Pomegranate

16 (2)My little pomegranate tree is starting to fruit. This is a dwarf variety, good for growing in planters. It does best in zones 7 through 11. The tree reaches a height and width of approximately 3 feet.

 
 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Avocados

13 (2)Got to love it when my friend Tom leaves avocados from his trees on my front porch. He also writes the names of the varieties on them. Thanks Tom, much appreciated!

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

How to Make Pineapple Juice / Grow a Pineapple

A (2)If you have a strong blender it’s easy to make pineapple juice or a smoothie. I use a Vitamix, which will totally pulverize the fruit. Start with a whole pineapple. Cut off the crown (top) and bottom. Then slice off the outer layer of the pineapple so you are left with the yellow part. Now slice that crosswise and into wedges. No need to slice out the middle core. A strong blender will puree that. Toss the wedges in the blender and add water and/or ice, depending on the desired consistency. Blend on high. If you add water it will look like the juice that I made in the picture. If you add ice, it will have the consistency of a smoothie. Either way, it’s sweet and tastes great.

If you want to GROW a pineapple, just take the crown that you cut off and set it aside for a couple of days to dry out a bit. Then place it loosely in soil, either in the ground or in a planter. Pineapple grows shallow roots so it is fine in a planter. It will take approximately 2 years to grow an edible fruit so it is good to have a few plants, started at different times. Pineapple is a tropical fruit; it does need sun and warm weather. Good luck!

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

First Pineapple

1 (3)This morning I got to harvest the first pineapple from my yard. I had bought the plant over when I moved here a year ago. When it changed colors from green to yellow, I knew it was ripe. I have six other pineapple plants, in different stages of development. It takes approximately 2 years to grow a pineapple. This fruit can be easily grown in a container as well, because the roots are shallow.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Peanut Butter/Banana/Fig Shake

peanut figC (2)I love peanut butter—spooned straight out of the jar, on bread, in a pie, in sauce, and in a shake! The ingredients are non-hydrogenated peanut butter, very ripe bananas, fresh figs and soy milk. You can use a nut milk or dairy if you prefer.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Clothes & Carambolas

clothes (2)I cleaned out my closet today to donate clothes to Lotus House…and I also picked a bunch of fruit from my Carambola trees to give them. Lotus House is a women’s shelter, dedicated to improving the lives of homeless women and their children. The clothes that are donated to the organization are either given to the women who live at the shelter or they are sold in their Lotus House Thrift Boutique, to help fund programs such as employment and life-skills counseling.

If you live in the Miami area, please stop by the store at 2040 NW 7th Ave. The ladies also operate a coffee bar there; and serve pastries, sandwiches and desserts.
FullSizeRender (2)
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

The Earth Machine

Master Gardener explains composting
Master Gardener explains composting

Saturday morning I attended a 1-hour composting workshop taught by the University of Florida, Miami-Dade County Extension. They gave me and each of the 50 participants a free composter: The Earth Machine. The plastic bin is only 33” high by 33” wide, so it can fit unobtrusively into most yards.

If you don’t know what compost is… it is the decomposition of organic waste such as food and/or plant material by microbes, worms & other organisms. The end result is humus, a rich material that you can use to fertilize your plants or enrich the soil. (Not to be confused with Hummus!)  It’s very easy to make compost. They suggest that you use 1 part GREENS to 3 parts BROWNS, though this is not a definitive rule. GREENS can be cooked/uncooked fruits & vegetables, breads & grains, coffee grounds & filters, and grass clippings. BROWNS are sawdust, hay & straw, wood fireplace ashes, yard trimmings (leaves, twigs), used potting soil, wood chips, shredded newspaper, eggshells and nut shells. As you fill the bin with your waste material, you should keep it moist and mix it up every now and then. In 4 to 6 months you will have a batch of rich compost.

Things that should NOT be put in the compost bin are aluminum and other metals; glass; meat, dairy and other animal products; yard trimmings treated w/chemical pesticides; and seeds. For more information on upcoming workshops and how to get a free composter if you live in Miami-Dade, you can go to Miami-Dade/UF Extension

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

The Gardener & the Green Smoothie

green (2)I really like sharing my fruit concoctions. If you visit me at my house, chances are you’ll be offered a glass of whatever smoothie I have in the fridge. I lovingly serve them to my friends, family, neighbors and the workers who come to my house. In a conversation with my mother one day, about my fruit trees and the occasional smoothies I give the gardener, she laughed and said “you don’t make that GREEN smoothie for him, do you!?”  What!? Is it against the 10 Commandments to give the gardener a green smoothie?

Today was the gardener’s day to do my yard and he was also going to plant a persimmon tree for me. I usually make a pitcher just for him and his assistant, with the fruits I have an abundance of, which are papaya and carambola. These are fruits they are familiar with and like. I decided that the tree-planting warranted a special smoothie:  a green one! I made my new favorite recipe of carambola, banana & kale. I did go easy on them and put less kale than I normally do.

You should have seen the look on their faces when I handed them each a large plastic cup of the green goodness. They were confused. Drinking something green was not an experience they had had before. They drank it because it was a very hot day, they were thirsty and perhaps a little polite. Turns out they don’t EAT much green food, much less DRINK it.

Commandment #11: Thou shall not give the gardener a green smoothie.

© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

Brown Turkey Figs

FullSizeRender (2)What the ______? Did a turkey lay these figs? If I plant one will I GROW a turkey? Am I a turkey if I buy them? I don’t understand. Can someone explain this to me?

 
 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.

The Star Fruit

IMG_4495 (2)Pick me. I’m a luminous Star. Though some people may call me Carambola. Slice me crosswise and toss me into the heavens to shine. Bite into me. I’m crunchy and juicy and sublime.

 
 
© 2015 Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com. Excerpts and links may be used and are encouraged, provided that full and clear credit is given to Beatriz Portela and gardeningB.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Any other use and/or duplication of this written material & picture(s) is prohibited without written permission from Beatriz Portela.