk of, I haven’t forgotten, but the birthday person can’t see it yet, and a mix of roses and yes, hairnets. Disposable hairnets. Anywa…kidding, they’re to cover the tops of larger pots instead of using bags.

Tulips look best to me just before they open.

They have their quirks, but they’re worth taking care of.

Especially when they’re a surprise.

When they’re strong they’re a wonderful sight.

I’m still planting seeds inside, I’ll do a large batch here and there and eventually I’ll plant the outside seeds, in another month or two, too soon and you have to replant due to loss. I have a lot more room in the greenhouse thanks to my rearranging, it’s hard to find the perfect set up because you need a full years testing to find if it works at every stage. Speaking of year, deep sigh, Dear Reader, I was talking about my asparagus, that is now in its third year, and the first harvest, then realised that it won’t be harvested until its fourth year. The purple will be a year later, so in 2020 and  2021 respectively I will finally, FINALLY, have fresh asparagus, I do regret not putting down more, but they take up a fair bit of space and you can never have enough of anything in my experience and it’s better to have a varied variety of vegetables instead.

Even when single coloured they’re striking.

I can’t remember if I ever had this before.

Anemone The Bride.

American Dream is beautiful.

Purple asparagus looks green, green looks purple. If they weren’t hugely different in pot sizes I’d suspect a mix up.

London Pride. The top fell off the other one.

Second Freesia. Maybe they’ll grow every year from here on out.

I have more to fill, more to feed, more of everything to do, Dear Reader, it’s starting to kick into full swing. I’m hoping for more consistent weather, having a few days straight of hours of gardening really clears the head. I could do with that, the wait for the surgery is a constant weight on my mind, no matter what I’m never away from it, never allowed to really celebrate an end to this leg of the journey. No, no, Dear Reader, Jack is dwelling on this, but it never hurts to talk, never allow anything to bottle up. Everything here is frank, no I’m still Jack, I mean straight forward, and honest. y soul cries out for the peace that the garden brings, the creativity it inspires and the promise of endless sunny days it encapsulates. I’ll be back again soon, Dear Reader, hopefully with something interesting to relate.

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AIP BBQ Seasoning

I used it on chicken, as part of a non-AIP compliant meal. Original can be found here.

I did say, Dear Reader, that AIP and I weren’t a great mix, too much issues with compatibility, but then that has never stopped me from searching for, and finding, recipes. I’ve gotten rather good at hunting down original and useful recipes in over saturated search results, search AIP enough and you’ll see thousands of nomato variations, ditto nightshades. Spice blends are useful as they offer a lot of uses, not over exciting admittedly, but that isn’t always why we eat, is it, Dear Reader? One of the main restrictions, no seeds, really limits AIP in terms of flavour diversity when it comes to spices and herbs, I like the fact that the herbs here bring a different taste even when the recipes includes the ever useful ginger, cinnamon, turmeric combo. It’s a simple taste, a little herby, a little warm, nothing too grand, but pleasant. Very mild, even to one on a forced mild tasting diet such as myself. Still, I’m learning a little, taking notes for future creations, I’ll still try to hunt a few more AIP recipes before I put it to bed, I will always use a recipe when possible, Dear Reader, have no fear here, I’m not stingy and will happily share any findings, I’ll just want a break eventually. A break from a break, well that’s something. I cut this down to one serving, you can easy make up a batch, though I don’t know how long the fresh onion will last, you might be best to add that when using. Okay, a short, but useful, I hope, post today. I’ll be back again later, Dear Reader, until then, take care.

Ingredients

1/2 Tbsp Minced Onion
1/2 Tbsp Garlic Granules
1/4 Tbsp Dried Oregano
1/8 Tbsp Sea Salt
1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1/8 Tsp Ground Ginger

Method

1. Mix it all together.

The Yellow, Green and Brown Cure-all

Newly adopted White Currant plant.

That mesh is old, it came from England with a great-uncle of mine.

Whenever I see these I think: Feed every bulb.

The garlic is growing strong.

I awoke today with a railway spike driven neatly into my eye-socket, or a feeling approximating that, the varying weather is making my histamine intolerance act up like a petulant child driven wild with sugar, Dear Reader, and much like the child it takes time for it to be quelled which I am not getting because, again, the weather is trying to decide what it wants to be, but enjoys sitting on fences too much for Dearest Darling Jack’s comfort. Still, after a jaunt to the shop where I found the currant bush, so cheap, NO NOT ME!, a elaborate meal of something or other and a espresso, cold dead hands etc, I ventured out into the sparkling sunshine and the rail spike vanished almost instantly. Why? Stress, Dear Reader, if I may be serious, stress isn’t a on/off thing, but days like this are the right stuff to clear out some of that residue of a poor night and tiring days. Woulds that I could just garden eternally.

