these are the posts tagged ‘garden’:


passionfruit update!

around the end of june, some of our passionfruits started turning purple. i confess we’ve been quite anxious for this last step. the vine’s many fruits been growing for over 2 months now, and with an upcoming trip fast approaching, we were running out time to actually taste the literal fruits of our labour.

so when the first mature fruit (a tiny perfect one) fell on our hands last week, we rejoiced at last. let’s open it!


(pardon the dirty fingernails, i was gardening)

look at that! :D it was just as juicy as promised, and immensely satisfying to finally taste something that was 2 years in the making. there’s plenty more on the vine, but sadly i don’t think they’ll ripen before we have to go. oh well, hopefully there will still be some left for our return — and if not, there’s always next year. i don’t think we’ll get tired of passionfruits anytime soon!

kalanchoe delagoensis

this one came to us unexpectedly, on a pot that had another plant on it. when this weird little sprout started growing in a funny shape, we put it in its own vase and low and behold, it was its own thing!

the circles at the end of each leave are baby plants that fall out of the mother when they’re ready, taking root and earning it the nickname “mother of thousands”…

if it stays true to its name, i guess we’ll soon have a baby boom around here! :D

pink echeveria

i don’t particularly like cactus, but succulents are a different story. there’s something very pleasing about their almost fractal beauty, and the thick and robust leaves. plus, i accidentally found out that we can actually grow them outdoors here (more or less easily) so i’ve started a little collection of sorts.

i’m learning about it as i go along, making mistakes and seeing what works. i don’t know if this interests anyone, but i thought i’d write about it now and then, in order to keep a record of our experiments.

first up, this echeveria “perle von nürnberg” (i think?) that i traded my parents for some cuttings of our passionfruit.

isn’t it pretty? it was almost dead when it came to me, but has since decided to grow enthusiastically in the center, and i think it might about to start flowering even!

i look forward to putting it in the garden once it gets a bit stronger, and maybe even try to propagate it at some point.

the passionfruit chronicles

i don’t think i’ve ever met a fruit i didn’t like, but passionfruit feels special. the taste is the definition of exotic in my book — sweet and alien-like.

they’re supposed to be fast-growing plants that enjoy heat, and therefore ideal for our southern climate. last year, a neighbor down the street gave us a couple of his own fruits to eat… but having seen their vigorous vines, we jumped at the opportunity to grow our own. we started them in a container back in 2016 and saw first sprouts some weeks later:

we planted them out in the front garden just under the fence, so that they had something to hold on to. after some dormant months, they begun their ascent in the spring of 2017…

fast forward to a year later, and they have taken over the whole thing. had we known they would insist in growing upwards at every chance, we would have made a better effort to pull them sideways while we could… well, too late now.

we also have our first flowers! they’re super pretty, as all passionfruit flowers are. incidentally, did you know where their name comes from? according to wikipedia,

“Around 1700, the name was given by missionaries in Brazil as an educational aid while trying to convert the indigenous inhabitants to Christianity; its name was flor das cinco chagas or “flower of the five wounds” to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ, with other plant components also named after an emblem in the Passion of Jesus.

The name maracuyá or maracujá comes from a Guaraní word meaning “nursery for flies”.

and just this week, we spotted the first fruit! i can’t wait to finally taste it and strike another item off the 101 list! :P

a week of powdered food

a while back, we spent a week eating just meal replacements, for the sake of the experiment. i love self-experimenting and stuff like soylent intrigued me… so after some reddit research, we ordered a bunch of jimmy joy and just went for it!

on a monday morning bright and early, we made our first plenny shake with lukewarm water, adjusting the quantities to our daily needs.

i confess the taste was my biggest fear — would it be too sweet? too grainy or gritty? turns out, neither! they all taste vaguely like oatmeal with hints of fruit or chocolate and definitely don’t feel weird or too sweet. the consistency is that of a thickened milkshake, and the best description we could come up with for the taste was “watered-down cerelac” — not a bad thing in my book! we tried all their current flavors: banana, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, mango, plain and cappuccino (with coffee), and even mixed a bit of leftover powder to make a sort of tutti-frutti flavor. :D they were all ok, some more true to their flavor than others, but never overpowering or off-putting. banana was our favorite, with vanilla and chocolate being close seconds.

we had 3 meals per day and tried to space our meals more or less 5 hours apart, so we could have a break in the middle of the day, and ended up not feeling particularly hungry at any time. turns out, drinking a thick milkshake can be quite filling! we drank ours in the terrace, enjoying the sunshine and getting some extra vitamin D in the process.

so… did we like it? unexpectedly, yes — a lot! :D

after giving it a try, i can definitely understand the allure on different levels, but especially if someone lacks the time, skills or motivation to cook. as every adult who leaves their parent’s home quickly discovers, cooking (and cleaning!) is a time-consuming activity which you end up doing most days of your life. so by not having to shop, cook or clean, one can easily save some time. it also makes it super easy to make sure you get all the nutrition and calories you need (and not more), which can be hard if you’re normally not in control of the things you eat, or you’re always on the go.

actually not having to worry about food, made me realize how much i worried about food on a normal week. even with our very streamlined meals (we mostly eat eggs for breakfast or soup for dinner, for instance), i would randomly find myself thinking about whether i had something prepared, or whether i had remembered to defrost the soup… before reminding myself that i didn’t have to do that.

some friends asked us whether it was boring, and it’s hard to say. i like eating, and i enjoy a good meal, but if i’m being honest, 80% of the meals we eat are nothing to write home about — just a way to get nutrition in our bodies. so eating the same thing over and over for a while doesn’t really bother me — but i guess it could be different for different people.

another thing we were asked was whether it was expensive, and honestly, i don’t think so. i ordered €80’s worth of meal replacements which i thought would last us a week, but we ended up using less than that after adjusting for nutrition, so maybe €70/week would have been a better estimation. my grocery bill for a week of meals for 2 doesn’t usually go that high… but in the end, i don’t think the difference is that significant, especially when you factor in the time saved.

the one thing i didn’t like about it was all the plastic packaging. as someone who shops mostly in the farmer’s market, i’m able to avoid most wrappings and just shove produce into my basket or re-use the same plastic bags until they fall apart. but with meal replacements, that’s impossible and it bothers me. so for now, a compromise: we’re using them as planters for all the cuttings we’re growing at the moment, extending the packaging’s lifespan until they end up in the recycling bin.

the plants seem to like it too! :)

ps – funny enough, on the week we did this experiment, our gas company decided to do some impromptu repairs which left us gas-less for most of the day. no problem though — we didn’t need it!