Growing Ginger in Containers or How We Stumbled Upon A Thing

I say Stumbled Upon because like a lot of my ideas, it was due to a rapid fire exchange of ideas with a good friend of mine up in the Atlanta suburbs, Craig.

800px-ingwer_2_fcm
Picture from https://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/ginger

You see Craig and I have been exchanging ideas on what to plant for a while.  The Climate there is about the same as I had in Philadelphia, Zone 7a or 7b depending on whether you live on the East or West of Philly.

When I lived there, I would fill my back deck with dozens of pots that would all march their way indoors by Halloween or whenever the first cold snap into the mid 30s would happen.

That would be a low of 2 or 3 C for the Fahrenheit Impaired.

Apparently with Ginger, you don’t have to be so concerned.  The plants will die back in colder areas and Zone 8 should be fine – that’s 10F or about -7C.  Colder than that and it’s a container plant.

I had mentioned that we were given a pot of Variegated Ginger and wondered if it was the same “stuff” that I use when I stir fry chicken.  He said No, but you can grow that stuff from the stores.

We banged it back and forth and the method we put together was this.

  • First, get yourself a piece of ginger with a lot of “fingers” on it.
  • Select a finger about the length and size of the first joint of your thumb to the length of your thumb.
  • Wash all the pieces you wish to plant in Dish Soap thoroughly.
  • Don’t bruise the skin while washing the pieces.
  • No, you didn’t wash it enough, repeat the wash another two or three times.
  • Plant in well drained soil, or a pot, and wait.
  • Water periodically and hope that the Squirrels don’t put peanuts in the pot.

The reason why I mention those damn Squirrels is my neighbors feed them raw peanuts.  They grab the peanuts and bury them in my pots.  I have peanuts growing in about a quarter of the pots I have out back.

It is the same thing with me, I guess.  I’m the kind of guy that throws pieces of tomato or fruit that is past its prime in the garden and watches to see if it grows.  Win-win, if it doesn’t I get fertilizer for this beach sand we call soil here.

I had actually forgotten that I put those thumbs in the ground in my front garden because when I walked out there one afternoon, I noticed that two ginger plants were mixed in with all the other confusion that I have out front.

I dug them up and then put into a pot, minus the peanut plants, so I could watch over them.

Ginger does not seem to mind being crowded in a pot, so you can plant it and grow it “Up North”.

Now, if you live in a zone that is on the edge, like my sister does in Zone 7b Cherry Hill, NJ, you may be able to “get away with it” in the ground.  Find a south facing wall of your house.  Plant close to the foundation because the sun hitting your walls will warm the soil just a few degrees, and it may be just enough.

Here, 8 miles south of the freezing temp lines, I don’t have to worry at all.  But as always, your mileage may vary.

Why would you bother?

My friend Craig got further along than I did with this.  Of course you can go to your favorite market and buy ginger root, that’s not the point.  The point is that the flavor of absolutely fresh Ginger Root is much more complex than some that has been shipped, treated with anti-growing chemicals, and sitting in the store waiting for you to use it.  Any natural product will taste different depending on where it grows.  In fact, certain plantings in certain fields in certain farms will yield different results.

Oh and the green parts of the plant?  You won’t find those in stores, but Ginger Greens and Stems are edible as well.  They can be tough, so you may limit that to tea or used in soups or stirfry but it’s worth a shot.  You may find a new favorite. Chop fine until you realize your own way of using them.  You will have a lot since the plant grows waist high.

That is called the “Terroir” by the French and is used to describe the effect of the environment on the grapes that go into the wine.  Similar effects happen with Coffee where one specific estate on one specific mountain will taste different than the adjacent field because there’s just a tiny difference in the amount of water or sunlight or …

Well you get the idea. 

So give it a shot, the worst thing that could happen is that you get a “pretty plant” and a great story to tell the nosy neighbors.

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I’ve been watching a cat documentary today. It’s on paws.

An Excellent Vintage.

A drunk walk into a drugstore and asks for a bottle of mouthwash.

“I’m not selling you that,” says the druggist. “You’ll drink it for the alcohol and get sick outside my door!”