I think this is a Shirley Tulip, it changes colour gradually, very pretty in each stage.

This is still in the ground, rather than a pot, for some vague reason I’ve just accepted. Flame of the Forest.

Squash and miscellaneous seeds are down.

The reds are striking, but look at those tall ones. They’re…er….*Checks notes*…Lasting Love and Virichic! Got there eventually.

So, between filling numerous pots, fiddling with a draining water fountain, a removal of the nozzle left it shorter in stream, but very effective none the less and even with little sun a pleasant constant ripple is seen, very soothing, and generally dragging as much dirt around as humanly possible I got a surprising amount done. This is where the garden kicks up a gear, the first, early Spring days belie the true nature of the garden’s growth, a few scant flowers seem an abundance after the barren Winter months, but now is the time where the greens shall flourish. I’m seeing over twenty degrees in the greenhouse, nearly enough to guarantee squash starting to germinate, which is how I measure everything in the garden. This year is, naturally Harlequin, a new Bush Delicata and a gifted heirloom Potimarron, Uchi Kuri or Red Kuri depending on your region. All going well I’ll have squash in the pots and beds with some left in case of mishaps.

Centurion Onions are starting.

This clematis seems to have hit it’s stride now. I think the other’s a Summer one.

Onions and Shallots are looking good. I’ll plant carrots here eventually and hope the onions prevent carrot fly, I use resistafly carrots, but have ordinary, well…, ones too.

Next up I need to plant basil, an easy job as I sow directly into the final pots, needing to fill a few more while I’m at it, it never ends, Dear Reader, until it does, and chillies. I plant those in the large pots, under plastic cups, which works so well I use it for beetroot too. I cover everything to retain moisture and heat. It’s surprising how fast everything dries in the greenhouse, even on relatively cool days. I have placed an order with a garden centre, a single flat rate of postage helps greatly, as a birthday gift to myself. As I always struggle with scallions, I’ve bought Welsh Onions. perpetual scallions if grown correctly. I really intend to make a better job of the salad garden, and, yes, Dear Reader, I’m prepared for the onslaught of requests for lettuce out of season, while the same people complain they don’t want fresh organic, FREE, lettuce as they bought it in the shops. Jack isn’t bitter, Dear Reader, he just has limited patience for people like that, infinite patience for others. I hope I have these sunny days for a while more, I’ll try to keep from posting too much though! Have no fear, Dear Reader, I’m well disciplined. Until later then, Dear Reader, take care.

 

In Just A Quick….ANOTHER TWO MONTHS…?

Well, the Canna Indica seeds are swollen and planted. Now we wait. Or forget.

My hands were trembling, this is too much work to screw up.

I’ve talked roses and the cloning of before, Dear Reader, but this set is from a very special rose, a lot of my roses were planted by people no longer here, whether they’d all want me to have them is debatable, one of the main contributors never knew me nor I her, but they couldn’t find a better tender and, maybe slightly arrogantly, the roses wouldn’t have thrived as they have in my garden anywhere else. This roses was planted by a woman who left nothing else after her tragic passing, the section of root I have, the huge rambler that is, had an original too, but it isn’t tended to and is inaccessible now. So, in my attempt to clone this there comes a lot of history, one of these will be given to the Sister of that woman. To grow in her garden in memory. Today when I saw a root coming throw the holes in he base of the pot I knew it was time. As you can see there were two rooting well, with a third just starting to shoot out, all should be fine, but I know he third has struggled. As an aside, I wonder if the size of a cutting is important, the largest struggled the most even though it has started to root, with a little death at the top. Ask me again in another twenty years, Dear Reader and I may begin to have an idea about this process.

Two big root systems.

Swollen stem, just starting to root.

Back to the greenhouse for another few months.

Now, I could act as if this were easy due to my skill, but you know me, Dear Reader, I’ve talked about playing the odds and how a lot of garden successes aren’t repeatable without experience and understanding. I used all I know to get here, hard to say how long so far, maybe five months, or perhaps six, it’ll take at least half a year before these are ready to be hardened off and left outside or transplanted. This stage is delicate, I remove them early as I don’t want the roots to intertwine and break when they’re removed and as to the reason they’re all in a pot, because, quite simply, I had no idea if they’d root and wasn’t wasting clay or space in the greenhouse on them. There are no guarantees here, Dear Reader, others will say otherwise and more power to them, but you’ll still need a half year to get them growing properly, speedy hacks won’t combat a plant’s natural instinct and this isn’t my first batch of cloned flowers. I know the green cutting works, but I also soaked the stems with the wormery leachate, I don’t know if they can absorb anything via the stems or the new leaves, but it certainly didn’t hurt. I think they need he Winter dormancy too, the changes in temperature may change the way they grow. Again, I’m just making educated guesses here.

