A New Challenge

IMG_3879I started this GardeningB blog last year, after reading Elle Luna’s book “The Crossroads of Should and Must” and meeting her at our local bookstore. Several people in the audience were talking about THE 100-DAY PROJECT, a creative challenge they had just started, and that got me thinking about reigniting my creative side. I jumped in, a week or so later, starting my own 100-Day Project. I chose to blog a story every day, for 100 days, about edible gardening. It would be a challenge for me because I hadn’t written much since I had worked as a writer/producer of videos, years ago… and I had done that as part of my job, not for “fun.” I began blogging and taking corresponding pictures for this “project”, starting on May 25 and officially ending on September 2, 2015, without missing a day. I even managed to post while travelling and during a vacation on a cruise ship, with sketchy internet connections. I kept blogging after completing the project, but not every day. Now that I have had time to reflect on the 100-day experience, I would say that it was tremendously rewarding to write and share stories every day.

I had many special moments during those 3+ months of blogging. I was at a party and several people walked up to me and asked for gardening advise–people who I wasn’t even acquainted with or friends who I didn’t know were following my blog stories. One night I went to a Farm-to-Table dinner downtown. I saw my hairdresser and his partner there. When I asked how they knew about the dinner, they said they had read about it on my blog. A few people started herb gardens and planted fruit trees, telling me that I had inspired them. A couple of people began harvesting rain in barrels to water their plants. Others told me that they were motivated to taste fruit they had never heard of before and to try new recipes. I also received gifts of fruit from followers and was sent gardening tips and photos.

When I completed the 100 days, I was asked if I was going to continue writing. I thought I would. I tried to post regularly. Then I got busy with other things. The writing became sporadic. My attention shifted to new interests. I took a drawing class, began Italian classes, and I increased my daily exercising… And I’m still working, which takes up the largest chunk of my days. I tried to get back into a writing routine but I just didn’t have the time. And my creative energy was now going toward other endeavors.

When I heard a new 100-Day Project was starting in 2016, I decided to participate again. I ruminated over several days about which new creative thing to do for 100 days. What I wanted to get better at and do more of is to DRAW.  So that is what I decided to do. My new challenge is to create one drawing everyday on a mini canvas (3” X 3”) using only black and white Sharpie markers. The project isn’t about making a perfect product every day; it is about the process, the practice. What will I learn about drawing, while I am doing it every day? What will I learn about myself? Where will the practice take me?

I started my project on April 19th and have been posting my drawings, with explanations, every day on Instagram (@gardeningB) and Twitter (@superbMiami). If you want to follow along with me, please do! I think you can link to Instagram at the bottom left side of my website or here. I will also share my experiences on this blog, every couple of weeks or so. Wish me luck dear friends! And if I can encourage you on your own creative challenge, please let me know. ♥ The pictures on this post are of my first drawings on mini canvases.

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Blueberry/Banana/Pineapple Smoothie

57 (2)In a large blender add 2 cups blueberries and 2 ripe bananas. Then fill the rest of the blender with equal parts pineapple and water and/or ice. If you don’t have fresh pineapple, you can use pineapple juice instead.

I want to thank everyone who has read my posts during my 100-Day Project of writing about edible gardening—stories about plants & people. This is the 100th day! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your comments and have learned so much from you while reading your blogs and remarks. It’s also been such a pleasure to meet so many of you in the blogging community. I’m going to take a couple of weeks off from writing now to think about how I am going to continue… Perhaps I’ll post once or twice a week or change focus a bit. Please feel free to let me know what you’ve liked or not liked…

© 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.

Banana Flower

59 (2)The first bananas are growing on my Goldfinger Banana plant. This plant is approximately 12’ tall. When the high winds started in Miami due to a possible impending storm, I decided to cut the flower off so that the plant wouldn’t be so top heavy. Banana plants don’t do well in high winds; they tend to topple over. The flower weighed close to 3 pounds!

© 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.

Coffee vs Smoothie

18 (2)Oh my dear coffee, how I love you and hate you…let me count the ways… I love the ritual of getting up in the morning and first pouring the water into the stainless steel espresso maker, otherwise known as a Moka Pot. I love packing you in, ground-up fine, and putting you on the stove. It’s comforting. I love the smell of you and your taste. So what don’t I like? That the time it takes to perform this ceremony could be used to support a healthier habit, like making a fruit or veggie smoothie. And what I hate is that I’m addicted to you. This morning I tried to split-up with you. I didn’t drink you; I made a fresh juice instead. By the end of the day I had a splitting headache. When you look at the overall picture coffee, you’re not that bad of a habit—I mean you’re not nicotine or heroin. But the caffeine withdrawal is unpleasant. So now that I already survived the first day of a horrendous migraine, I think I’ll stay away from you for another day, and maybe another… we’ll see how it goes.

© 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.

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.

A Turtle in the Garden

IMG_1585 (2) IMG_1584 (2)I came across this cute turtle at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Turtles eat plants that grow in the water, insects, snails, worms and aquatic animals & fish.

© 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.