The Great Outdoors

Every opportunity I get to be out-of-doors I take it.  I would rather be working in the yard almost more than anything, one exception would be baking in the kitchen.  But when the weather is cooperating with sun and moderate temperatures, (moderate for me now is 60) I take my clippers, tarp and rake out to the yard for some fresh air and garden time.

The yard has a huge pine tree with needles that are falling all the time. Here you do not see any pine cones just lying around, pine cones are used to get your fire started so get out early after a windy day or they will be cleaned up by one of your neighbors.

The low temperatures right now are in the 40’s with highs into the 60’s.  But if the day is overcast forget about seeing 60.  The house we rented sits on a corner lot filled with trees, shrubs, a huge white rose-bush, bird of paradise, a Bougainvillea shaped like a basket (which is very popular in our area), the plant above which is huge and kind of scary and assorted flowing bushes as well as several trees that I have no idea what they are because they were cut way back before we moved into the house.

Joe followed me around with the camera while I was out on this day. And caught me enjoying a great afternoon out-of-doors.

 The grass is in need of some TLC as it looks to be more weeds than grass. But we have all fall and winter to get it in shape.

Fruits and Peppers in the Garden

We have such an abundance from our garden.  Below are just a few of the fruits that we gather each week. I am happy to say that many of my neighbors and folks on my daily walk like guava or guayaba, everyone here uses lemons on almost a daily basis so we are happy to share what our garden produces. Some of our other trees do not yet produce enough to share a great deal. I just cannot use all that we get from our garden so giving the egg delivery guys a bag full of guayaba is a wonderful way to thank them for their service and use the extra fruits that Joe and I can not eat.

San Clemente 8.4.2014 048We are blessed to have found a home that had a garden filled with fruit trees. Each day we pick fruits for our table and share with neighbors and friends.

San Clemente 8.4.2014 036San Clemente 9.23.2014 011San Clemente 9.23.2014 029San Clemente 9.23.2014 027The above four photos are our pomegranate or granadas.  I have made Pomegranate Syrup to use on pancakes.

San Clemente 8.4.2014 043San Clemente 8.4.2014 046These are one of several lemon trees that give us fruit almost year round. The trees have just finished blossoming and we have picked all the old fruit to allow the new fruit all the nourishment the tree can give them.

San Clemente 9.23.2014 030San Clemente 9.23.2014 031San Clemente 9.23.2014 026The pepper plants in the ground are not as happy as the ones in the pot. Our soil is basically sand, I am amazed anything can grow in it.

San Clemente 9.23.2014 028San Clemente 8.4.2014 037Star fruit or fruta china is an exotic fruit, sweet, juicy. Wonderful for juice but they never make it to the juicer. With only one ripe at a time it is so easy just to wash it and eat it right out in the yard. And that is what I do most times.

San Clemente 9.23.2014 024This papaya is located outside our fence but it started from seeds that I tossed so I think of it as mine, ja ja  They are getting close, I just hope they are sweet with dark fruit, some of the lighter fruit papayas are tasteless.

San Clemente 9.23.2014 025San Clemente 8.4.2014 040Naranjilla is another exotic fruit and I do not think its natural habitat is on the coast. This is a sierra fruit but I found a tree and am babying it hopefully soon to put it in the ground.  The leaves and stems have thorns and can cause some good pinches. You can use the fruit for juice by boiling it for about 10 minutes and then blending and straining, adding water and some sugar. I like to use it in Seco de Chivo or Seco de Pollo.

San Clemente 9.25.2014 024Our guava or guyaba tree seems to be always producing. I make marmalade and paste from the fruit as well as an occasional batido. The tree is also a wonderful shade tree to keep our little yard cool during those hot sunny days.

San Clemente 9.23a.2014 002San Clemente 9.23a.2014 001Thanks for taking the tour of our garden which is only 20 x 30 feet. Small but filled with such surprises. And smiles.

Pomegranates (Granadas)

Pomegranates are bountiful on the little tree we have in our yard. I have handed them out as folks come by because unless I decide to juice them we will never eat all the fruit. Just one section has the following fruits.