So for this step I fed with rose feed and added sugar to combat any transplant shock. I gently packed them into the pots, they’re two litres surprisingly, they hold a lot of soil. Now I leave them for another month or even two and when they’re rooting heavily I’ll harden them off and give the rose, after easily a half year, to her sister, put one in my double pot obelisk setup and if the third survives it may venture to the front garden. It’s worth saying that at no stage did I know if his would be a success, I still don’t, the odds look good, but you can never tell. It’s why I appreciate the work people put into this kind of venture, why I’d never demand someone do it for me, or act superciliously towards anyone who does. This is a difficult project, one which when it’s finished, one way or another, will be mostly ill-understood, disregarded and generally ignored. I’m used to that, Dear Reader, it’s why I refused to do it to anyone else. When the roses bloom after years, again assuming, but let’s be optimistic, then people will question my methods, ask for help and I’ll say to hell with them and go gardening. Jack is an idiot no longer, Dear Reader! Heh. Okay, that’s it for me, I’ll be back with a few more recipes in the coming days all going well Until then, take care, Dear Reader.

Maybe I Know A Little

No roots visible at the bottom yet, but soon.

This monster is the original.

If you need to hide just climb in.

Oh, just look at the time.

We’ve been given a brief reprieve from terrible weather, Dear Reader, and I have been making progress. This year I had work for the cold Winter days and the gloomy early Spring days. Those plans have paid off. The first was the seeds, I divided up the marking, planting and filling. I had all the lollipop sticks marked and bundled and when the weather was decent I filled small pots for planting and as the weather has been warm night and day alike I started my planting, thanks to the gridded beds I knew how much to plant and how much I’d want extra for safety against loss. Instead of trying to do it all in fits and starts and a rush, I instead had a very easy time planting and bagging pots, which is still a great idea, when one starts you only uncover that one and not the entire tray, no do you need to keep a seedling undercover and let it get too wet.

It took some work, and a plastic lid, but I got there.

Little tricks abound in this garden.

The tulips start and finish in a gradual procession of colour.

This rose is trying its hardest.

The water fountain is up and running. I had a huge issue with it tilting and spurting all the water out, it runs regardless of water as long as there’s sun, which isn’t good, so I used a plastic lid, from bird feed, we have so many birds, to suction it onto then placed the rocks that kept slipping under onto that too and the whole now spurts upwards in high sun and mostly returns to the fountain. It’ll still need the odd top up, but that’s easier than refilling every few minutes! I have wanted something like this for a long time, I get ideas, but I haven’t the budget for the deluxe solar models nor do I have an outdoor plug for the still more expensive than this models. I make it work, Dear Reader. Sadly we have lost our other water feature, the water lotus succumbed to the cold and after reading again it turns out without extensive equipment and a greenhouse placement they often fail here, the pretty ones at least. The Pond, as it will ever been known, will be replanted and left to flower. The remains of the lotus are in the greenhouse, there’s probably no hope, but I couldn’t but try. I know a lot thanks to that plant and I enjoyed the year I had it for. To have gotten it so far is an accomplishment I will treasure.

They just pop up overnight.

And fade away slowly.

Sometimes too soon.

Little late crocuses.

Every year I swear I won’t start flowers from seeds as the payoff is often minimal, but every year I end up with unusual seeds, or have an idea involving flowers you can only grow from seed or save seeds, or…you get the idea, Dear Reader. I was gifted seeds by a Dear Reader that I am planting in the next few days, some are down already, I have Royal Mallow that I’ve saved twice already, they’re really beautiful and huge. The sweet peas will need to be started inside for the best chance of germination. The Canna Indica seeds that appeared on a seed pod that looked slightly unreal, on a plant that I didn’t even know anything about then, I do now, have been rasped to break the outer shell and are soaking in lukewarm water to be planted tomorrow. I don’t know how they’ll do, but they were a rare sight to me, a first, so I had to try. I know bulb seeds can be fickle, I even have tulip seeds I saved planted, but you have to try everything possible, Dear Reader, you just never know when you’ll get the chance again. Until later, Dear Reader, I’ll be in the garden a lot so expect a lot of rambling stories. Until then.

It’s starting!

Practice and preparedness helps.

 I was an optimist when I started with a nail file. One shot into the dishwasher.

Then I became a realist with a rasp.