“Not true!” insists the drunk. “I have my first date in over a year, and I want to make a good impression.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Here.” The druggist takes a bottle of mouthwash off the shelf and puts it on the counter.

The drunk stares at it. “Got one that’s been refrigerated?

 

Ok, so these blond jokes are just as dumb as they try to make someone out to be with that color hair, but, I couldn’t resist…

 

Blonde walks into a library and says “I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries, and medium Coke.”

Librarian: “But ma’am, this is a library!”

Blonde: Oh I’m sorry… (whispers) “I’ll have a cheeseburger, fries and medium Coke”

Calculators are reliable. You can always count on them.

Here are a couple of short-mid sized jokes for you to try on for size.  They made me smile, so maybe you will too.

 

The Mystery Kitchen Utensil

My collection of vintage kitchen utensils includes one whose intended purpose was always a mystery. It looks like a cross between a metal slotted spoon and a spatula, so I use it as both. When not in use, it is prominently displayed in a decorative ceramic utensil caddy in my kitchen.

The mystery of the spoon/spatula was recently solved when I found one in its original packaging at a rummage sale.

It’s a pooper-scooper.

 

If light travels faster than the speed of sound

Why I can hear the guy in the BMW behind me honk before the light turns green?

 

A woman noticed her husband standing on the bathroom scale, sucking in his stomach. “Ha­­! That’s not going to help,” she said.

“Sure, it does,” he said. “It’s the only way I can see the numbers.”

 

My wife and I went out for a leisurely drive to see the autumn leaves, when we noticed that one of the tires seemed to be getting low…

She was a bit taken aback when I asked her for some change and asked, “Why in the world did they start charging for AIR?!”

I looked at her and winked, “Inflation.”

Bougainvilleas and Bananas on Thanksgiving

On this week before Thanksgiving, there is a lot of “Prep Work” to do.

The hedges get cut back,

House gets cleaned,

Shed gets cleaned,

Yard gets cleaned,

Well, you get the idea.

I would say this is where the law of unintended consequences happens.

While I don’t have a good definition for it, I can explain it really well in one short phrase:

Never paint your kitchen.

Why?  Because then your cabinets will look shabby.  You then have to replace them.  While your kitchen is gutted, you look at your oven from the last decade and think this would be a good time to do it.  Maybe swap out the electric range for a gas or propane one.  After all, being able to cook indoors is good for emergencies.

You get the idea.

So we got started.  Actually we started a while back before the hurricanes hit South Florida and cleared out the shed.  That gave me the open “16th Puzzle Piece”.

I talk about this often.  There is a game that has 15 square pieces.  Usually has numbers on them.  There is one piece missing, the 16th Puzzle Piece.  You slide the pieces around to get them out of order for someone and then hand it to them to “fix”.  I guess it was a Rubix Cube before there were any.

I often joke that I feel like the 16th Puzzle Piece.

It makes me feel like a banana.  Or this banana leaf, you never know where they will crop up.

Once you have managed to go out to the shed to get that piece you need to fix something that just broke, you notice the yard and the plants and take a pause.

But there is rather a lot to get done.

Also remember, the dog lives here and you don’t.   Different lecture but the tumbleweeds under the AC Intake that the dog left there need to be picked up reminding you that you need to replace the filter bag in the vacuum and no you can’t just pull the old dirt out and dump it into the trash because that bag had that done once already.

It’s a process.

But I will say that if you are reading this and your Turkey is still frozen, you may be out of luck.

I can help but I am not guaranteeing it will work…

Place your wrapped in plastic, frozen, and un-thawed meat (Turkey, Chicken, Beef, it doesn’t matter) into the sink that has been thoroughly cleaned and plugged up.  Fill the sink with tap water.  It does not have to be hot, and it won’t be for long.  Submerge that package of meat/poultry/frozen stuff in the water.   Check back in an hour.

The water will speed your thawing up.  It’s of course at your own risk so make sure it isn’t in there longer than you need it to thaw and it does not spoil.  The good thing is that it is faster and safer than leaving a frozen block of dinner out on the counter overnight.  But you do need to use your own judgement on how long to keep it in the water bath.