San Clemente 7.18.2013 008The trees are lush and green with more fruit now that they are being watered and fertilized regularly.  We may have to remove this tree when we finish our plans for a ramada and patio in this section of the yard.  I would love to try to transplant it to another part of the yard but am afraid that it will die if I do that. Anyone have any suggestions on how to move this beauty with a high rate of success?

I did plant a few seeds at the suggestion of my friend Deborah from Bahia and have what looks to be three baby trees starting up. She did tell me that grow fast so my next move is to transplant them to their own container and see how fast they really grow.

San Clemente 8.3.2013 017I also tried juicing the seeds, it worked well adding them to the blender and giving it a quick buzz for about 20 seconds. Pour into a strainer and uses a spatula to squeeze the juice out of the pulp. It was delicious and this is an easy way to use the fruit.

Carambola (Star Fruit – but locals call it Fruta China)

Yesterday afternoon while sitting out in the yard I looked up to see several almost ripe star fruit just staring down at me.  My friend Eva said to add them to a regular salad for a special kick. That sounds like a lovely way to eat the bounty from our yard.

San Clemente 7.18.2013 003

San Clemente 7.18.2013 002

There are several bunches of little pink flowers along with a few very tiny little fruits. It is so much fun to search in the branches to see if any of them contain fruit. It looks like we will have five very nice ripe fruit in the next several days and then several more over the next month.

San Clemente 7.18.2013 009

What a treat!

Horseradish Plant is Thriving

About two months ago Liz and Bill visited and brought me a beautiful horseradish root. I actually cut it in half as I could not part with the entire root and planted the one half in the ground at the beginning of one of my flower beds. I held out little hope that this would grow here after reading several accounts from other more experienced gardeners than myself that theirs never even came out of the ground here on the coast.

Below is a picture from March 24th where it started to sprout.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 015

The photo below was taken a few days ago.

San Clemente 4.26.2013 001

I actually don’t think I gave this plant enough room to grow but with our yard as small as it is, well I guess this will have to do for right now. I did a bit of reading and found out that the plant can grow to almost two feet high, is a perennial and will continue to grow for three years. The leaves can also be cut and eaten raw and have the same spicy taste as the root.

I am now researching how to can or somehow preserve what I hope to harvest..Just another day at the little house on the costa..

Trying My Hand at Planting

I wanted to share with you a few plants that have started to spring up in my garden. First and foremost a special thank you to Liz for bringing a horseradish root on the plane with her when she visited a few weeks ago. I cut it in half not wanting to ruin the entire root and followed the instructions I found on the internet. I planted it on an angle and it has started to grow. Now I am not sure that it will continue to thrive here because of how warm it is but I have faith that I am supposed to have a horseradish plant.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 034

Next to the horseradish plant I planted several cloves of garlic. They are springing up but again I am not sure they will do well in this heat so I am going to clip the tops and add to salads for a nice garlicky hit.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 031

I have also planted a few knobs of ginger and again they are starting to sprout so keep your fingers crossed that they will grow for us.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 038

I also planted the seeds from a Hawaiian papaya – they tend to be a bit sweeter than the big ones. I know they need to be thinned out but I just cannot make myself destroy these little babies just yet, maybe next week I will be ready to pull them up.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 039

I have several dill plants that are doing their best to make it. We could sure use some fresh dill for my mother’s chicken soup recipe.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 037

Now here are the bouganvilla plants that I cut from beautiful red-flowered plants growing on the fence of Vista Azul. I planted them months ago before the rain started and they did nothing for so long I thought they were dead. Look at those beautiful red flowers, these have the long spikes and will be added security on our wall on the street side of our property.

San Clemente 3.24.2013 036

Well, off to re-pot all my potted plants. Max our neighbor brought me two huge sacks of soil from his farm. It is so black and rich I know my potted plants will just go wild for it. Now all I need is that old straw hat my Dad would wear in his garden…………….

San Clemente 3.24a.2013 002

Plant Stand

Several months back I watched a garden show that Joe had downloaded for me. They made this wonderful fountain with garden tiles that got me thinking. We really don’t want a water feature in our small garden but I did have an asparagus fern that has grown out of control and was dragging on the ground.

So voilà !

San Clemente 2.22.2013 001

These are floor tiles left over from the renovation of our bathroom.

San Clemente 2.22.2013 002