A very kind Dear Reader’s donation to the garden. Persian Silk Tree Seeds. More being planted soon too.

AIP Chicken Shawarma

There’s just a before and after because there’s so little to do here.

See, Dear Reader? I did keep looking at AIP recipe even I could tolerate. This is a rough tweak of an older recipe for Chicken Shawarma. I have been reading up on the AIP diet, skimming mostly, I do like the idea of a temporary healing or reset diet, I still wonder about the rigidity of this kind of approach and the difficulty of creating a true one-for-all plan, even if we don’t understand what out bodies can tolerate there can never be a diet hat won’t still pose dangers. The AIP allows a lot of ferment foods and citric acids, which are a huge no-no for yours truly, so if I had followed it originally I may not be where I am today. Ultimately it depends on how much you can think for yourself, if you blindly follow any diet it can be dangerous. Now, I don’t like being a jerk, you know me, Dear Reader, I measure my words and think about what I’m saying and this has been with me from the very early stages of my own journey, but I do not like the transition from AIP to paleo, I still find the paleo-ish idea better, being more inclusive about food rather than strictly following an often arbitrary diet, paleo’s rules are often silly and based on random theories about primitive man. No grains and no pseudo-grains because reasons is just nonsense and it matches the mindset that follows those kinds of diets. There are people that consider themselves deep thinkers, everyone else is sheep, never them funnily, and a diet that evokes images of he-men fits that kind of mindset. It’s too much to unpack here, Dear Reader, nor do I want to, but if any diet plan can’t provide concrete, credible and scientifically proven reasons to abstain from any beneficial food then question it. Question everything. Even what I say, Dear Reader, it never hurts to explore our ignorance.

Here’s the after.

As with many AIP recipes this is a rather basic and simple. I served it with a non-AIP sauce, I’m still on my own diet after all, Dear Reader, but what is interesting is that this kind of recipe forces you to really figure out how to make something from and by omissions. By leaving out the salt I’d almost always add I leave the remaining flavours, however sparse, the space to shine. The end result still isn’t thrilling, but it’s warm and filled with healing spices. When the Summer comes and I start my Salad Garden in earnest, and try to learn to eat more greens, I’ll want seasoned meat like this as most dressings are off-limits to me. I’ll still do some searching around for suitable AIP recipes, partly to fill a void in my understanding, partly out of curiosity and partly to encourage others to think outside of their own diets. That’s it for today, Dear Reader, I’ll be back sooner rather than later, until then take care.

Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 Heaped Tsp Ground Tumeric
1/8 Tsp Garlic Granules
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Cloves

Method

1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth, add the meat and coat all over.

2. Preheat non-stick pan and when hot add Chicken. Turn to medium-high and cook for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Same Old, Same New: Baffles and Raps

I had quinoa flour, but wanted a change from the usual.

They’re nice and springy, but not that different from most of my savoury waffles.

Yo, Dear Reader I was looking through AIP recipes for the blog that I could eat, but apparently we’re very mismatched, but that’s the norm for me and pretty much every dietary plan out there. Still, I’ll keep an eye out, I hope that the kitchen aspect of the garden will start to pick up steam, once the weather warms I can start planting seeds in the greenhouse. As it stands right I have onions starting, garlic that looks healthy and strong and not much activity on the food side. It’s early days yet and the flowers are beautiful. I had a lot of eggs that need to be used up, but since my Bap recipes uses round tins that I can’t get the tins I decided rectangle baps were fine. too. So: Raps are born! Heh. All you need is about an inch of batter, the size of the tin is irrelevant, but you have to amount for the amount of batter available for each tin, my tall loaf tins worked just fine as you can see.

It’s rare I have quinoa flour so readily available to purchase.

I wasn’t going to photograph t cut, but, I don’t like when others hide what the bread looks like cut.

While I was making those I wondered if I’d still get the same springiness that makes these such great alternative to the usual loaves in a waffle. It worked well enough that the Baffle, Bap Waffle, was born! Seriously, it’s just a plain waffle, but convenient if you have a waffle iron and need something that isn’t as dry as they can be when using a single flour. The waffle is just half the batter with no other changes. It’s a surprisingly complex recipe despite its simplistic steps. The main part is in working each flours strength to counter the weakness of another. The quinoa’s natural lightness helps alleviate the buckwheat’s dryness which helps stabilises and firm the texture that would be mush with the flaxseed which in turn hold everything together and increase the springy texture. And so on. It tastes strongly of quinoa flour, no way around that, but look at the health benefits and stick something strong tasting in it. I’ll be back again sooner rather than later, Dear Reader, until then take care.