At least that one hour will let you vacuum the dog or the cat fur out of the kitchen and maybe even let you scour the bathtub.
Isn’t having guests a pain in the tail?

Speaking of guests and pets – remember don’t let anyone feed traditional Thanksgiving food to the dog.  Raisins, onions, and many of the herbs and spices that are in that feast will sicken or kill your dog outright.  Better to stick with their dog food if there is any doubt.

And no matter how much they beg, no Onions for the dog.

When you’re through with all of that and the meal is done, you can start on the wiring in the backyard.  You really did want to get the low voltage wiring run the 100 feet from the front yard to the shed so you can see inside the thing, didn’t you?

Ok lets just skip it and hit the Chinese restaurant for some Curried Chicken instead!  They’re open, aren’t they?

My neighbors are listening to good music whether they like it or not.

Traveling Salesman

A traveling salesman is driving down a deserted country road when he has a blowout.

Not having a spare he finally finds a house and asks the lady if he can use her phone to call for a tow-truck.
As she opens the door for him to come in, a Three Legged Pig runs out.

He asks “why does that Pig only have three legs?”
She says that they had a fire and the pig woke everybody up and then went back and brought the dog out.

He said “but why does the Pig only have three legs?”
She said well another time my son was playing on the ice and it broke and he fell in and the Pig ran to the barn and got a rope and saved him.

Again he asked “why does the Pig only have three legs?”
After all the Pig did for us, it didn’t seem right to eat him all at once.

A Dad is washing a car with his son. The son asks: ‘Dad, can’t you just use a sponge?’

Till death

So imagine a world where a person dies, goes to heaven, and gets a vehicle based on how faithful they were to their spouse.

Three men all die at the same time and are sentenced to their vehicle along side one another.

The first man: He was faithful to his spouse every day of his life and never even thought of another woman, so he was granted a brand new Corvette to drive for all of eternity.

The second man: He was a very good man. He Had one moment of weakness and cheated on his spouse but was forgiven and continued to live a life of faithfulness afterwards. For this, he was granted a used Ford pick-up truck to drive for all of eternity.

The third man: This man was intolerable. He had cheated on his spouse every chance he had gotten. For this, he was sentenced to drive an old beat up junker for the rest of eternity.

A few days later, the man in the junker glances down the highway and sees the man in the Corvette crying! The man pulls pulls up and proceeds to ask,

“Why are you crying? You have a wonderful car to enjoy for the rest of eternity! What could possibly be so troubling?”

The man in the Corvette turns and answers in a sobbing reply,

“I just saw my wife go by on a skateboard…”

Popcorn Peanut Brittle with Chocolate Chips

I got hungry.  This happened.  Tasty too!

Actually this had been in the back of my mind.  Something similar to any one of dozens of commercial Popcorn Peanut Toffee candies.

And boy is it good.  Just be careful, it’s not exactly a light dessert.

I followed my own recipe for Peanut Brittle, then poured it over some pre-popped popcorn.  But in case you want a recipe, here goes.

Popcorn:

  • Get a cookie sheet and line with Parchment Paper or Foil.
  • Lightly grease it.  (Optional).
  • Pop one bag of microwave popcorn or loose popcorn to cover the cookie sheet one layer deep.
  • Put the popcorn on to your cookie sheet.
  • Add two ounces of chocolate chips to the top of the popcorn, evenly.

Next:  Make Brittle.

Full recipe is at this link, but I will repeat it here after the process for this step.

4 ounces of cleaned and skinless nuts.  I used unsalted peanuts.

2 ounces/4 tablespoons of butter at room temperature and sliced into thin pieces.

1 cup of sugar.

2 ounces of water.

 

  • To a cold 2 quart saucepan, add the sugar and water.
  • Stir the ingredients to mix.
  • Turn on heat Medium High to High.
  • Boil until the mix turns “toffee colored”
  • Add the nuts, stir, and count to ten.
  • Add butter.  The butter will boil immediately.  Stir
  • Remove from heat and pour over the popcorn mix.

Serve:  Allow to cool fully, break into Bite Sized Pieces.

Oh! and all of it is 1400 calories plus your popcorn calories.